Archaeological area of the Grottoes of Catullus looks over the basin of Lake Garda from the top of the edge of Sirmione peninsula. Inside the park we find the remains of the largest Roman villa in the whole northern Italy covering an area of five acres.
The Roman Villa
Is just an assumption that Catullus was the owner, according to historical sourcing, but there's no archaeological evidence. The link between Catullus and the villa comes after the finding of Catullus' poems in which the poet speaks about coming back to his beloved house in Sirmione.
Thanks to excavations started early to mid-1800s it was possible to get a detailed plan of the villa, but it's only after the 1948 that large parts can be brought back to light.
Remains now visible are on different levels with an 18 meters gap between. Planimetry has a rectangular shape and two additional wings, one stretching to the northern side and one to the southest. In the middle, where there' s the Big Uliveto right now, there was a wide garden.
The large number of artifacts coming from excavations are now collected in the Museum opened in 1999 inside the archaeological park.
Imagine Copyright: By David Blaikie - originally posted to Flickr as Lake Garda Grotte di Catullo 1, CC BY 2.0
Grottoes of Catullus Opening Hours
(from 25 Oct 2015)weekdays: Archaeological area: 8.30am -5.00pm --- Museum: 8.30am -7.30pm; holidays: 8.30am - 2.0
Weekdays: 8.30am - 7.30pm;
Holidays - 9.30am - 6.30pm.
Entrance is allowed until 30 minutes before closing time.
Museum could be closed in any moment without notice and ticket reduction beacuse of a shortage of staff.
every Mondays (on public holydays the closing will move to the following Tuesday).
Other closing days: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
Ticket price: full 6€ - reduced 3€
Free entry under 18 and and on the first Sunday of every month. The archaeological park is included in the "Card Musei Lombardia" list of locations to visit.
Cash payment only.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: I century BC
SUNSET: IV century AD
ADMINISTRATION: Polo Museale Lombardia
REDISCOVERY: XIX century
Ho to get to Sirmione
From Brescia and from Verona take trunk road SS11. Or take motorway A4 Milano-Venezia, gate Sirmione. Archaeological park is about 15 minutes by walking from the old town.
Sirmione is close to the railway Milano-Venezia. There is no train stop but coming from West one can get off at Desenzano or coming from Est, get off at Peschiera and then take a domestic busline to Sirmione.
Take the bus to Sirmione from Verona or Brescia (ride time: about one hour) or from Peschiera or Desenzano (ride time: about 20 minutes).