St. Stephen Church was built from 1605 onward at the site of an earlier church. The previous church, built in the 9th/10th centuries, had served as the cathedral for the bishop of Hvar from 1147, when the diocese was established, until 1278, when the island placed itself under the protection of the Venetian Republic and the bishopric was moved to the town of Hvar. It was severely damaged during a raid of the Ottoman admiral Uluç Ali on the island of Hvar in 1571 before he participated with his Algerian corsair fleet in the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571. Once the town had recovered from this devastation, the ruins of the old cathedral and of the adjacent episcopal palace were demolished and the construction of the new church begun in 1605.
The present church, in the style of Dalmatian Baroque, is a large three-nave basilica with a square apse, built of stone from the nearby island of Korčula which oxidizes over time and takes on a red-brown colour. It is the work of local craftsmen. The main portal in the centre of the west-facing façade, and probably the entire façade, is the work of Ivan Pomenić from Korčula who also worked on the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Hvar. The two side aisles are the work of Mark Foretić from Korčula and of the master of the Skarpa-family of Stari Grad.
The baroque façade has a semicircular gable, a large central portal and two smaller side portals, all in the style of the late Renaissance/early Baroque. Above the central portal is a rose window.
The vault of the nave is decorated with stucco which imitates Gothic ribbed vaults of the late Gothic. The church has a beautiful wooden choir and contains a number of valuable furnishings by well-known artists. The stone baptismal font of 1592 is by the architect and sculptor Tryfun Bokanić (1575 - 1609) from Pučišća on the island of Brač. The main altar is the work of the Venetian workshop of Alessandro Tremignon from 1702. In the northern aisle are a wooden crucifix from the 17th century and the black marble altar of the Holy Cross, a work of the architect and sculptor Andrea Bruttapelle (1728-1782) from 1773. In the southern aisle stand the altar of St. Anthony of Padua from the first half of the 18th century and an altar from the 19th century with the figures of Sts. Cosmas and Damian and of St. Lucy. Next to it is the most valuable work of art in the church, a triptych by the Venetian Francesco di Gerolamo de Santacroce (1516-1584) depicting St. Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome.
On the outside of the church is a stone relief of Eros, one of the rare remains from the ancient Greek polis.
The bell tower stands apart from the church. The inscription above its door indicates that it was completed in 1753. Another inscription, in Latin, states that stone blocks of the lower part of the tower were part of the city walls of the ancient Pharos, the Greek predecessor of today's Stari Grad, and that the gate to the city was at this location. In the wall on the ground floor is a relief of a Roman merchant ship, dating from the 2nd century AD.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.