The Abbey of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan was a Benedictine abbey in the commune of Saint-Savin and one of the most important religious centres in the County of Bigorre. The abbey dates at least from the 10th century, and it was built by order of Charlemagne on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman fortress. In 841, the abbey was looted and burnt by the Normans, and previously by the Saracens.
In 945, Count Raymond I of Bigorre gave the abbey a generous endowment consisting of a territory known as the Pascal de Saint-Savin, which was made of the eight villages. The church of Saint-Jean-de-Saint-Savin became their communal church.
In 1080 the abbey was united to the Abbey of St. Victor, Marseille. In 1130 Bernard d'Arcizas and Centule II, Count of Bigorre, confronted the abbot and the inhabitants of the Val d'Azun over a burial. Queen Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) took refuge in the abbey from a flood. From the thirteenth century, the abbey still controlled the territory of seven villages.
From the 16th century the abbey suffered due to the destruction associated with the French Wars of Religion and relaxed its discipline, although there were attempts to restore it in the 17th century by the monks of the Congregation of St. Maur.
Only three monks remained living in the abbey in 1790. In the following year, the church and the monastic buildings were converted for the use of the parish. Part of the abbey was sold for a stone quarry and the chapter house became a stable. In 1854, a strong earthquake caused further destructions. Prosper Mérimée took charge of its restoration in 1855.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.