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Grotto of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo)

Jutting out from the idyllic Sirmione Peninsular, this expansive villa offers a glimpse of how the elite lived during Roman times.

The Grotto of Catullus was once the residence of a wealthy Roman family. These days, it is a historic attraction containing a small museum. Stroll through the ruins of this ancient villa, inspect fragments of mosaics and frescoes and check out intriguing Roman relics.

In spite of its name, there is no evidence that the great Latin poet Gaius Valerius Catullus ever lived at this three-story villa, although it was undoubtedly inhabited by someone from the upper echelons of Roman society. The term grotto is also a misnomer and references the building’s poor state following the fall of the Roman Empire, when the roofs collapsed and vegetation began to engulf the once-grand residence.

Make your way around the site and try to imagine how it would have looked in its heyday. The high stone walls form a rectangle shape that would once have measured over 492-feet (150-meters) long and 345-feet (105-meters) wide. Walk beneath towering arches and look for the flowing frescoed patterns, which date back to the 1st century.

Stop by the museum on the right of the main entrance. Step inside to admire an array of colorful mosaics, ceramics and rare coins that were found in and around the villa. Also on display is a portrait of a man who many believe to be Catullus.

While visiting this stunning beauty spot, save some time to enjoy the serene waterfront location. Relax in the shade of the trees that grow in and around the building. Watch as gentle blue waves lap against the rocks in front of the villa and ascend the hillside for spectacular views over the whole of Lake Garda.

The Grotto of Catullus is on the northern tip of the small commune of Sirmione, located on the southeastern corner of Lake Garda. The villa is open Tuesday through Sunday and there is a small entry fee. Opening hours vary depending on the season, so check ahead before you go.


Top Grotto of Catullus Flight + Hotel Deals

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See all 6,420 Properties near Grotto of Catullus
Hotel Mon Repos £111
Hotel Mon Repos

Hotel Mon Repos

Via Arici, 2, Sirmione, BS
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated near the beach, this hotel is steps away from Church of San Pietro and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Scaliger Castle is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) away.

    Grand Hotel Terme £164
    Grand Hotel Terme

    Grand Hotel Terme

    Viale Marconi, 7, Sirmione, BS
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Sirmione, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 10-minute walk of Scaliger Castle and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Church of Santa Maria della Neve and Santa Maria Maggiore are also within 5 minutes.

      Luxury Suite Sirmione £84
      Luxury Suite Sirmione

      Luxury Suite Sirmione

      Via Romagnoli 15, Sirmione, Provincia di Brescia
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the beach, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Scaliger Castle and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Grotto of Catullus and Gardaland are also within 12 mi (20 km).

        Hotel Olivi Thermae & Natural Spa £108
        Hotel Olivi Thermae & Natural Spa

        Hotel Olivi Thermae & Natural Spa

        Via San Pietro in Mavino 5, Sirmione, BS
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Sirmione hotel is located on the waterfront, just steps away from Church of San Pietro and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Scaliger Castle is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) away.

          Broglia
          Broglia

          Broglia

          Via Piana 34, Sirmione, BS
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in the historical district, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center and Scaliger Castle. Church of Santa Maria della Neve and Santa Maria Maggiore are also within 5 minutes.

            Hotel Ideal
            Hotel Ideal

            Hotel Ideal

            Via Catullo 31, Sirmione
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Grotto of Catullus and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Scaliger Castle is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) away.

              Hotel Marconi £84
              Hotel Marconi

              Hotel Marconi

              Via Vittorio Emanuele Ii 51, Sirmione, BS
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in the historical district, this hotel is steps away from Church of Santa Maria della Neve and Scaliger Castle. Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) away.

                Hotel Mavino
                Hotel Mavino

                Hotel Mavino

                Via G. Piana, 17, Sirmione, BS
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in the historical district, this hotel is steps away from Church of Santa Maria della Neve and Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Scaliger Castle is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) away.