Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Traverse content creators conference in Trento, Northern Italy. Since Verona is only one hour away by train from Trento, I decided to stop there for a couple of days. AND since Lake Garda is only one hour’s bus ride from Verona, a Sirmione day trip was definitely happening!
For those of you who are head over heels for the magic of Call Me By Your Name (2017), we are kindred spirits. I don’t care if I’m a #basicbitch or if it’s a highly overrated Oscar-bothering film. I think it’s beautiful and I love it and I’ve watched the film over and over. And I’m guessing you agree and that’s why you’re here!
For those who don’t know the film, Call Me By Your Name is set in Northern Italy in 1983. Elio is a gifted 17-year-old and Oliver is his father’s 20-something doctoral student who is spending the summer with Elio’s family at their villa. Elio and Oliver develop an intense desire towards each other that unfolds over the weeks amongst the orchards, quaint town squares and stupefying landscape of Italy.
You NEED to fit in a Sirmione day trip on Lake Garda if you’re in Verona and a fan of Call Me By Your Name. This guide covers the exact Call Me By Your Name filming locations in Sirmione, how to travel from Verona to Sirmione on Lake Garda and other top things to do in Sirmione!
Verona to Sirmione Day Trip: Call Me By Your Name Filming Location on Lake Garda, Italy
Travel from Verona to Sirmione
This is the most straight-forward way to travel from Verona to Sirmione on Lake Garda so I’m going to try and not over-complicate it for you!
The best way to travel from Verona to Sirmione is by bus. Buses leave every hour from Verona Porta Nuova station and take approximately one hour to get to Sirmione. I planned my route the day before my Sirmione day trip using the timetable on Google Maps. But, I also visited the Verona Tourist Information office on Via Degli Alpini to ask for their advice and they gave me a timetable. The bus number you need is LN026.
There might be a stop slightly closer to your accommodation in Verona but I 100% recommend buying a ticket and departing from Verona Porta Nuova bus station. The tourist office pointed out a more conveniently-located bus stop, but I couldn’t find the stop with the correct bus number nor could I find the tobacco shop I was supposed to buy my ticket at. So confusing!
Save yourself the stress and head to the Verona Porta Nuova bus station in good time, about 20 minutes before your bus departs. Buy a single ticket (€3.60 at the time of writing) from the ticket office and use the signs to find your bus stop at the terminal. It’s the Brescia-Desenzano-Sirmione-Peschiera-Verona line heading towards Brescia.
Please note: I always recommend following your journey in real-time on Google Maps if you’re in a new place. It’s saved me heading in the wrong direction more than once. However, Google Maps incorrectly implies the bus will take you much further into Sirmione than it actually will. The bus stops at Sirmione Colombare 201/Via Roma and goes no further into Sirmione. From there, it will take you 40 minutes to walk up into Sirmione itself. Or, there are shuttle buses which I will talk about later.
Call Me By Your Name scenes filmed in Sirmione
I wouldn’t be surprised if some people, who have only watched Call Me By Your Name once, will forget all about the scenes shot in Sirmione.
Not too far into the film, Elio’s father receives a call about an archaeological discovery in the waters of Lake Garda. Elio tags along on the trip and Elio’s father insists Oliver navigates upfront in the car, much to Elio’s annoyance. The three of them meet a friend amongst some ruins and then walk down to the lakefront to see the newly-excavated statue. This scene is shot and set in Sirmione, a small but pretty tourist town at the very bottom of the huge Lake Garda. Crudely, Sirmione looks like the buttcrack of Lake Garda. Just sayin’.
Call Me By Your Name Location 1: Ruins
The ruins that Elio, in particular, walks through is named the Archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo. The ruins are of a large Roman villa complex complete with a museum and an olive grove.
Even though I’m usually so good at researching my trips, I had no idea that the ruins would be a ticketed attraction. I thought they were just open to the public and you could walk around them as you please! Not the case. The archaeological site is open from 8:00-19:30 most days, except 8:30-14:00 on Sundays and 10:00-14:00 on Tuesdays. I just happened to visit on a Wednesday because if I visited on Tuesday I might have missed the opening times which would have been really gutting! The ticket prices are a bit steep, too at €8.00 for adults.
I think it’s fairly easy to find the Call Me By Your Name filming locations at Grotte di Catullo. The main two are the Roman columns that Elio walks through and the doorway they use to ‘walk’ down to the beach. The site is completely fenced off, you can’t get through to the beach from there. Use my photographs as a guide but trust me, you’ll find the locations, it’s not that huge an archaeological site.
Call Me By Your Name Location 2: Jamaica Beach
Jamaica Beach is at the very tippy-top of Sirmione and this is where the three men find the statue. As a filming locations nerd, I love that the stairs they walk down to the beach start from nowhere! I’m just imagining Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg hiding in the bushes waiting for ‘action’. In reality, you’ll walk down to the beach from the west. Don’t worry, there are tonnes of signposts, you’ll find Jamaica Beach quite easily.
It’s an ideal location for sunbathers and swimmers, hence why I didn’t take a lot of photos! Maybe if I’d arrived in Sirmione at the crack of dawn it would be quieter. But it’s completely free to visit at least! And there is a bar nearby (Jamaica Bar) if you fancy drinking a cocktail and looking out at Lake Garda for a bit.
Top tip: Make sure you have lots of 50 cent coins for the toilets! There are toilets at Spiaggia del Prete/Sirmione Public Beach or next to the Tourist Information but you need 50c coins. Also, be really prepared and bring your own toilet paper. These toilets are very basic squat toilets and don’t have a lot of amenities.
Sirmione Day Trip: 4 Other Things to do in Sirmione, Lake Garda
A Sirmione day trip is definitely required-visiting if you liked Call Me By Your Name, but this Lake Garda town attracts tourists for lots of other reasons! It juts out into the middle of Lake Garda so you have a 180 viewpoint of the turquoise lake from all sides. Plus, there are lots of nice restaurants, quirky shops and other things to do in Sirmione to keep you busy.
1. Eat real gelato at Gelataria Mancini and AVOID the fluffed up pretenders
I’m a bit annoyed at myself, but I ate really subpar non-authentic gelato from one of the rainbow-coloured vendors in Sirmione. What can I say, I didn’t plan for my Sirmione day trip very well! All the bubblegum-coloured gelato shops hit you right as you walk into Sirmione and if you respect real Italian gelato, avoid them all. Instead, walk right past them and eat at Gelataria Mancini. It’s the only gelateria in Sirmione I saw that served traditional, homemade gelato.
2. Drink freshly squeezed lemonade
Definitely a stall aimed at tourists, but I loved drinking real lemonade from Italian lemons while in Sirmione. As you’re arriving/leaving Sirmione, head to Stand Big Limone for a big cup of freshly made lemonade. There are tonnes of benches at the entrance to Sirmione so you can chill watching the boat trips leave the tiny harbour while drinking some delicious lemonade.
3. Enjoy the views from Scaligero Castle
Scaligero Castle/Rocca Scaligera sits at the front entrance to the touristed part of Sirmione. It’s a picturesque 13th-century castle which I’m sure is very pretty. But in all sincerity, I only went inside the castle so I could climb to the top of the turrets and get some cracking views over the island. I’m just a sucker for those instagrammable shots, bro!
An adult ticket costs €6 and opening times are 8:30-6:45 every day except 8:30-12:45 on Sundays and closed Mondays. If you’re not fussed about seeing the view then the ticket price isn’t worth it. It’s a pretty standard castle and you can see a lot of it from outside. But I love a good viewpoint and there’s nowhere else in Sirmione that offers a decent vista.
4. Boat trip around Sirmione and Lake Garda
Not forgetting that the reason tourists visit Sirmione is because it’s situated on one of the biggest and beautiful-est lakes in Northern Italy! There are lots of places in Sirmione to have a seat amongst the olive groves and look out onto the open water. But seeing more of the lake by boat would be pretty cool, too.
SirmioneBoats offer boat trips every 25 minutes from their port near Tourist Information. Their shortest tours are 30 minutes and cost €10 for adults and €5 for kids. But they have multiple boat tour options, so check at the ticket office when you arrive in Sirmione.
Travel from Sirmione to Verona: Shuttle Busses and Public Transport Bus
I’ll be honest, I’m still not 100% sure which bus I took back to Verona on my Sirmione day trip. It wasn’t the LN026 I arrived in from Verona to Sirmione. The bus stop was different from the one I alighted on my way into Sirmione from Verona. All I know is, it was easy and extremely difficult for me to f* up. Clearly, the bus staff are used to directly clueless travellers like me!
Shuttle Bus to your Sirmione Bus Stop
When you’re reading to leave Sirmione, head to the nearby Sirmione bus stop next to the Tourist Information. Tell the attendant you want to go to Verona, and they will give you a ticket (costing €5) which is valid for both the shuttle bus down to the bottom of Sirmione and a second bus back to Verona. Shuttle buses depart every 30 minutes and you want to go to Via Roma. There are different bus stops around Sirmione depending on where you are eventually travelling to so there are lots of stops on the shuttle bus.
Public Bus to Verona
Then, stay at the bus stop where you were dropped off by the shuttle bus. And then, hop on the next bus back to Verona. It will no doubt say ‘Verona’ on the front of the bus but ask the driver if you’re unsure.
As long as you don’t leave Sirmione after 18:00, you’ll make it back to Verona no problem. Again, just follow along on your journey using Google Maps! If you just want to use the shuttle bus (like, on your way into Sirmione), tickets are €1.50 on board. I walked the 40-minutes up to Sirmione on my way in because I wanted to see more of the island. But later in the day, you’re tired and just want to get home, am I right? I know this sounds super vague, but the buses from Sirmione are so easy to figure out once you’re there! So many people take a Sirmione day trip from Verona so public transport is top-notch.
And that’s my guide to the perfect Sirmione day trip from Verona to visit the Call Me By Your Name filming locations on Lake Garda. Have you visited Lake Garda? Or watched Call Me By Your Name? Let me know in the comments below!