The well-preserved fortified town of La Couvertoirade was owned by the Knights Templar, under orders from the Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie, from the twelfth century. The Templars built the fortress there during the 12th and 13th centuries; its two upper floors have since been removed. Following their dissolution in 1312, the Templars' property in the causses was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who were responsible for building the curtain wall at La Couvertoirade between 1439 and 1450.
Access is via steps cut into the rock at the church of Saint Christophe. Built in the 14th century by the Templar and then by the Hospitaler Knights, it is partly dug into the rock and its flat chevet forms part of the village ramparts. The church possesses surprising contemporary stained glass windows: the work of master glass worker Claude Baillon, they have the particularity of being figurative, which is rare for contemporary stained glass windows.
Today the village is brought to life by the artisan boutiques and old shops.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.