The famous castle of Sirmione, which dates back to the Scaliger Lords of Verona, and its small port (still perfectly preserved) are an uncommon example of a fortress used as a port. The dungeon tower was erected in the thirteenth century by Mastino I Della Scala. The massive fortress is 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 marvelous view of the harbor 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. Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defense and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the sixteenth century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda. Venice included Sirmione in its Republic in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbor.