Catullo Caves (Grotte di Catullo)
The village of Sirmione was known in the ancient world for being a staging station along the important communication route that connected Brescia to Verona.
In the Renaissance the name of "caves" or "caverns" was used to indicate ancient ruined structures, covered with vegetation, within which penetrated as in natural cavities.
The tradition, which dates back to 1500, identifies this complex, which is the most magnificent example of a private building of noble character in northern Italy, such as the family villa of Catullus, the Latin poet who died in 54 BC.
The archaeological excavations carried out under the Villa Romana attributed to the family of Catullus have brought to light structures of the first century BC.
The Villa Romana was built at the beginning of the first century after Christ and, even if the period and the reason for the decline of the villa are unknown, the finding of tombs, both inside and outside the building, dates back to the IV and the fifth century indicates that in that periodola structure had already been abandoned and turned into a quarry to extract the ancient stones to be used as building materials.
The remains of the Roman villa were rediscovered and described by chroniclers and travelers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but the first studies on the ruins were carried out only in 1801 by a general of Napoleon during the Italian campaign.
In 1856 Girolamo Orti Manara published a report containing the studies and observations made during the excavations, correlating it with a planimetry.