You may recall back in January I wrote about the thermal waters of Saturnia in Tuscany. Today, it is all about Sirmione. Sirmione sits on Lake Garda and is only 40 minutes away from Verona, and 90 minutes from Venice.
Set on a sliver of a peninsula (only about 150 yards wide) that jets out onto Lake Garda for two miles, Sirmione has a history that dates back to Roman times. Despite the fact that the town is small, you will still find important structures including ruins of a Roman villa reportedly owned by the poet Catullus (Grotte di Catullo) at the very edge of the peninsula (which has the best view of the lake and mountains of course).
In addition to the villa, there is the 13th century Scaligera fortress and castle – it has a moat and all! Ducks and swans swim in the moat accepting leftovers from the otherwise macho waiters of the nearby cafes feeding them.
Another important part of this town are the thermal baths. These waters contain sulfur, iodine, sodium chloride and bromine and are therapeutic in nature and also aid in softening the skin. Naturally heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, these waters are the ultimate for relaxing – even in winter just like Saturnia.
These waters can be accessed by several hotels in town or the main spa, Aquaria.
To get to the spa, just follow the signs from the main square and enjoy the walk. The town’s streets are flanked by endless ice-cream shops, restaurants, cafes’ and souvenir shops, the stroll itself is relaxing! Unless of course it is summer in which the town gets really crowded.
This spa is immersed in a manicured park and overlooks Lake Garda with rolling hills in the distance. This facility offers various indoor and outdoor pools as well as jacuzzis, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas as well as a darkened rest area. There is also an eating area that provides simple meals as well as a stocked bar.
The views cannot be beat and we spent a relaxing Sunday afternoon there. We had our children with us and they enjoyed the experience too. Their favorite part was trying out all of the different pools and sitting under the jets of streaming water.
We enjoyed our experience, but I have heard that it can get very crowded to the point that you have to take a number to use certain facilities. (that reminds me way too much of my trips to the post office, and I certainly do not want my spa visit to resemble ANYTHING remotely close to the Italian posta). We also found the changing room set up a little confusing. I like getting a locker and a key. Here they made us put all of our clothes and shoes into a big black garment bag after which the changing room attendant took the bag, slid it into an automated locking closet that resembled the conveyor at the cleaners. It was weird.
Aquaria was also pricey. We were lucky enough to enjoy a lowered entrance fee because we bought our tickets from Groupon, but otherwise, an adult ticket for 5 hours costs between 39 euro and 43 euro.
If you happen to stay at any of the following hotels, you can use their pools instead of going to the central spa: