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Sirmione Castle photograph.
Photograph courtesy Philip Greenspun.

Sirmione Castle photograph.
Photograph courtesy Philip Greenspun.

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Sirmione Castle
(Rocca Scaligera)

Type: Palace-Castle-Fortress
Sirmione, Italy
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L ike almost everything else in the area, Rocca Scalgera (also occasionally known as Sirmione Castle) was built by one of the great families of Verona. The Della Scallas got their wealth and power the really old fashioned way -- they inherited it. And the only way to hold onto power like that is to wield it, flaunt it, and use it. The castle is the result of that need to show just how important they were. So important that they needed to build an entire castle The castle is on a spit of land that pokes two and a half miles out into Lake Garda, making it not only exceptionally peaceful, but also easy to defend in case of attack. And when you're surrounded on three sides by water, what better way to defend against attack than with ships. Rocca Scaligera eventually became home to the Dells Scalla family's fleet of warships which they used to patrol their kingdom. Today, the city of Sirmione remains an isolated haven from the rest of the world. While the drawbridge has been replaced by a pedestrian walkway, cars are not permitted unless you're a guest of one of the local hotels. People still flock to the area for its hot mineral springs and the peace afforded by its distance from the mainland -- just as they did in Roman times.

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