The Château d'If is a fortress located on the Île d'If, the smallest island in the Frioul archipelago, situated about 1.5 kilometres offshore from Marseille. Built in the 16th century, it later served as a prison until the end of the 19th century. The fortress was demilitarized and open to the public in 1890. It is famous for being one of the settings of Alexandre Dumas's adventure novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
The entire island is heavily fortified; high ramparts with gun platforms surmount the cliffs, which rise steeply from the surrounding ocean. Apart from the fortress, the island is uninhabited.
The 'château' is a square, three-story building 28 m long on each side, flanked by three towers with large gun embrasures. It was built from 1524-1531 on the orders of King Francis I, who, during a visit in 1516, saw the island as a strategically important location for defending the coastline from sea-based attacks.
The castle's principal military value was as a deterrent; it never had to fight off an actual attack. The closest that it came to a genuine test of strength was in July 1531, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V made preparations to attack Marseille. However, he abandoned the invasion plan.
The isolated location and dangerous offshore currents of the Château d'If made it an ideal escape-proof prison, very much like the island of Alcatraz in California in more recent times. Its use as a dumping ground for political and religious detainees soon made it one of the most feared and notorious jails in France. Over 3,500 Huguenots (French Calvinists/identifying Christians) were sent to Château d'If, as was Gaston Crémieux, a leader of the Paris Commune, who was shot there in 1871.
The island became internationally famous in the 19th century when Alexandre Dumas used it as a setting for his novel The Count of Monte Cristo, published to widespread acclaim in 1844. In the novel, the main character Edmond Dantès (a commoner who later purchases the noble title of Count) and his mentor, Abbé Faria, were both imprisoned in it. After fourteen years, Dantès makes a daring escape from the castle, becoming the first person ever to do so and survive. In reality, no one is known to have done this. The modern Château d'If maintains a roughly hewn dungeon in honour of Dantès as a tourist attraction.
As was common practice in those days, prisoners were treated differently according to their class and wealth. The poorest were placed at the bottom, being confined perhaps twenty or more to a cell in windowless dungeons under the castle. However, the wealthiest inmates were able to pay for their own private cells (or pistoles) higher up, with windows, a garderobe and a fireplace.
The château's use as a prison ceased at the end of the 19th century. It was demilitarized and opened to the public on 23 September 1890. It can be reached by boat from Marseille's old port.
Monte d"Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.
The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.
The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.
Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d"Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe.
The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.
The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.