Sirmione Castle

Description

This fortress from the Scaliger period represents a valid and rare example of a lake fortification, washed on all sides by the lake. Built after the 14th century, it owes its name to the Della Scala family who ruled Verona for 125 years between 1262 and 1387. Initially its function was defensive and of harbour control, that it also maintained under the domination of Venice, starting in 1405.

From the sixteenth century, it underwent a progressive decline, also due to the growing importance of the nearby city Peschiera.
It became later a weapon depot and accommodation for French and Austrian troops, until the subsequent unification of Italy.
 

What to see at the Castle

Inside the porch, there are roman and medieval lapidaries, as well as some information panels about the fortress to better understand its structure. Once you enter, you can access the patrol walkways, which go up to the guard station.
The best view, however, can be enjoyed from the top of its keep, or from the top of the main tower of the castle, which is 47 meters high, under which there are the prisons. The Lake seen from this perspective is lovely and deserves the effort in the climb.
Another element of sure interest is the dock, than once were places of refuge for the Scaliger ships. Over the centuries, the dock has been filled with debris, until it became walkable.
A first restoration was necessary in 1919 to empty it and to let the water flow again, while the recent restoration in 2018 allowed it to be opened to the public.
To visit it, it is necessary to pay a small sum for an additional ticket. 
Finally, the shielded towers (open towards the inside) deserve a special mention, representing a typical feature of the Scaliger domination period.
Finally, we would like to remember that it has never served as a court residence, that’s why there are no architectural decorations and ornaments.
 

The legend of the castle's ghost.

There is a legend linked to the castle, which tells of the love between Ebengardo and Arice. It is said, that one night the knight Elalbert came to the castle, asking to be accommodated.
Infatuated with the beautiful Arice, Elalbert tried to break into her bedroom and – in front of her screaming in terror – he stabbed her. Ebengardo meanwhile came to defend his beloved and finding her dead, he killed his rival with the same dagger.
The story tells that the Ebengardo’s ghost is still wandering today from room to room of the castle, looking for his beloved.
 

Tickets

It is possible to buy the single or the combined ticket, which also offers the entrance to the Grotte di Catullo (Catullo Cave) and to the Villa Romana of Desenzano.
This site is managed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities; it joins the initiative providing the free entry during the first Sunday of each month.

Location Get Directions

Piazza Castello, 34, 25019, Sirmione, BS

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