The Laval Castle (Château de Laval) foundation in the 10th century allowed the birth of the city. Emblematic monument of Laval, it occupies a rocky promontory above the Mayenne River. It is composed of two distinct ensembles: the Old Castle (Vieux-Château), which corresponds to the medieval fortified castle, and the New Castle (Château-Neuf), a Renaissance gallery transformed into a courthouse in the 19th century.
The history of the Château de Laval is closely linked to that of the House of Laval, which began with Guy I, the founder of the castle. The monument bears witness to the multiple alliances contracted by this family, as well as to its power, which grew from the 11th century until its disappearance at the end of the Renaissance. The Old Castle is remarkable for its 11th century chapel as well as for its imposing main tower, topped by a 13th century wooden hoarding, an exceptional example of medieval military architecture. The richly worked bays of the medieval dwellings, built in the early 16th century, and the gallery of the Château-Neuf, dating from the 1540s, are striking elements of the Renaissance that show the evolution of architecture at that time.
Since the relocation of the judicial services in the 2000s, the Château-Neuf has been awaiting reconversion. The Old Castle, which served as a prison from the Revolution to 1911, has been open to the public since the 1920s. Initially devoted to archaeology, natural history and decorative arts, it has been home to the Musée d'Art naïf et d'Arts singuliers de Laval since 1967. This museum presents works by numerous artists representative of Naive art and Art Singulier.References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.