The Compesières Commandry is the main Commandry of the Order of Malta in the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland. The village of Compesières existed since the 12th Century and was also mentioned as the family name of the local noble family. In 1270 the Bishop of Geneva, Aymo of Menthonay, granted the village church to the Order of Saint John. They then expanded the church into a Commandery. It is likely that the oldest parts of the castle date from this period. The current castle was built in the 15th century. It was used by the Order as a hospice for pilgrims, hospital and a military saltpeter factory. In 1536, during the Protestant Reformation, the Commandry was stripped from the Order. The order returned to the castle in 1564, but it was held by the Protestant leaders of Geneva and Bern until a treaty between Geneva and Savoy returned it completely in 1598.
The order continued to hold the Commandry until the 1882, when it was transferred to the municipality of Bardonnex. In 1955, the municipality gave one of the rooms in the castle to the Order of Malta to build a museum.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.