The Roman Villa is located on the tip of the peninsula of Sirmione, in a panoramic position and surrounded by centuries-old olive trees. It is considered one of the greatest examples of private buildings of the imperial era in northern Italy and is known as the ‘Grottoes of Catullus’. Built between the end of the first century BC and the turn of the first century AD, the villa owes its name to several underground constructions there, whereas the attribution to Catullus is likely to be a false history, since the poet is thought to have died in 54 BC. The complex, studied in-depth during the nineteenth century, covers an area of about two hectares and featured porticoes and terraces stretched out towards the lake, a long covered promenade and a large area dedicated to thermal baths. The latter is part of a tradition that has remained in the DNA of the town and people of Garda.
Impossible not to note the elegance of the palaces of Salò, once capital of the “Magnifica Patria”, or “Magnificent Fatherland”, a geographical area which enjoyed considerable autonomy under the Republic of Venice (1426-1797). In the ‘Loggia’, part of the ‘Palace of the Captain’ (from 1386 and rebuilt in 1560 after a disastrous earthquake in 1901), which was accessed from the lake (though the current lake front is much more recent), met the ‘General Council’ of representatives of the municipalities of the area. Today, it is the seat of the town council.