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:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.