Grotto of Catullus is the name given to the ruins of a powerful Roman villa built at the turn of the eras, at the very end of the peninsula overlooking Lake Garda, in Sirmione. In the Renaissance era, ruins of ancient buildings, which were overgrown with lush greenery, were defined as “grottos”.
This region, located in the northern part of the Apennine Peninsula, has a mild climate, which was already appreciated in ancient times. The rich Romans built their summer residences at Lake Garda, where they could escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding cities, especially Verona.
Over the years, a belief (mainly during the Renaissance) has developed that the remains of a wealthy Roman villa at the end of the peninsula once belonged to Catullus, the famous Roman poet from nearby Verona. The writer certainly had his residence nearby, which he mentions in his work Carmina. However, we have no information about exactly where she was.
The villa was set on a rocky ground and was built around the peristyle – an internal garden surrounded by a columnar portico. The villa had three levels, including a huge terrace on the north and south sides, and cryptoportics for walks in the shade shielding from intense sun. Fragments of mosaics covering the floors of individual rooms have also been preserved. The whole complex covered almost 2 hectares.
The view from the end of the peninsula proves that the residents of the residence enjoyed the beautiful blue lake water landscapes.