The Bucket List: The Sinking Castle of Lake Garda
Lake Garda is Italy's biggest lake and one of the best areas in Northern Italy to kick back, relax, and get lost in. With its 370 square kilometer area (and whopping 350 meter deep waters) Lake Garda is full of history dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. The combination of islands, mountains, and nearly impenetrable villages throughout, it's awe and allure will capture the hearts and minds of tourists alike.
Not to mention it is the location of some of Italy's biggest battles throughout history.
Couple fun facts about Lake Garda.....it is the birthplace of the Violin, has many 'sulphur springs' around the shores (which are constantly at 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and of course, is home to Scaliger Castle, which is a bucket list destination for most.
What is it?
The Comune di Sirmione is the famous sinking castle on Lake Garda, Italy. Located in Northern Italy, and close to Venice and Verona, this famous area has been a popular area in Italy since the 4th and 5th centuries and has even been noted in Roman literature. In the 5th century, it later became a fortified stronghold and defense point for invading tribes coming from the South, despite being conquered several times from various city states.
Although the castle wasn't built until the 13th century, this port area had been part of the Venetian Empire from the 13th century through the 18th century, and eventually became part of the Kingdom of Italy (now just Italy) in 1860.
The castle itself, is named, 'Scaliger Castle,' and is Sirmione, Italy on the corner of Lake Garda. And although now popularized due to social media, it should absolutely be on your bucket list. The best way to get to it is to drive to Sirmione, which is located on the tip of the long Sirmio peninsula. And although it is not difficult to get there, you do need to follow specific directions.
The Castle Itself
Scaliger Castle, with a real drawbridge, moat, and more make it feel like a complete fairytale. Although it was originally used as a port, it was modified into a castle to serve a dual purpose and to defend the Southern lands of Lake Garda from invading forces. It's nickname is obviously, "The Sinking Castle," due to the rising waters of Lake Garda, but it is truly an example of medieval port fortification. The castle itself was used by the fleet of the Scaliger family and was strategically placed in a location that provided great protection from their enemies and of course, the locals.
Although the castle was originally built on untouched land, the village of Sirmione has woefully crept up to the castle as an intimate neighbor. You can stay at a hotel right along the castle's shores for incredible views, too.
And when it comes to visiting the castle, you can walk right up to it via the moat with two drawbridges at the entrance. The castle also had room to hold a powerful militia in the event of an attack on the castle. Some of the previous barracks were now where many houses, hotels, and restaurants are, adjacent to the castle. Now, of course, it is a beautiful gem located on the shores of Lake Garda and welcomes tourists year round.
Again, did we mention it's only FOUR EURO to tour this amazing castle?
Touring the Castle
If you want to visit the castle, you can for only 4 euro. seriously. Guests are allowed to completely roam the grounds, and although the castle is beautiful on the first floor, it is even more spectacular in the upper levels. If you partake in the 150+ steps up to the central tower, you can see 360 panoramic views of Lake Garda and the city of Sirmione. Now, you'll understand why the Scaliger family chose this epic location.
From the central tower, you can also peek more of the architecture, courtyard, and more. Not to mention you can tour the east side of the castle and lake by walking along the fortified walls that were once home to archers and a seemingly endless ocean.
Don't Forget About Sirmione
Sirmione is also a very interesting destination for tourists, too. Mostly used as a vacation destination for Italians themselves, the city actually sees less Americans (and Europeans) than you might think. Most of whom are simply just passing by to get a view of the castle, but don't overlook Sirmione!
All of the Italian lakeside towns are a charming testament to the colorful cliffs, cobblestone streets and slate roofs that you see on most postcards, but beyond the Scaliger Castle you may find ornate piazza's, white sand beaches, and some of the most authentic Italian cuisine you could wish for!
Not to mention the whole landscape of Sirmione is pretty epic. The crystal clear blue waters, small ports, charming gardens, houses, and more truly make for a fantastic stay for anyone.
Oh, and if you are there, check out the Mirkoz Gelateria which has some of the biggest ice cream scoops in all of Italy!
Here's the address:
Via Vittorio Emanuele 26
25019 Sirmione, Italy
For more info on visiting Lake Garda and how to get to Scaliger Castle, visit here!
P.S. Just don't forget to go for a hike and take in the rest of the amazing views has to offer....so much to do, so little time. Is Lake Garda on your bucket list?
Let us know down below in a comment! Or submit a bucket list item to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will blog about it!