The Church of Santa Maria represents the heart of the traditions of Sassari. On August 14th, after a long and exhausting procession carrying huge decorated wooden pillars representing candles, members of the Gremi (Guilds) enter the church proudly, with their votive candles. A religious observance since the Middle Ages, this is the festival of the Candlesticks, which fulfills a promise made to the Virgin Mary of the Assumption for having saved the city from the plague.
The simple facade of the structure on the outside hides the magnificent art and historical richness that lies inside the Church. Founded in the Roman Age, with the arrival of Franciscan monks during the thirteenth century it was extended, adapting it to the new Gothic Cistercian canons typical of the area around Tuscany and Umbria. After the Aragonese conquest, the nave and on the short transept of the church was enlarged and a series of little side chapels were added. The construction of a new dome led to the transformation of the church in the first half of the nineteenth century. The monastery complex was built a couple of years later and filled with exquisite architectural and decorative elements, still visible today. It's impossible to ignore the fourteenth century polychrome Catalan wooden statue of the Virgin of Bethlehem, also called Virgin of the Rose.
From the sacristy you can access the cloister, dating from the thirteenth century, in which you can admire the fountain known as the Brigliadore.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".