Rocca Scaligera

Sirmione, Veneto

Rocca Scaligera in Sirmione is intrinsically linked with the family after which it is named. The della Scala family (later known as Scaligera) were noblemen who ruled the province with an iron fist in the 13th century. Forget modern-day soap operas; this family was entrenched in conspiracies, trade wars and even murder. So it’s no surprise they ensured their castle, which dominated the town of Sirmione, protected them from the outside world. Rocca Scaligera overlooks Lake Garda is surrounded by water on all sides and is accessible only by drawbridge. All this made it an ideal protective base. With its massive walls and high towers that housed prisoners, the castle symbolized mighty power. After the Scaligera family finally fell, the castle changed hands until the state took it over. It was restored and rebranded as a tourist site and museum.