Thousands of visitors descend on Lake Garda daily especially in the warmer months and it’s not at all hard to understand why. This is Italy’s largest lake and the district evokes a magical sense of Italian dolce vita that’s different from the coast.
Located in the province of Brescia, half hours drive from Verona and less than 2 hours from Milan, Sirmione is all you’d want in a lake town and more. It’s unique in that, it lies on a thin peninsula on the southern part of the lake. So from either side of this picturesque town, there are views of the sparkling lake waters. Depending on the season, swimming in the lake is advised and there are small beaches throughout the area. But I went to Sirmione for a different kind of swimming. This area is rich in thermal springs and has been almost forever. It has a long and fascinating history – during the 1st century BC it was a resort town for the rich Veronese (much as it is today) and in the late 4th-5th centuries it was a fortified strongpoint for the Roman Empire. It was taken over by the Venetians then even Hapsburg empire at one point and finally in the mid 1800s become a part of the Kingdom of Italy. Pieces of this diverse occupation can be seen throughout, from the architecture to the castle at the town entrance to its churches.But back to those thermal springs!
There are thermal spa resorts and public bathing areas dotted around the area. On a recent trip to Verona, my sister and I decided on a day trip. It took 30 minutes to arrive to this oasis of relax! The Aquaria Terme di Sirmione complex features thermal pools and hot tubs varying temperatures (but never less than 34 degrees Celsius), both indoor and outdoor plus a spa treatment area for massage, facials and other body rituals. From saunas and steam rooms to waterways which you walk through to improve circulation, there really is something to suit the fussiest of spa lovers. There is a cafeteria style cafe on site with indoor and outdoor dining, with salads and daily pasta specials to choose from. A day at the spa, at any time of year, makes for a truly relaxing and regenerating day.And whether you’re in town on a spa day trip or longer, a gelato in the old town is a must (the place is full of them – some better looking than others!) and especially if it’s hot, head to one of the fresh homemade lemonade stands. Walk around with a gelato or lemonade in hand (or both!) and admire the lake, the old fortress walls and the castle.Sirmione, you took my breath away – I’ll be back!
Aquaria is open daily from 9am through to midnight daily (outside of summer from 11am on Thursdays).
Entry costs are:
€53 per person for the whole day or €59 including a meal (one dish of choice, non alcoholic drink and coffee). Either package includes: locker, access to change rooms and complete wet zone (indoor and outdoors pools, tubs, sauna, gym), a robe, towel, swimming cap (compulsory) and skincare sample pack.
Bookings for treatments are essential and at an additional cost. Costs range from €35 for 25 minute treatments to €55-80 for 50 minute treatments.
Parking is available on site as are event and accommodation facilities (a 3, 4 & 5 star hotel)
Full details are available on their website here.
Signing off from Trastevere,
I was a day guest of Aquaria Terme di Sirmione but all thoughts expressed and pictures are my own. Nobody tells me what to write.1