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The Grottoes of Catullus

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This Roman villa was built between the end of the first century BCE and the first century CE in Sirmione, in the province of Brescia, on the southern shore of Lake Garda. The archaeological complex, a part of which has always remained in view, especially its northern sector, has been studied and the subject of speculation from the fifteenth century. Today, it is the most important vestige of the Roman period in the territory of Sirmione and the most striking example of a Roman villa in Northern Italy. This extensive villa, from whose foundations have been excavated ancient structures of the first century BCE, was erected at the beginning of the first century CE. The villa must have fallen into disrepair already in the third century when part of its architectural decor was reused in the other Roman villa in Sirmione, that of Via Antiche Mura. Between the fourth and the fifth centuries, the imposing surviving structures of the villa were absorbed into the fortifications that enclosed the Sirmione peninsula and the interior of the remains of the Roman building were used as a burial ground.


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