Ruth's Church (Ruts Kirke) was built in the early 13th century in the Romanesque style. Situated on a hilltop 130 m above sea level, it is the island's highest-standing church. The oldest reference to the church dates from 1490 where Sancti Michelssogen (St Michael's Parish) is mentioned. The church was initially consecrated as St Michael's, possibly because of its high location. By 1621, the name had become Ruth's Church after Ruth the Moabite in the Old Testament.
The church was probably built first with a nave and chancel. The tower at the west end and the porch on the south side were added later. The chancel and the finely rounded apsis are part of the original structure. At the end of the 19th century, the north wing was added. The old tower and porch were removed a little later, the nave was lengthened by some 3 metres and a new tower was built.
Constructed in the second half of the 16th century, the bell tower in the churchyard is said to be the oldest on the island. It has not, however, been used since 1886 when the bells were transferred to the new tower at the west end of the church.
In 1908, frescoes were discovered in the late Gothic apsis vaults. Depicting the signs of the evangelists, they were restored in 1930. Next to the fresco of Matthew, the date 1559 can be seen. Also of interest is the granite Romanesque font which is almost cylindrical in shape.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.