The castle in small village of Bargème was constructed in the 13th century. During the Wars of religion it was in hands of Jean-Basptiste de Pontevès, Lord of Callas (1505-1579). In April 1579, the inhabitants of Callas, assisted by a resident named Jacques Sossy, a lieutenant of a Huguenot branch, broke into the castle and killed Pierre de Pontevès, then imprisoned Jean-Baptiste de Pontevès, his wife and his son Balthazar.
They locked Jean-Baptiste de Pontevès in a tower and stole his money. He was held prisoner for 45 days, and on the morning of May 24, 1579, he was taken out into the street and shot. A few months later, two of his other sons, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste, were killed in Bargème. In 1581, Balthazar de Pontevès took possession of the castle, but he was also a tyrant and violent like his father and one night, during an altercation, some men killed him in the common room of the village.
The property then passed to a younger son, Fulks of Pontevès. He, however, was accused of having been the instigator of crimes committed by a nephew and was sentenced to death. That sentence was absolved by the Privy Council of the King. It was towards the end of the 36 year period of the religious wars in France when the castle began to be demolished.
In 1818, Victorine de Pontevès-Bargème, the heir to the land and the castle ruins, married Elzéar Louis Zozime, Count and Duc de Sabran. They had no children so they decided to adopt the nephews of Victorine, Marc Edouard and Joseph Leonides de Pontevès. The castle was passed down over the years to their heirs and was kept in the family until 2008. At this point, the owners decided to put the castle up for sale and it was purchased in 2008 by the community of Bargème.
Today with its ramparts, two fortified gates, the Tower of Guard, the Porte du Levant, and the ruins of its castle, Bargème remains one of the most intact, old, feudal villages of Provence and this is what gives it its immense charm.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.