The cathedral church of St. James the Elder is situated within the old quarter next to the city walls and in the past it could fulfil a defensive function. It was built in stages from 1380 until 1445 and finally completed in its present shape during the early 17th c. The building was erected on the rectangular plan of ceramic bricks, with nave and two aisles, hall type, without separate presbytery. Late Gothic vaulting is late 16th c. During the same time (1562-1596) the tower was added. Piotr Olszewski designed chapels flanking the tower in 1721.
The interior décor is mainly new gothic. The older elements are: in the left aisle a late Gothic triptych from early 16th c., in the right aisle the painted triptych – “Crucifixion” of 1553 in new-gothic framing. The main altar and pulpits in new-gothic style. In the baptistery chapel a Baroque 18th c. painting of the Virgin of the Rosary surrounded by St, Catherine of Siena and St. Dominique. Initially the church was a parish church of St. James the Elder, patron of the town later raised to the distinction of a joint cathedral.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.