Tamminiemi villa was one of the official residences of the President of Finland from 1940 until 1981. From that date, until his death, it served as the residence of President Urho Kekkonen. Designed by architects Sigurd Frosterus and Gustaf Strengell, the jugendstil villa was built in 1903 for the Danish-born businessman Jörgen Nissen. The villa was later owned or rented by a number of individuals, before being acquired by the publisher and artistic patron Amos Anderson in 1924. Anderson donated Tamminiemi to the Finnish State in 1940, to serve as a presidential residence.
Although Presidents Ryti and Mannerheim resided at Tamminiemi, the villa is particularly associated with President Kekkonen - due in large part to the fact that it was his home for around thirty years. President Paasikivi preferred to use the Presidential Palace as his official residence during his presidency. Tamminiemi also has a famous sauna which president Kekkonen used to entertain his guests.
Today Tamminiemi is the Urho Kekkonen Museum. It’s closed due to renovation and will open in 2012.
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.