The Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill was built in 398 AD over the home of two Roman soldiers, John and Paul, martyred under the emperor Julian in 362. The church was thus called the Titulus Pammachii and is recorded as such in the acts of the synod held by Pope Symmachus in 499.
The church was damaged during the sack by Alaric I (410) and because of an earthquake (442), restored by Pope Paschal I (824), sacked again by the Normans (1084), and again restored, with the addition of a monastery and a bell tower.
The church has three naves, with pillars joined to the original columns. The altar is built over a bath, which holds the remains of the two martyrs. The apse is frescoed with Christ in Glory (1588) by Cristoforo Roncalli. Below this fresco are three paintings: a Martyrdom of St John, a Martyrdom of St Paul, and the Conversion of Terenziano (1726) by Giovanni Domenico Piastrini, Giacomo Triga, and Pietro Andrea Barbieri.
During excavations performed in the 19th century, a series of Ancient Roman rooms were discovered under the nave of the church. Some of these rooms date back to the first and fourth centuries AD. In one room an elegant third-century AD fresco depicting Proserpine and other divinities among cherubs in a boat can be found, as can traces of another marine fresco and mosaics in the window arches.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.