A trip to Sirmione
Discover an enchanting medieval town and popular spa resort in southern Lake Garda
The pretty medieval walled town of Sirmione in Lombardy, northern Italy, occupies a unique location on a narrow, three-kilometre-long peninsula which extends into Lake Garda from its southern shore.
Most likely originating as a fishing settlement in the Stone Age, Sirmione's idyllic position on the lake, surrounded by breath-taking natural beauty and benefiting from a temperate climate soon secured the village's population as a resort, favoured by Italy's aristocracy as early as the first century BC.
Sirmione's location was also recognised for its importance in the defence of Lake Garda against invaders, and a castle was built on the peninsula in the thirteenth century which remains one of the town's key attractions today.
Whilst Sirmione's historic architecture, which dates from Roman times onward, would alone justify the town's popularity as a tourist destination, in 1889 a Venetian diver discovered and harnessed a natural thermal spring in the lake and piped its warm mineral rich waters into Sirmione's first public spa. Now, Sirmione is one of Europe's foremost thermal spa resorts.
Sirmione's ancient charm coupled with an array of fine cafes, shops and restaurants, a relaxed and hospitable atmosphere and a distinct lack of traffic ensure that the city is both delightful to explore and a great base from which to discover neighbouring towns and villages on Lake Garda's picturesque southern shores.