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Sirmione on Lake Garda, Italy, July 2011

This year we had a different kind of holiday - a train trip to Sirmione on Lake Garda, spending a week there with a few guided tours (we ducked out of several - too little time and too hot!). French and Swiss trains are great, but train travel in Italy... not recommended! Sirmione was a nice place, though - we'll be back (by air).

Sirmione is on a long, thin peninsula, jutting out into Lake Garda (this is a photo that I took of an information board!) The remains of a huge Roman villa belonging to Catullus are at this end (see Part 4), with Maria Callas's villa (where she lived in the 50's) on the road leading back down to the town. The peninsula is surrounded by a limestone shelf that drops away steeply.

Sirmione castle, seen from the lake (I actually took this on the way back from Isola di Garda, see Part 3)

Bijou residence on a little raft kindly placed in the castle moat

The local lads...

... and the local attraction?

Views of Sirmione from half way up the castle... the town was absolutely hotching with people, especially in the evening, but it absorbed them all quite happily (and is mostly car-free in this part)

Going up to the top...

View from the top of the castle, looking south to the edge of the lake

Looking the other way over the old town. Our hotel was on the lake, in the far distance, about 10 minutes' walk from here

A wonderfully secluded private spot... if it weren't for tourists like me on the castle tower!

Near the castle... People out at a sensible time of day...

Evening on the lake, a short walk from our hotel

[Italy visit continues in Part 2]