The Morosini-Grimani Castle is a medieval edifice with expressed Renaissance features. It was named after the two families, its owners.
Svetvinčenat was erected on the border which changed through history with the exchange of conquerors. It was first mentioned in 983 in the document by Oton II as the property of the Bishop of Poreč. Its ownership was first taken over by the Castropola family, and then by the Morosini family in 1384. Pietro Morosini was last mentioned as the master of Svetvinčenat in 1529. The new owners, the Grimani family, were being mentioned in the written documents since 1560. The Grimanis renovated the castle after the fire.
The castle is shaped as a square. There are two round towers on the corners of its northern walls, while a square tower is located on the southeast wall. The southeast part was used as the residential area. The entire palace was located within the defensive walls. The main entrance into the Marosini-Grimani castle is at the south facade, which used to be accessed by a drawbridge. Above the entrance are plates noting the year of the construction (1485) and the renovation (1589).
The Morosini family completed the renovation of the castle in the 15th century, which marked the transformation of the location into a Renaissance settlement with the square and the cistern in the centre, surrounded by the castle, the parish church and the loggia as well as by other public buildings. As the oldest structure on the square, the castle was constructed in the 3:5 ratio. The newly designed square, the Renaissance church as well as the entire urban network of the town were also designed accordingly. Therefore, the Morosini-Grimani castle represents a form of the late medieval construction with expressed Renaissance characteristics.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).