Thanks to its geographical position, the peninsula of Sirmione has been a privileged
location to live since ancient times.
There are numerous signs still today of its long and uninterrupted history; something
that is rarely seen in other historical towns.
Beginning the 1st century B.C., the tip of the peninsula became the place to
live by rich Veronese families, one of these being the Valeri family. From this
family came the poet Catullo (87-59 B.C.) which, through his poems, sang the beauty
of Sirmione and the homes that he owned there.
At the end of the 1st century B.C. began the 1st century A.D., rising along with
it two of the greatest Roman villas built: one known as “Catullo’s Cave” and another
one that has recently resurfaced between piazetta Mosaici, via Vittorio Emanuele,
and via Antiche Mura.
In the 13th century, Sirmione became part of the defense system of the Scaligero
family with the building of a castle
Sirmione kept its stronghold until the 16th century when at that time it was
substituted by the town of Peschiera for the role of defending the south side
of the lake. The castle, however, remained on garrison duty until the mid-1800s.
Sirmione was located in a strategic spot—between the plains and the south side
of the lake—where it was the border line between the Scaligero family land and,
successively from the start of the 15th century, territory of the Venetian Republic.
Sirmione, in fact, remained tied to Venice until the Republic’s fall in 1797.