National Geographic : 1968 Jul
I remember the ringing anvils of Premana and the warmth of the people we met there. We had spent too long on Como. Reluctant ly, we drove east to Lake Garda. One look at Sirmione, however, and our regret was drowned in a flood of anticipation. Sirmione is at the tip of a long, narrow peninsula which thrusts from Garda's southern shore, and it is a traveler's dream. Its shores are lined with pebbled beaches and modest, sun-drenched hotels, and near the tip towers the great Roc ca, the castle of the Scaligeri family, where Dante was once a guest (pages 79-81). The streets around the moat which sur rounds the castle are narrow, some roofed by arcades, all lined with souvenir shops and res taurants and ice-cream stands. A tiny train with open cars winds through from time to time, carrying visitors from the city's massive gates to the Grottoes of Catullus at the tip of the peninsula. Between our hotel and the cas tle was an antique shop with half its wares within its tiny confines and the other half in a happy jumble on the sidewalk. Almost every day we would stop to poke through the fascinating confusion, pricing copper cooking pots and Sicilian puppets, cracked majolica ware and carved candle sticks. The proprietor, an ancient Sicilian with magnificent handlebar mustachios, cheerfully answered our questions and in variably invited us to join him in an espresso. We talked about the history of Lake Garda, and about the vulnerability of his stock, some of which he left on the sidewalk when he locked his shutters for the night.