Narbonne Cathedral,dedicated to Saints Justus and Pastor, was the seat of the Archbishop of Narbonne until the Archbishopric was merged into the Diocese of Carcassonne under the Concordat of 1801. The church was declared a basilica minor in 1886. The building, begun in 1272, is noted for being unfinished.
The site has a long history as a place of worship. In 313, just after the Edict of Milan, a Constantinian basilica was erected on approximately the same spot as the present cathedral. Ruined by a fire in 441, it took 37 days to demolish those parts of the basilica that had escaped destruction. Then a Latin basilica was constructed by Bishop Rusticus, who was encouraged in his work by the Gaulish prefect, Marcellus. The basilica was finished on November 29, 445. Originally dedicated to Saint Genesius of Arles, it was re-dedicated in 782 to the young Spanish martyrs Saint Justus and Pastor. Little remains of this building: two Roman columns from the former forum, used in the nave, can now be seen in the present cloister; the lintel and an aedicule of white marble can now be seen in the Lapidary Museum of Narbonne.
A Carolingian cathedral was erected in 890 by Archbishop Theodard (d. 893). Its steeple, largely restored, is visible from the cloister. Yet despite the help given to it by three popes, this church fell into ruin.
The idea to build a Gothic cathedral was a political decision made in 1268 by Pope Clement IV, the former archbishop of Narbonne. He decided that it would be a monument made in the magnificent style of the Kingdom of France. The construction of the new cathedral was supposed to begin in 1264, but did not actually start until 1272. The first stone of the current cathedral was laid by Archbishop Maruin on April 13, 1272, in the foundation of the current Chapel of the Sacred Heart.
The choir was finished in 1332, but the rest of the building was never completed, as the result of many factors including sudden changes in the economic status of Narbonne, its unusual size and geographical location (to complete it would have meant demolishing the city wall) and financial constraints.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.