The collegiate church of Saint-Mexme was the main religious building in Chinon up to the Revolution. It was originally built in the 5th century on the site of a monastery founded by Saint Mexme, a disciple of Saint Martin. The building was entirely rebuilt, enlarged and embellished between the 10th and 15th centuries, and became a major pilgrimage site. The building was deconsecrated following the Revolution and was left abandoned; in 1817 the transept bell tower collapsed, taking with it the east side of the building. The remaining parts (the west block and central nave) were converted into a school.
The school moved out at the beginning of the 1980s and major work was carried out to restore the original character of the building. Numerous fragments of wall paintings from the 11th to the 15th century were discovered. The church is only open for guided visits organized by the “Ville d’art et d’histoire” department.References:
Soave castle was built in 934 to protect the area against the Hungarian invasions. It was remodelled by Cansignorio of the Scaliger family in the mid-1300s. in 1365 Cansignorio had the town walls erected and the Town hall was built in the same year.
The castle underwent various vicissitudes until, having lost its strategic importance, it was sold on the private market in 1596. In 1830 it was inherited by Giulio Camuzzoni who restored the manor and in particular the surroundings walls (with is twenty-four towers), the battlements and living-quarters.
Soave castle is a typical medieval military edifice, commanding the neighbourhood of the city from the Tenda Hill. It comprises a mastio (donjon) and three lines of walls forming three courts of different size. The outer line, with a gate and a draw bridge, is the most recent, built by the Venetians in the 15th century. It houses the remains of a small church from the 10th century.
The second and larger court, the first of the original castle, is called della Madonna for a fresco portraying St. Mary (1321). Another fresco is visible after the door leading to the inner court, and portrays a Scaliger soldier. The mastio is the most impressive feature of the castle. Bones found within showed it was used also as prison and place of torture.
The House called del Capitano (the Scaliger commander) houses Roman coins, weapons parts, medals and other ancient remains found during the most recent restoration. Adjacent is a bedroom with a 13th-century fresco with St. Mary and Madeleine and a dining room with medieval kitchenware. Another room houses the portraits of the most famous Scaliger figures: Mastino I, Cangrande, Cansignorio and Taddea da Carrara, wife of Mastino II; the portrait of Dante Alighieri testify an alleged sojourn of the poet in the castle.