Built in 1300, Château d’Ainay-le-Vieil is surrounded by a moat of running water. Jacques Coeur bought the château in 1435 and Charles de Bigny (ancestor of the current owners) acquired in 1467. He built the main building in the late Gothic with Italian style.
In the large living room, a fireplace, one of the most beautiful fireplaces of the Loire Valley, remains of the visit of King Louis XII and Queen Anne of Brittany. For the chapel and its unique wall paintings, Charles appealed to Bigny workshop working on the cathedral of Bourges.
Memories of the Grand Colbert, minister of Louis XIV and Colbert’s all three brothers Napoleon's generals, are also presented.
In the park is a delightful and sweet-smelling rose garden. Some of the varieties of roses which are grown here date back to the 15th century.References:
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.