Today I will be talking about one of our most beautiful days in Italy, namely our exploration of the castle Scaligero. The castle or Scaligero Castle is considered one of the most beautiful castles on Lake Garda - probably one of the reasons why it was teeming with tourists. But that hardly bothered me. The castle is located in Sirmione, as the name suggests. It is a small village on the south shore of Lake Garda. A part of Sirmione protrudes as a narrow and about three kilometres long tongue of land towards the north into the southern Lake Garda. The castle was built by the former lord of Verona, Mastino I delle Scala, in the middle of the 13th century. It has a very striking square wall with three towers. Today the Castello di Sirmione is one of the best preserved castles on Lake Garda and perhaps that is why it is such a popular destination for excursions. What is very interesting: the castle controlled the entrance to the old town of Sirmione. This means that if one wants to visit the oldtown of Sirmione, there is no way around the castle. Thus, in former times, the castle also served to control the arriving people. It was not only used for military defence, but was also a symbol of power for the Scaligeri.
But enough about history. Why it was one of the most beautiful days in Italy like I think: The weather was great as always (maybe we were just lucky or the sun always shines in Italy in summer ;)). And above all: I love to explore castles and fortresses, the castle of Sermione was just the right thing. But what I liked most was that it is the entrance gate to the old town and that it is a water castle. The castle is protected by wide and deep moats and can only be accessed by a drawbridge. The castle consists of both fired bricks and natural stones, and I found this mixture very interesting. There are also large dovetail battlements (you can see them well on the photos).
As you can see on the photos, the water here is turquoise blue (like everywhere on Lake Garda). I had only seen water this blue in New Zealand and Australia!
In Sirmione the entrance to the castle is on the right hand side. Cross a small stone bridge and you'll find yourself at the entrance to the courtyard at the cash desk. From there we turned right and found ourselves in the main courtyard. From the courtyard you have access to underground vaulted passages. Opposite the ticket office is the actual main entrance to the castle. There you can cross two successive drawbridges. Here are also the entrances to the harbour basin, which unfortunately is not accessible. In contrast to the dovetail battlements of the rest of the castle, there were saddle-shaped battlements in the inner courtyard as well as in the harbour basin.
What you should definitely take with you: From the inner courtyard you can climb stairs up to the defence walls and to the corner towers, from where you have a beautiful view over the harbour and the inner courtyard. Unfortunately I didn't find any more photos of this, so let your imagination run wild ;) But the best view I think we had from the even higher situated main tower. We climbed up stairs inside the main tower. Here we really had a great view up to the headland of Sermione, the harbour and even beyond. Really recommendable if you are already there!
What I did not find so impressive, but what is in any case worth a visit is the old town! It accommodates many small alleys, in which one feels a bit like in a labyrinth (well, probably it is also due to my sense of orientation). What I did not like so much about the old town were the many ice cream parlors and tourist souvenir shops that were really everywhere. Well, but these shops only existed at the beginning when you walk into the old town, after a few minutes it's not so crowded. Also the side alleyways are very recommendable if one wants to escape from the hustle and bustle. And here there are very nice old houses to admire ! From there you can also reach a small footbridge, where you have a beautiful view over a part of Lake Garda (picture below).
You can visit the castle daily except Mondays from early morning until 19 o'clock. Over the drawbridge you come to the core castle. Take enough suntan lotion with you and prepare yourself for a lot of tourists, then nothing stands in the way of a discovery tour.
A small note at the end: For those who prefer not to be so touristical, I would recommend to visit the castle rather in the morning or in the evening. We were there around noon and afternoon, which was the main time for tourists. And there were not too few, but very narrow alleys ;)
I hope you liked my Post, feel free to write me your feedback. See you next time!
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