Sassari Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and is the seat of the Archbishop of Sassari. It was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. The present building also includes Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical elements. Construction was finished in the 18th century.
Gothic vaults, a baroque façade and classical décor are the result of reconstruction work, while its roots are ancient and humble, linked to the origins of the city. The first mention of the church is in the Condaghe of San Pietro di Silki dating back to 1135. It was built over an early Christian building, the remains of which can be seen beneath the apse. The first reconstruction took place in the 13th century in Romanesque style: still remaining is the bell tower, standing to the left of the temple, to which a turret with a small dome was added five centuries later. In the second half of the 15th century, now upgraded to the rank of cathedral, San Nicola took on a Gothic-Catalan style. After more than two centuries, other works gave it its current appearance, which will strike you with its splendid baroque façade. It has three orders: a portico with three rounded arches with an entrance portal, three niches decorated with the statues of Sassari's martyrs Gavino, Proto and Gianuario, and a large pediment with a single niche, where there is the simulacrum of St Nicholas. At the top, there is a sculpture of God Almighty.
After crossing through the portico, which has a starred cross-vault, you will enter the single large nave, divided into two spans with eight chapels. Look up at the ribs of the vaults, following their rhythm to the junction with the transept, where you will see a Renaissance-inspired cupola. Looking further down, you will see the greater altar made of marble, in classical style (dated 1690), with Corinthian capitals. Above the altar, there is the Madonna del Bosco (Madonna of the Forest), a painting of the Sienese school (14th century). In the transept, you will notice the chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament, with a Late Baroque altar in which there is the Coena Domini, a painting dating back to the 19th century, while on the left there is the chapel named after St Anna, with the sculpture of the Mausoleum of Placido Benedetto of Savoy. Behind the altar, the apse has two areas: in one, there is a wooden 18th century choir. These are among the many treasures in the cathedral, a treasure chest of paintings and sculptures by artists from the 16th to 19th centuries.
In the centre of Sassari other places of worship stand out, like the churches of Santa Maria di Betlem and Sant'Apollinare, the oldest in the city, as well as Piazza d'Italia and Fontana di Rosello, its historical and cultural symbols and in Cavalcata Sarda and Discesa dei Candelieri, its most important festive celebrations.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.