The Scaliger Castle in Sirmione, an imposing medieval fortress on the water

In Sirmione on Lake Garda stands the Scaliger Castle of the former lords of Verona. It was built in the 13th century and today has crenellated walls, high towers and a drawbridge connecting it to the mainland.

The Sirmione Castle is one of the most imposing medieval fortresses in Europe built on water, and was the scene of very cruel and bloody events. Surrounded on all its sides by water, it rises imposingly to defend the town.

An imposing defence system

Sirmione Castle was probably built on the ruins of an ancient Roman fortification and had the purpose of defending the town and controlling the harbour. Today it is only possible to enter the castle through the drawbridge. Entering the castle, one enters the main courtyard, rectangular in shape, surrounded by high walls and corner towers.

The dock that can be admired today is probably the one built by the Republic of Venice, modelled on the Venice Arsenal, which replaced the previous old wooden dock. Inside we find a portico that houses a Roman and medieval lapidary, along a staircase and a drawbridge we access the second enclosure and ascend to the walkways on the walls from where we can admire an overall view of the imposing and fascinating dockyard, a refuge for the Scaligera fleet.

The legend of the Castle

Like all self-respecting castles, that of Sirmione also boasts its own legend! Here, too, a ghost roams the chambers on dark and stormy nights. The eggenda has it that Hebengard and his bride, Arice, were living happily in the castle, when one rainy and windy night a knight, Elabert, Marquis of Feltrino, knocked on their door to ask for hospitality.

The two welcomed him but the guest fell in love with Arice and during the night, he broke into her room to possess her. The woman screamed loudly and Elaberto stabbed her with a dagger to silence her. Ebengardo, awoken by his bride’s screams, ran into the room but found her already dead. After a violent struggle between Elaberto and Ebengardo, the latter killed him by hitting him with the same dagger. Hebengard, desperate for not having protected his beloved is condemned to remain among the living in the form of a ghost forever separated from her.


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