The Roman Villa at Sirmione

The beauty of Sirmione, which lies at the southern tip of Lake Garda in Italy, has proved an inspiration for poets since 56 BC, as T.P. Wiseman explains.

T.P. Wiseman | Published in History Today

Row us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!

So they rowed, and there we landed - O venousta Sirmio!

There to me thro' all the grove of olives in the summer glow,

There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow,

Came that 'Ave atque Vale' of the Poet's hopeless woe,

Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen hundred years ago,

'Frater, Ave atque Vale' - as we wander'd to and fro

Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below

T.P. Wiseman is Professor and Head of Department of Classics at Exeter University.

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