Lodi Cathedral is one of the largest churches in northern Italy. The cathedral was founded in 1158, the day on which Lodi was refounded after its destruction by the Milanese troops in 1111. The first phase of construction ended in 1163. The crypt was inaugurated with the translation of the relics of Saint Bassianus on 4 November 1163, in the presence of emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.
The second phase was carried on from 1170 to 1180, although the façade was completed only in 1284. Later, 18th century restorations altered the appearance of the building, which was however brought back to the original one in 1958–1965.
The façade, in brickwork, is asymmetrical and is in a typical Romanesque style, with the exception of the large Gothic entrance portico supported by small columns with lion sculptures at the base. Other features include the large central rose window and two Renaissance double mullioned windows, similar to those designed by the school of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo for the Certosa di Pavia. There is also a niche housing the bronze statue of Saint Bassianus, a copy of the 1284 original in gilded copper, now inside the cathedral. The massive bell tower, built in 1538–1554 to a design by Callisto Piazza, remained unfinished for military reasons.
The interior has a nave and two aisles, all cross vaulted, separated by cylindrical pilasters in brickwork. Artworks include a polyptych by Callisto Piazza depicting the Massacre of the Innocents, another polyptych by Albertino Piazza with the Virgin in Heaven and a 15th century Universal Judgement. Finally, the large apse is decorated by a mosaic executed by Aligi Sassu.
Between the church and the adjoining Bishop's Palace (Palazzo Vescovile), is a court including what remains of the 1484 cloister, designed by Giovanni Battagio and featuring brickwork columns and decorations. The complex also houses the Diocesan Museum of Holy Art.
The crypt, whose entrance features a 12th-century bas-relief, is the oldest section of the cathedral. Originally the pavement was 65 cm higher and the vaults were supported by brickwork pilasters. In its center is the altar (1856), which houses the remains of Saint Bassianus in a silver case, featuring the work of modern artists such as Giosuè Argenti and Tilio Nani. On the left of the high altar is the altar of Saint Alberto Quadrelli, bishop of Lodi from 1168 to 1173.
In the northern aisle is a 15th-century sculpture group portraying the Dead Christ.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.