The Grotto of Cattalus is a wonderland of Roman ruins nestled on the tip of the peninsula of Sirmione, Italy.
(art history nerd alert!) It's not actually a grotto. It was originally called a "grotto" in reference to its run-down and collapsed walls. And the Roman poet Cattalus never lived there (his birth and death dates don't line up). But like so many other historical sites (don't get me started on the Colosseum), this technically-incorrect name has stuck.
The Grotto of Cattalus boasts some of the best preserved ruins of a domestic Roman edifice in Northern Italy, and set against a lake and mountains, it is pretty easy on the eyes.
We arrived at sunset, and like at Scaliger Castle, the crowds were thin on this warm September day.
Besides exploring the expansive ruins, you can also wander through the site's beautiful olive groves...
...And literally touch history (I figure if the tiles are exposed to the elements, it won't hurt them if I run my hands over them, right?)
Can you picture ancient Romans lying these beautiful tiles? I think they would be right at home in a 2013 house (that's the real definition of timeless.)
Kind of makes you wonder what will be left of our cultures in 2,000 years.
After our visit we stopped for some drinks and salty snacks, as birds chirped in the olive trees and the sun sank lower and lower over the lake.
It was the last night of our road trip, and it couldn't have ended on a more perfect note.
Have a lovely weekend. Next week - the end of our road trip posts!