Lousonna was a Gallo-Roman port during Roman times. The port town was important for commerce with links on Lake Geneva to Roman towns such as the present-day Geneva, Nyon, and Villeneuve.
However, during Roman times, Lausanne was never of political or military importance. Although borders shifted, Lausanne was mostly a backwater at the southern most parts of Germania, ruled from Mainz. Political and military power in the region was concentrated in Avenches and Yverdon-les-Bains.
From the fourth century onwards, Lausanne gradually moved uphill to higher grounds with the Roman port town eventually abandoned. Today, the Roman ruins are some way from the lakeshore, as the level of Lake Geneva was permanently lowered during the nineteenth century. The immediate area is used for various sport facilities and a great area for outdoor activities and strolls along the shores of the lake.
The Musée Romain in Lausanne-Vidy is a fairly small museum on Roman history. The ground floor of the museum, which is built over the foundations of a Roman villa, is used for temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions can cover much more than just the Roman era. As this area is half the museum, the theme and quality of the display very much influence whether the museum is worth visiting at all. Fortunately, the displays are generally excellent and manage to link historic themes well with the present day.
A short walk from the Roman Museum – pass underneath the highway towards the lake – is the Lausanne Roman Archaeological Park. Here many Roman foundations have been uncovered. Visitors can freely explore the archaeological park. Information tables explain the Roman town layout and buildings. The temple was a good 71 m long but the antique port wall is probably the more impressive.References:
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.