A church at the site of current San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica was likely erected sometime in the 4th century. There are a number of founding legends for the church. One is that emperor Constantine Ifounded the church in gratitude for the rescue of his daughter Costanza from a shipwreck. It may have been built or introduced into a pre-existing pagan temple dedicated to the cult of Hercules or Hadrian. One of the stones in the architrave is dated to 324. The church underwent numerous reconstructions, including in the 6th century. It was likely made into a Byzantine-style basilica during the era of Belisarius.
After an earthquake in 1635, the last reconstruction in 1656 led to the Baroque building by Dionisio Lazzari seen today. He designed the present cupola, completed in 1685. Further earthquakes in 1732 and 1805 required more reconstructions.
The 1870 earthquake devastated the church and knocked down the roof. For the restoration, Gennaro Aspreno Galante was unable reconstruct the former details. Almost razed in 1872, the local canon Giuseppe Perrella commissioned a neoclassical reconstruction, completed in 1887, from engineer George Tomlinson, with help by Errico Alvino and Federico Travaglini. A hundred years later, the roof again caved down, closing the church again for 42 years, until a restoration in 1978 unveiled the early-Christian apse, below the wooden choir dating from the 17th century. The church was long closed for restoration and architectural studies.
The imposing main altar, damaged over the years, was built in 1743 by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. Behind the apse is visible the ancient church apse.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.