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Sirmione is a commune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy (northern Italy). It is bounded by other communes of Desenzano del Garda and Peschiera del Garda in the province of Verona and the region of Veneto. It has a historical centre which is located on a small peninsula that separates the lower part of Lake Garda.

SirmioneThe main historical landmark of Sirmione is the so-called Grotto of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo), the most striking example of Roman private edifice discovered in northern Italy. The edifice had a rectangular plan and measured 167 x 105 m.

Other sights include:

  • The Scaliger Castle (13th century), including a rare example of medieval port fortification, which was used by the Scaliger fleet.
  • The church of San Pietro in Mavino, built in Lombard times but renovated in the 14th century. It has frescoes from the 12th-16th centuries, while the Romanesque bell tower is from 1070.
  • Santa Maria Maggiore (1400) with a single nave decorated with 15th century frescoes and a contemporary wooden statue of the Madonna Enthroned.

Some important people linked to the city of Sirmione were:

  • The poet Gaius Valerius Catullus lived in the 1st century BC. His family owned a villa in Sirmione.
  • Alfred Tennyson described in a poem his impressions of Sirmione in the summer of 1880.
  • Italian writers who wrote about Sirmione include Giosuè Carducci, Antonio Fogazzaro and Gabriele D’Annunzio.
  • Ezra Pound and James Joyce met in the city in 1920.
  • Maria Callas had a villa in Sirmione.
  • English writer Naomi Jacob lived in Sirmione until her death in 1964. A small plaque in Sirmione commemorates her.

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