The history of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is closely linked to the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary, which, according to oral tradition, was built when a Byzantine icon of the Virgin was brought to Positano and venerated in our church thereafter.
The abbey allegedly dates back to the second half of the 10h century. It was mentioned for the first time in a manuscript of the late 11th century.
The years of commendatory abbots was mostly negative for our church. Its architectural traces were almost totally lost, while the church started to fall into decay, in spite of continuous reproaches by Amalfi archbishops and a thorough rebuilding at the beginning of the 17th century. The last commendatory abbot, Liborio Manna from Naples, was deprived of his power by the local clergy, which, in 1777, started restoring the church. The works lasted about five years.
The interior has a nave and two aisles, with five arches, corresponding, along the aisles, to five chapels on each side. When approaching the high altar from the entry, we may admire the chapels of St. Blaise, of the Immaculate Conception, of St. Anthony and St. Anne on the right. The altar of the Circumcision is on the right end, with a valuable painting by Fabrizio Santafede (1599). The chapel of St. Steven, on the right of the high altar, houses the wooden statue of Our Lady with Infant Christ. Above the high altar a small temple opens up with a recently restored Byzantine icon. On the apse sides, the walnut chorus features two niches, lodging Our Lady of Sorrows on the right and a valuable Christ at the column by Michele Trilocco (1798) on the left.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.