Sirmione and Grotte of Catullo

Sirmione flower of peninsulas and islands
... with what joy I see you again
hardly believing it had finally left

the Tinia and Bithynia and see you safe!
Hello ... or the beautiful Sirmione, welcomed the return of the master
and you also rejoice , or Lidie waves of the lake,
and as there is laughing in my house.
Gaius Valerius Catullus ( 87-54 A.C.), who in a poem sings the beauty of Sirmione.

Remains of dwelling villages of the Bronze Age (XVIII - XVI century A.C.), were discovered in the Lido area of the Blondes and the caves. 
The villages were abandoned around 1200 A.C. perhaps for the growth of the level of the lake or to the invasion of new populations .
Return to be inhabited, like other areas of the lake, from the first century A.C. the tip of the peninsula becomes a place of residence chosen by rich families in Verona, including that of Valeri and it belonged to the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus and the Roman Sirmione, is a dramatic testimony in the ruins that dominate the tip of the peninsula, the so called "Grotte of Catullo". [...]

Grotte of Catullo
Very often tourists who come to visit the remains of the great Roman Villa, the largest in northern Italy, remain deeply disappointed lie ahead "iles of stones" just where they hoped to venture into caves, complete with stalactites and stalagmites. 
What mislead the name is in fact, very old, however, remains the "Grotte of Catullo" .
The villa "of Catullus", he says, of course, a wealth and a refined taste (probably just the Valeri family, though the visible remains almost certainly can not be attributed to a villa inhabited by the poet), but also tells of the profound sadness old age, an age of empty and waiting. 
The vastness of the corridors and rooms denotes precisely the idea that space is devoid of a center, meaningless. 
The faces of the Roman paintings confirm that ancient humanity was not yet fully aware of himself: man there is such a thing alongside other things, it still shines in his eyes the spark of awareness of being the "image and likeness of God" then a person with infinite dignity, under the gaze thoughtful and near, even demanding, a Father.
What we already architecture and painting suggests, moreover, explicitly stated by the same word of Catullus, the poet whose work vibrates a tragic perception of existence:
Nobis com Semel occidit brevis lux
nox east perpetuates a dormienda.
Particularly dramatic, we see the contrast between the magnificent beauty of the place and the tragic sense that expresses the villa and the figure of Catullus. 
However, the age old question expresses the intensity of meaning, which is important to grasp because you can fully appreciate the answer: nothing is more useless than an answer to a question that is not asked.
Castle Scaligero
In late Roman Sirmione became a fortified place control of the lower lake, has built a wall of defense along the peninsula, a small inhabited center is established within the fortified walls.
Even in the age Lombard, from the last quarter of the sixth century is documented by the remains of a settlement of huts and a necropoli.
Eventually of the Lombard kingdom in Sirmione was headed by a district wide (Iudiciaria Sermionese), directly dependent on the sovereign. 
The Queen Ansa, wife of the Lombard king Desiderius, he founded a monastery and the church of San Salvatore. 
Other church are mentioned as existing in the town in the eighth century documents (San Pietro in Mavino, St. Martin, St. Vitus).
Beautiful is particularly the Church of San Pietro in Mavino (mavina summa vinea, vineyard located on the top, on the top of the peninsula). 
Well preserved (though actually rebuilt "almost entirely in the fourteenth century"), it is dominated by the frescoes in the apse: a judge Christ at the center, the crucifixion on his left, the Virgin and Child on her right.
Typically the kind of medieval depiction of Christ judge like the Pantocrator other apses, prevails in him the divine dimension. 
It is not only a man, but the God-Man, the Presence who will judge all things, being the Word, in which everything that exists has been done. 
Everything in him summarizes and unifies: the spiritual and the temporal, faith and reason, religion and politics, economy, culture, life and death. 
Everything and everything He is the Dominus, the Lord.
Sirmione in a lake Garda
The district Sirmionese loses its autonomy with Charlemagne, but Sirmione continues to maintain even after a privileged relationship with the sovereign, which gets special concessions and exemptions.
In the thirteenth century Sirmione became one of the points of the fortification system with the construction of the Scaliger Castle by probably Mastino I della Scala.
Sirmione is now considered a jewel suspended in the middle of the bottom of Lake Garda.
The old town is at the northern end of a long and narrow peninsula and is configured as island, as it has been isolated from the mainland by a moat waterway, which is passed through a single access road, a bridge.
The old town retains a medieval urban structure, with narrow streets and irregular. 
Since the 1970 there have been architectural interventions to the external walls of the buildings, which have returned their looks older, with brick and stone.
Sirmione center is a restricted traffic area, you could say it is a paradise for pedestrians: to enter into the car you need a special permission, garanted to residents, vendors and guests of the hotels and only during certain hours.
Sirmione is careful to tourists and citizens.

Useful Information:
Town hall: 030990911
Office A.P.T. : 030916114
Grotto of Catullus : 030916157
Scaliger Castle : 030916468
Taxi : 030916082
Tourist information: 030916114

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