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SI´RMIO

SI´RMIO (Sermione), a narrow neck or tongue of land, projecting out into the Lake Benacus (Lago di Garda), from its southern shore. Though a conspicuous and picturesque object in all views of the lake from its southern shores, it is unnoticed by any of the geographers, and its name would probably have been unknown to us, but for the circumstance that Catullus, who was a native of the neighbouring Verona, had a villa on its shores, and has sung the praises of Sirmio in one of the most charming odes in the Latin language (Catull. xxxi.). The name of Sirmio is, however, found in the Itineraries, which place a “Sermione mansio” on the road from Brixia to Verona, and just midway between the two cities, 22 M. P. from each (Itin Ant. p. 127). This must, however, have been situated at the entrance of the peninsula, probably where a road turned off to it, as it is clear that the highroad could never have turned aside to the promontory itself.

Extensive substructions and other remains of an ancient villa are still visible at the extremity of the promontory, where it juts out into the lake: but these undoubtedly belong to an abode on a much more magnificent scale than the villa of Catullus, and probably belong to some villa of the imperial times, which had replaced the humbler dwelling of the poet.

[E.H.B]

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