Château du lac de Garde en train de couler SCALIGERA DI SIRMIONE
Sinking Castle of Lake Garda – ROCCA SCALIGERA Di Sirmione
Nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of northern Italy, the enchanting Lake Garda holds a secret that has captivated locals and visitors alike for centuries – the Sinking Castle of Lake Garda. This mysterious underwater treasure has an intriguing legend and a history that unravels before your eyes as you explore its submerged beauty. Join us on a journey to discover the hidden gem that lies beneath the serene waters of Lake Garda.
The Scaliger Castle of Sirmione: The Sinking Castle on Lake Garda
Perched on a narrow peninsula jutting into the southern end of Lake Garda sits the iconic Scaliger Castle of Sirmione. This medieval lakeside fortress is often called the “Sinking Castle” due to its precarious position with water on three sides. As the largest and most impressive castle on Lake Garda, the Scaliger Castle has a unique history and appearance that has made it a famous landmark in northern Italy.
Construction on the castle likely began in the late 12th century, ordered by the Lord of Verona Mastino I della Scala. The strategic location was chosen to assert control over Lake Garda and protect the Scaliger family’s territories. Over time, the fortified complex expanded through additions made by subsequent family members. A wide moat and drawbridges were built to better defend against invaders.
Inside the castle walls, there are now two Romanesque palaces, four imposing towers, and a large inner courtyard. The Great Tower, a massive fortification rising over the lake, affords panoramic views from the top. Below the complex, archeologists discovered ruins of a Roman villa and thermal baths dating even earlier to the 1st century BC.
What makes the Sirmione castle so recognizable is its appearance of rising directly from the waters of Lake Garda. The small Sirmione peninsula it occupies was overwhelmed as Lake Garda’s water levels rose over past centuries, giving the castle the illusion of being adrift. This sunken appearance combined with its scale and medieval turrets creates a postcard-perfect scene.
Today the Scaliger Castle and its grounds house a museum with exhibits on its history. The castle remains remarkably well-preserved and is protected as a cultural heritage monument. Visitors can walk the castle walls, admire its formidable architecture, learn about construction techniques, and take in stunning lake views. This sinking medieval castle continues to be one of the most popular attractions in Lake Garda.
The Mysterious Legend
The Mysterious Legend
The Scaliger Castle of Sirmione has long been shrouded in mysterious myths and legends, especially surrounding its curious sinking appearance in the waters of Lake Garda. Local legends date back hundreds of years, imagining how this imposing medieval fortress came to look as if it were slowly sinking into the lake.
According to longstanding folklore in the region, the castle was originally built on land, well away from the lake’s edge. However, the ambitious and arrogant Scaliger family wanted to expand the castle walls and towers at all costs. They begin a rapid addition to the rear of the castle, building new ramparts and a wide moat directly over the lake waters.
As workers constructed the immense new fortifications, it became clear the land could not support the weight. The reclaimed land gradually gave way, sinking the new castle additions into the lake. The family tried desperately to reinforce the slipping foundation, but the damage was done. Over many years, the sinking accelerated, drawing more of the castle down into the depths of Lake Garda.
Another dramatic version of the legend depicts an even more sudden collapse. It claims a massive storm one night caused a landslide of the hastily reclaimed lakeside. The entire back portion of the castle plummeted into Lake Garda, leaving the strange half-submerged scene visitors marvel at today.
While these fantastical local legends have no historical basis, they do showcase the mystery and magic surrounding Sirmione’s sinking castle. The striking image of towers and turrets rising from the water fueled the imaginations of medieval villagers, resulting in myths attempting to explain its origins. Even today, the sunken castle on Lake Garda continues to capture a sense of wonder and reveal new delights as it reveals more of itself to intrepid explorers of history and legend.
An Enchanting Discovery
It was in the early 19th century that the first evidence of the Sinking Castle emerged. Local fishermen, casting their nets in the deep waters of Lake Garda, stumbled upon the remnants of a castle. News of their discovery spread like wildfire, sparking curiosity and fascination among the townsfolk. The submerged beauty of the castle quickly became a subject of folklore, igniting the imaginations of those who longed to uncover the secrets hidden beneath the lake’s surface.
A Hidden Gem
Unveiled As divers began to explore the depths of Lake Garda, they were greeted by an awe-inspiring sight. The once majestic castle had undergone a surreal transformation, with delicate coral formations adorning its ancient walls and colorful fish swimming through its forgotten halls. The hidden gem that lay beneath the surface of the lake was finally unveiled, captivating all those fortunate enough to witness its submerged beauty.
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FAQs – Sinking Castle of Lake Garda SCALIGERA DI SIRMIONE
What is Scaligera di Sirmione?
Scaligera di Sirmione, also known as Sirmione Castle, is a medieval fortress located on the southern shore of Lake Garda in Italy.
Why is it called the Sinking Castle?
It’s called the Sinking Castle because it appears to be partially submerged in the lake’s waters, creating a picturesque and unique sight.
Is Scaligera di Sirmione a real castle?
Yes, Scaligera di Sirmione is a real medieval castle with historical significance.
When was Scaligera di Sirmione built?
The castle was built in the 13th century, specifically in 1259, during the Scaliger dynasty’s rule in the region.
Who built Scaligera di Sirmione?
The castle was constructed by the Scaliger family, an influential ruling family in medieval Verona.
What is the purpose of the Sinking Castle of Lake Garda Sirmione?
The castle was originally built for defensive purposes and served as a stronghold against potential threats.
Can visitors explore the interior of Scaligera di Sirmione?
Yes, visitors can explore the castle’s interior, including its rooms, towers, and historical exhibits.
What can I see inside the castle?
Inside, you can admire the castle’s architecture, historical artifacts, and enjoy panoramic views from the towers.
Is there a museum within the Sinking Castle of Lake Garda?
Yes, there is a museum in the castle that displays artifacts and provides insights into the region’s history.
Are guided tours available for visitors?
Yes, guided tours are often available, offering a deeper understanding of the castle’s history and significance.
Is Scaligera di Sirmione a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
No, it is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is protected as a national monument in Italy.
Can you access the castle by boat?
Yes, you can access the castle by boat, which adds to the charm of visiting this historic site.
Is Scaligera di Sirmione a popular tourist attraction?
Yes, the castle is a popular tourist attraction in Sirmione and Lake Garda, drawing visitors from around the world.
Is there a fee to enter the castle?
Yes, there is an admission fee to enter the castle, and prices may vary depending on age and nationality.
What is the best time to visit Sinking Castle of Lake Garda Scaligera di Sirmione?
The best time to visit is during the spring and summer when the weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy the outdoor areas.
Are there any events or festivals held at the castle?
The castle occasionally hosts cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions throughout the year.
Can you walk to Sinking Castle of Lake Garda from Sirmione town?
Yes, the castle is easily accessible on foot from the charming town of Sirmione.
Is the castle illuminated at night?
Yes, the castle is beautifully illuminated at night, creating a captivating ambiance.
Is Scaligera di Sirmione a good spot for photography?
Yes, the castle’s unique location and architecture make it a fantastic subject for photographers.
Is the castle haunted or associated with any legends?
There are no known legends or hauntings associated with Scaligera di Sirmione, but its rich history adds to its allure.