The Scaligero castle in Sirmione is a fortress dating back to Scaliger Period and it is the only point of access to the historical centre of Sirmione. It is one of the most complete and best preserved castles in Italy, as well as a rare example of lake fortification. Entering the castle is mandatory (there is no other entrance) passing the drawbridge, the fortress is in fact lined on all sides by Lake Garda. The castle is bathed on all sides by the waters of Lake Garda, and on one of these sides the dock was made, shortly after the construction of the castle, which was once a place of refuge of the fleet of Verona. The walls and the three massive main towers are characterised by the dovetailed battlements that distinguish each Scaligeri construction. Behind the three towers emerges the imposing tower, 47 metres high, under which are the cells where prisoners were held. Through doors fitted with effective locking systems you enter the large porch, inside which stands a staircase leading to a drawbridge. From there, up a flight of 146 steps, you can reach the wall battlements, from which you can enjoy the dock. The construction of the fortress began in the mid-thirteenth century, possibly on the ruins of a Roman fort. Its construction was ordered by the mayor of Verona, Mastino I della Scala. The function of the castle was one of defence and port control, as the town of Sirmione, being in a border location, was more exposed to attacks. About a century later, two courtyards and a detached fortification were added. In 1405, Sirmione came under the control of the Venetian Republic which began work to strengthen the defensive structures. It was at this time that the dock was made which you can see today. Within the large interior portico of the castle a Roman and medieval Lapidarium was set up as well as a brief exhibition in which some of the panels display the most important information about the fortress. You can also access the wall battlements and through the flights of recently restored wooden stairs, you can go up to the top of the tower, the highest tower of the fortress.