The initial structure on the site of Vigevano Cathedral was built before the year 1000 and is referred to in documents of as early as 963 and 967.
The current structure was commissioned by Duke Francesco II Sforza in c. 1530 and is dedicated to Saint Ambrose. Construction on the cathedral, designed by Antonio da Lonate (c. 1456–1541), began in 1532 but was not completed until 1612. The edifice of the cathedral was completed in 1606 and it was consecrated on 24 April 1612.
The Spanish Cardinal Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz was hired to redesign the west front of Vigevano Cathedral, work which began in 1673 and was completed c. 1680. The only architectural work known to be done by Lobkowitz, his design displays virtuosity, eclectivity, and an interesting geometrical relationship to the square which is cleverly adjusted to bring the ancient cathedral into a line perpendicular to and centered on the axis of the piazza.
The interior is designed on the Latin cross plan, with the nave containing a central aisle and two side aisles, and houses works by Macrino d'Alba, Bernardino Ferrari and others, as well as a tempera polyptych of the school of Leonardo da Vinci.
The cathedral is best known for the 'treasury' donated to it by Francesco II Sforza in 1534 which encompasses more than 100 precious objects. These, along with other items, are on display in a museum inside the cathedral known as the Museo del Tesoro del Duomo Vigevano. Of note in the collection are several Flemish tapestries, seven of which were made by tapestry makers in Brussels in 1520 in the Late Gothic International Style and five of which were woven in Oudenarde at the beginning of the 17th century. Also on exhibit are an ornate crosier in ivory, a gold-plated silver reliquary of the Lombardy school of goldsmiths from c. 1530, numerous precious corals, missals, codices and manuscripts dating from the late 15th century, and many chalices, goblets, monstrances and reliquaries in different styles and from different eras.
Also of interest is a 16th-century wall-hanging embroidered in gold which was used in Monza in 1805 for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte.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.