According the legend, the Gertrudiskerk was founded the church in 654 by Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, abbess of the abbey in Nivelles. The older part of the church consisting of the towers, dates to around 1370. These were later incorporated in probably the 14th and 15th century when changes were made to the church. The current church building, completed in 1477 was designed by Evert Spoorwater. He devised a new chancel with chancel ambulatory and vaults in the ship style of the Brabantine Gothic.
In 1489 Anthonis submitted to Keldermans a design for a new church in the Late Gothic style. In spite of a constant lack of money, a new chancel and transept were realized. During the troubles of 1580 the church was plundered and thereafter used as a military warehouse. A cannonade by the French in 1747 left the church devastated. In 1750 rebuilding efforts started again, albeit with a more sober character. The church was 9 meters lower after being rebuilt.
In 1586 the church was arranged for reformed services. The new chancel and transept were completed and in 1698 were demolished. Thus only a small part remained of the second transept. Material was needed at this time for the construction of fortifications.
From 1586 to 1966 the reformed congregation had this building in possession. In 1747 the building burned down after the bombardment by the French. Rebuilding took place using Protestant funds and Protestant stones. The reformed congregation retained control through the 1950s and 1960s and people began to regret that more and more. It appeared an impossible task to maintain such a large building. In 1966 the church was transferred to the municipality so the government could restore the building.
New misfortune struck the church again in 1972 when a fire broke out. The whole interior including the 18th century pipe organ by Louis Delhaye II was lost. In the 1980s restoration started anew. In 1987, the church was again inaugurated by the bishop of Breda.
Engraving by Erasmus Quellinus and Richard Collin of the Tomb of Willem van der Rijt and Judith van Aeswyn, 1641Among the interior features are a stained glass window honoring Saint Gertrudis, two pulpits, three Flemish confessionals and an Ibach pipe organ from 1863. Also some sepulchral monuments and several ecclesiastical objects are on display.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.