Camping Village San Francesco (Lake Garda) ACSI
Sirmione, Lake Garda
The next morning we had a shorter 3-hour drive to Sirmione on Lake Garda. The campsite was lovely and situated right on the lake. There was a path running along the water side for some of the way into Sirmione. Unfortunately, we walked about 3 km out of our way in completely the wrong direction of the town and by the time we got back to the crossroads, we decided to go back to the motorhome because I had the wrong shoes on and my feet were killing me. Oh well, we felt we had plenty of time we would try again the next day.
We were looking forward to visiting Sirmione as we had read really good things about it. We could see the town of Sirmione from the campsite as it is perched on a narrow strip of land two miles long, reaching into the lake from the southern shore. Just before we got into town we stopped off for coffee at a hotel restaurant garden overlooking the lake. We only wanted coffee and a little something for my blood sugar levels as I was feeling a bit shaky. I was so concerned that as it was lunchtime they may not be serving just coffee that I forgot to say cappuccinos. When they served up the coffee they were very small expresso’s which were gone in two sips. We also had a sweet croissant dusted with icing sugar which took care of my sugar levels. When we came to pay the bill which we thought would be expensive being a restaurant on the lake we were pleasantly surprised to find it was only 2.20 euros.
A little further on we spotted a nice restaurant where we stopped for pasta, a glass of wine and a spot of people watching.
Sirmione is beautiful with its narrow cobbled streets, its 13th-century castle and the ruined Roman villa – The Grotte di Catullo. The early Venetian explorers called it a grotto as they thought they had discovered caves but in fact, it turns out they are the ruins of a villa which is the most important Roman site in Northern Italy.
The town was much busier than we expected for early April but the sun was shining and it was a Sunday so it had brought a lot of the Italian families out. I had been reading that it is really crowded in the busy holiday season especially when the holidaymakers swarm off the ferries and can’t imagine how much more packed it could be.
Everywhere we looked people were eating the massive cones of ice cream. We are not really big ice cream eaters but thought we should give it a try. I asked for a small cone but it was too much for me. We saw a few people walking along eating really massive ice creams of 6 scoops in a large cone. Yuk! I think I would be sick eating that much ice cream.
One thing that was annoying was when a car would drive through the tiny narrow winding streets to try to get to one of the hotels. Everyone had to step over to the side and flatten themselves on the buildings. The road is cut off to other traffic it is just the people staying at the hotels that had access. I wouldn’t have liked to have been one of the drivers either as they were having to move at a snail’s pace to avoid knocking one of the tourists.
We wandered around looking in the shops and photographing the amazing buildings. At the far end of the town is a park area with thermal baths and a health centre with hot springs and treatments. We went to have a peek over the bushes and could see all the people standing in the hot tubs and pools in their bathing caps. It seems to be a rule here in Italy. Even at our campsite, you are not allowed into the pool without wearing a bathing cap. In that case, I don’t think I will be going in. I can remember trying to get one of those on when I went swimming with the school.
From here you can walk or take the little tourist “train” up the gently sloping road until you reach the headland and the entrance to the Catullus family villa. Around here lie the ruins. By now we had been walking for quite a while and it was feeling hot so we decided to head back to the campsite as it was at least 4 km walk back.
(click any of the photos below to see larger images)