Italy
Caves of Catullus

The Caves of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo) are not caves at all but the evocative ruins of a Roman villa. This ancient site, brimming with history, offers both archaeological intrigue and breathtaking lake views. Read more

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Visit Caves of Catullus in 2024

Contrary to their name, the Caves of Catullus are the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in Northern Italy. Dating back to the 1st century BC, these ruins stretch over a vast area and are thought to have belonged to the family of the renowned Roman poet, Catullus. Overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Garda, the villa offers a picturesque landscape, making it easy to imagine the opulence and serenity enjoyed by its ancient inhabitants. Archaeological digs on the site have unearthed intricate mosaics, structural pillars, and various artifacts, highlighting the luxuriousness of the Roman lifestyle.
Visiting the Caves of Catullus is akin to opening a time capsule from ancient Rome. As the whispers of history fill the air, visitors are transported back to an era where poetry, architecture, and the beauty of nature intertwined seamlessly.

38.0164743, 12.4985626 Open in Google Maps

The most famous sights
What to do in Caves of Catullus

Main Villa Ruins

Explore the sprawling footprint of the villa, its courtyards, and the residential spaces. The layout illustrates the grandeur of Roman architectural prowess.

Olive Oil Museum

Located nearby, this museum provides insights into the ancient methods of olive oil production, a significant trade in the area during Roman times.

Scenic Vantage Points

The ruins offer several viewpoints from where visitors can soak in panoramic vistas of Lake Garda, with its clear waters and distant mountains.

Museum of the Scagliera Castle

Situated at the entrance, this museum showcases artifacts excavated from the site, including Roman coins, jewelry, and pottery.

Archaeological Digs

Portions of the site continue to be under archaeological study. It's fascinating to see areas cordoned off for excavations and possibly witness ongoing work.

Ancient Bathing Areas

The villa had its own thermal baths, tapping into the hot springs of Sirmione. The remnants offer a glimpse into the recreational activities of the villa's inhabitants.

Historic Olive Groves

Surrounding the villa are ancient olive groves, some of which continue to produce olives and oil, maintaining the legacy of the area.

Detailed Information Panels

Distributed across the site, these panels provide historical context, making the ruins come alive with tales from the past.

Poet Catullus’ References

As you roam, look for references to Catullus' poems, which often painted vivid pictures of the lake and its surroundings.

Sirmione Town

After exploring the caves, venture into the charming town of Sirmione, known for its medieval castle, narrow alleys, and thermal spas.

What else to visit
In and around Caves of Catullus

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