The Castelfranco fort is situated on the Gottaro hill, the promontory dividing the Sciusa and Pora valleys, in a strategic location enabling the control of the coast from Caprazoppa to San Donato Cape. The building, dating back to the second half of the 14th century, underwent ups and downs: it was destroyed, reconstructed, enlarged and reduced in size again. Today it is star shaped, and stands very close to the centre of Finale at about 26 meters above sea level.
The first war between the Marquis’ Del Carretto and the Republic of Genoa broke out in the first half of the 14th century, during the conflict between Guelphs and Ghibellines. The war was won in 1341 by the Republic, which decided to build a mighty fortress – Castelfranco – with the aim of creating a bridgehead inside the possessions of the Marquis’, who repeatedly tried to conquer it. The clash did not come to an end even after the bloody war between Genoa and Finale (recorded by Gian Mario Filelfo) which brought the destruction of Borgo and of the central tower of Castelfranco in 1448. The castle suffered additional demolition in 1558 (rebellion against Alfonso II) and in 1564.
After being restored, it became the residence of Baron Beccaria, the representative of the Empire, who in 1602 handed it over to Spain. The Spaniards made Castelfranco the pivot of their defensive system: between 1652 and 1645 a powerful belt of forts and bastions (named Annunziata, San Antonio, Concezione and Mezzaluna now destroyed) was erected. Other works were carried out under the direction of engineer Beretta between 1674 and 1677, and finally the Legnì fort was built in 1681. It was a square fort with four bastions, a ditch and a covered walkway. Genoa was finally able to occupy the Finale territory in the 18th century after the Spanish War of Succession and the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). The Gavone Castle was pulled down in 1714. As for Castelfranco, only the Mezzaluna bastion and the central medieval octagonal tower of San Bartolomeo escaped destruction. Castelfranco was still a fortress in 1745, when it pushed back the attack of fourteen English ships.
In the last century it underwent many changes while under the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia it was first used as a prison and then as the infirmary of the jail. On the bulwarks facing the sea, St. Andrea and St. Pietro, the De Raimondi villas were built.
The 19th century inner constructions were demolished after World War II.The castle has belonged to the Municipality of Finale Ligure since 9th March 1938.References:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.