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 famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.