The defining landmark of Sirmione is the castle, often referred to as the Rocca of Sirmione. The castle was built in the 13th century by the Scaligeri lords of Verona who ruled the area at the time, over top of the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress. It is at the narrowest point of the peninsula and protected the Medieval town, which was accessed by crossing one of the castle's bridges and passing through a city gate. It was a principle defensive structure in its time that protected and controlled the lake as well as the inland territory from a water attack. After Sirmione passed from Verona to the mighty Republic of Venice, it was reinforced and became an important and strategic point.
This castello must be what storybooks and movie sets got their inspiration for classic castle structure from, with its moat, drawbridge and battlements. The crenellated wall and formidable construction are still perfectly preserved. It is a beautiful and picturesque sight.
Inside are stepped ramps, internal courtyards and watch towers that offer breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding countryside. Visit the museum that explains its history and bears plaques from Roman and Medieval eras. You can walk the ramparts on the wall-top pathway and climb the tallest tower for outstanding panoramas.
The Castello Scaligero, also known as the Rocca Scaligera or the Rocca di Sirmione, is open from 8:30 AM til 7:00 PM. Closed Mondays.
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Address in Sirmione:
Piazza Castello, 1.