Chignolo Po Castle is a beautiful eighteenth-century patrician residence, museum of art and customs, called 'the Versailles of Lombardy'. It contains important and precious testimonies of the lavish world of Lombard and Venetian nobility.
The oldest part of the castle, born as a fortress on a hill, is the great Tower, from which a long stretch of the Po (Cuneulus super Padum). It is believed that it was built by the King Liutprando around 740 AD, when Pavia was the capital of the gods Longobardi, with the purpose of serving as a defense fortress and a garrison on the Po and on the Via di Monte Bordone, subsequently named via Francigena - Romea that connected Northern Europe with Rome.
In front of the fort, towards the north, stands the Borgo, which was entirely rebuilt in the 1600. It is characterized as an architectural complex protected at the entrance by a moat, by two garries, and by four ravels (towers) on the far sides.
The castle, in a short time, starting from the XIII century, became one of the greatest Feudi Lombardi, on which i first settled Pusterla, until, in the 1340, this family was involved in an anti-viscosity and fiercely exterminated conspiracy.Then came in Federici and Cusani, which increased to the maximum the power of the Castle, also receiving continuous privileges and concessions from the Kings and Dukes of Milan.
From 1700 to 1730 it was expanded and transformed from a medieval fortress into a real one 18thcentury palace where they stayed Popes, Emperors, Kings, Princes and Archdukes.
Tiepolesque school artists were entrusted with the realization of the stuccos and paintings that embellish the halls of representation of the Castle.The work was carried out by the will and financing of the owner of the time, the Cardinal Agostino Cusani Visconti (1655 - 1715), who was Ambassador of the Pope to the Venetian Republic and to the Court of Louis XIV in Paris, as well as the Bishop of Pavia.
The spectacular baroque courtyard, the large frescoed halls of Tiepolesque school, the refinement of the stuccos and decorations, the dominant tower with its masurized turreted stone, all immersed in a gentle rural landscape, make this monument one of the most important Italian historical residences.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.