Catharism was an important spiritual power of Christianity.
It was spread throughout Europe in the twelfth century, but quickly condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church. 
To eliminate this religious movement the Church used, without scruple, the so-called Court of the 'Inquisition run by a religious order, the Dominicans, 
to refute the charge of Cathar doctrines. 

It was even organized a crusade against Catharism, which resulted in many bloody massacres in the south of France and Italy.
The origin of the name Cathars is greek (Catharsi, purification); members of this religious movement considered themselves The Pures.

Pure of heart as representatives of a free love, unconditional, separated from material world, in direct contact with God.

For Cathars the only sacrament recognized was the Consolamentum, a kind of baptism transmitted by the laying on of hands, through which the consulate received direct connection with The  Holy Spirit.

It seems that the followers of Catharism had the gift of healing, thanks to their knowledge of herbal medicine. Due to their ideas and their conduct they were really appreciated by the people, consequently accused of magic and harshly persecuted by the Inquisition.

Many consider the massacre of Montsegur (France), in 1244, the end of the Cathars’ epic tragedy.
In fact, for thirty years they found refuge in the welcoming and tolerant shores of Garda Lake, protected by   
the benevolent town of Sirmione.

The lake was crucial for the existence of this religious people because, according to their doctrine, they could not eat the food originated from reproductive activity, such as meat, eggs, milk, etc. But in the Middle Ages it was not known that fish reproduce themselves by coupling, 
then these animalswere considered a safe food.

Moreover, they were the main food of people living on the banks of the lake and this allowed the Cathars to go unnoticed.

In Desenzano there was a Cathar Church with more than five hundred "perfecti", one of the most importants in Italy and Europe. They practiced the doctrine of "absolute dualism" (according to which God and the material world are distinct and opposite subjects), in marked contrast to the religious propaganda perpetrated by the Catholic Church.


On November, 11, 1276 the last 166 Cathars, escaped 
from the massacres all over Europe and refugees in Sirmione, were arrested with a military expedition, led by 
the captain of the people of Mantua and Alberto della Scala, 
both of them committed to obtain papal favors.

The prisoners, considered heretical and subversive by the Church, were brought to Verona where, on February 13, 1278, were publicly burned alive in a huge human bonfire in the arena of the city.

But are we really sure that the Church has captured and killed all the Cathars?
This story reminds us that one of the Templar Knights.

Some might still live peacefully .... 
Here on the shores of the picturesque Garda Lake, 
protected by ancient ramparts of the fortress, 
in the snug town of Sirmione ...


On the tip of Sirmione’s peninsula we see the famous 
"Grotte di Catullo".

They are the remains of the largest Roman villa unearthed in Northern Italy, built in the first century BC and the first century AD,  surrounded by a large olive grove.

According to tradition, this beautiful villa was 
the house where lived the Latin poet Catullus.

In fact, the great author belonged to the Valeri’s family of Verona which definitely had a villa in this area, 
but there is no evidence that this was really his home.

Anyway, whoever had lived here, in any age, was certainly inspired and surrounded by a beautiful landscape, 
on the shores of Garda Lake.


 serves ten
600 g of pearl barley
100 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 chopped shallots
500 g of cleaned pumpk cut into little cubes
100 g of butter
2.5 liters of vegetable broth
ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

Peel and finely chop the shallot.
Clean the pumpkin and cut into little cubes.
Brown the shallots with a little butter, add the pumpkin and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the barley and broth, then cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, stirring often.
Add remaining butter and Parmesan cheese.
Serve the dish covered with a ‘bit of ground cinnamon.


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Beautiful photos, thank you, that was enjoyable, especially the delicious dish of pumpkin and barley :)

Boston Hotel Rooms said...

I respect the culture, as it is intrude with the spirituality and fresh theme of the culture. The pictures are dam beautiful, which clearly shows that place is divine.

Connie Romano said...

Thanks. Well, you could try to prepare this dish.....and let me know if you like it. :-)

Connie Romano said...

Thanks very much. I hope you'll follow my next posts.....I'll show you places out of stereotypes of your tourist operators :-)
Italy is more.....

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