Route 7– Lombardy and the Cathars

Most people believe that the epic tragedy of the Cathars was ended March 16, 1244 in Montsegur, France. In fact, for thirty years, the heretics would find shelter and they thrived on welcoming and tolerant shores of Lake Garda, protected from the walls of their final, fatal fortress: Sirmione and Desenzano.
For over a century the Cathars had spread easily on the Garda and in Lombardy, taking advantage from the hard contrast between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The latter had always shown very tolerant of heretical movements, considered thorns in the side of the Pope and his supporters, for the benefit of the imperial cause.
With the end of the imperial claims about Italy and the victory of the Guelph party, the situation changed for the heretics ... The Lord of Verona, Mastino della Scala, willing for reconciliation with the Pope in order to strengthen his power, decided to eradicate the den of heretics on the lake.
Along with the bishop former inquisitor, Fra Temidio Spongati, they let loose a little crusade against Sirmione, who could not stand up to the power of the Scala, capitulated. It was November 1276. 166 bishops and "perfects" were arrested. Others were identified later. Transferred by force in Verona, an unfair trial started for them, with a tragic end.
On 13 February 1278, in the Verona Arena , the last Cathars and the hopes of their movement were burned in a huge fire ( hundreds of them). But there is the possibility that in their passage to the Garda they have left some memory.
The "secret" of the Cathars could be hidden right between Sirmione and Desenzano