Grotto of Catullus

Holiday Travel Guide
Grotto of Catullus which includes a lake or waterhole, a ruin and heritage elements

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 Trending Hotels Near Grotto of Catullus

Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi
Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi
4 out of 5
Piazza Castello 19, Sirmione, BS
Fully refundable
The price is £74 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
Situated near the airport, this spa hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Scaliger Castle and 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center. Church of ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (744 reviews)
"Breakfast was brilliant with lots to choose from. I asked to upgrade my room on arrival and they didn’t seem to fussed. Considering I was prepared to pay the cost of my room again for a balcony and view, you’d have thought they’d be a bit more enthusiastic and willing. The bathroom was good and the ..."

Reviewed on 8 Oct 2021

Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi
Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
5 out of 5
Viale C. Gennari, 2, Sirmione, BS
Located in Sirmione, this beachfront hotel is next to a golf course, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center and 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Scaliger ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (128 reviews)
"outstanding location, super staff, insane views, great atmosphere and restaurant. Very private"

Reviewed on 8 Oct 2021

Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
Hotel Désirée
Hotel Désirée
3 out of 5
Via San Pietro 2, Sirmione, BS
Located in the heart of Sirmione, this golf hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Center Aquaria Spa and Wellness Center and Scaliger Castle. Clinica Pederzoli ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (97 reviews)
Wonderful place. Helpful people
"It's such a lovely hotel in a wonderful part of the world, with friendly and helpful people"

Reviewed on 31 May 2021

Hotel Désirée
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Hotel Fonte Boiola
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The price is £71 per night from 26 Jan to 27 Jan
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