Friday, June 4, 2010

Sirmione on Lake Garda, Italy

Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

Mac and I had decided to stay within the castle walls of Sirmione instead of the outskirts.
You know.... we like to be where the action is.

Scaliger Castle
Mastino I della Scala began construction of the castle in 1259.  It was abandoned but restored in 1919.
You can tour inside the castle and climb the towers.

The castle is surrounded by a moat and then (because it is on a penninsula) again surrounded by the water of Garda. 

Inside the castle walls the town has

a labyrinth of narrow streets and medieval walkways.

Shops  like this wonderful ice cream shop.

Many of you know my first job was in an ice cream shop Pat Mullen and his wife ran called
THE BARN,  in Belfast Maine. With that background, I am naturally drawn to these shops.
That's my story and I am sticking to it! LOL
We both found the presentation of their ice cream amazing.

  The village contained beautiful preserved old houses.

It was enchanting, even with the bustle of people going to and fro.

The rain was abating so we decided to walk to the end of the penninsula toward the Grotte di Catullo.

Lovely silver green olive trees 

some with unusual formations lined the walk

on our way to the "Grotte Catullo" which really means Villa Catullo.  Some say the Roman poet Catullus lived here but, that cannot be proven.  What they do know is that this is the largest ruin of a villa discovered in Northern Italy.
It even had guard towers.

  While there is still the mystery of who lived in this amazing villa, the ruins are just fabulous to explore.
The ruins lie on the end of the penninsula.

We walked back from the villa and spotted this
   exclusive hotel called
 Palace Hotel Villa Cortine
It's gated-off and the grounds are private.
Probably just as well, if I had spotted someone famous, I would have blogged about it!

The Villa Cordine's private drive.
"You are taking me next year, right Mac?"

Our walk took us by the hydrotherapy pool at the spa.
You can book an entire day of pampering here.

and another lovely view.  If only it had been a better day.

We stopped at the Doc Pub which has a wireless internet connection to dump our pictures on to the laptop and check into our cyber world.

Then it was off to feed the swans on the lake as we

meandered our way back to the Piazza Carducci where we stayed at
Le Rêve - Bed and Breakfast.

The Piazza was busy in the afternoon, but was teaming with people by 10 p.m. and we settled in for dinner and more people watching.

Goodnight Sirmione- what an amazing place!

 Alfred Lord Tenneyson was a keen reader of  the Roman Catullus's poetry.
Tennyson wrote a poem while visiting Sirmione in 1880 a year after his brother died.
This poem echos two poems of Catullus.
The latin phrase  Frater Ave Atque Vale
"Hail, Brother, and Farewell"

Frater Ave Atque Vale by Tennyson

Row us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!
So they row’d, and there we landed—’O venusta Sirmio!’
There to me thro’ all the groves of olive in the summer glow,
There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow,
Came that ‘Ave atque Vale’ of the Poet’s hopeless woe,
Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen-hundred years ago,
‘Frater Ave atque Vale’—as we wander’d to and fro
Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below
Sweet Catullus’s all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!

Mac gives Sirmione two thumbs up!
Tomorrow I will take you to Venice!


  1. Beautiful photos!! How did you like your stay in Le Reve? We are searching for a nice Bred & Breakfast, would you recommend Le Reve?

  2. Right below this post is a review with pictures of Le Reve. Hope it helps you decide.

  3. The way they're presenting the ice-cream is a very usually one in Italy!;-) But: thumbs up: Nice pictures and texts.