The Torre Cabrera was originally built in the 15th century, and was enlarged and rebuilt in the following centuries. Today, it is in good condition and it is open to the public as a museum.
In the 15th century, the site of Pozzallo had natural springs known as 'Pozzofeto' and 'Senia', which were marked on nautical charts and were well known among sailors. When the Chiaramontes, Counts of Modica built a warehouse complex containing docks and ramps for the loading of goods on ships, it became necessary to construct fortifications in order to defend the area. In the early 15th century, King Alfonso V of Aragon authorized Count Giovanni Bernardo Cabrera to construct a tower which bore his name. The coat of arms of the House of Cabrera is sculpted inside the tower.
The tower became an impressive structure and it had great military importance, since it was used to defend Pozzallo from attacks by pirates. The tower was garrisoned by soldiers and gunners, and guns of different calibers were placed on its terraces. Captured pirates or other criminals were executed at the tower by being placed in a room on the rocks and being drowned by the high tide.
The tower was modified and enlarged in the first half of the 16th century, during the reign of Emperor Charles V.
The tower collapsed during the 1693 Sicily earthquake. It was rebuilt, although some modifications were made to its original design.
Today, the tower is in good condition, and it is now open to the public as the Museo della torre Cabrera. The building is a national monument, and it is depicted on the coat of arms of Pozzallo. Some of its windows have been rebuilt in their original style.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.