Santa Maria di Castello is a church and religious complex located in the Castello hill of the city, where in the Middle Ages a bishop's fortified castle existed. The church is flanked by the large Tower of the Embriaci.
The church, in Romanesque style, was erected before 900 AD. It houses many artworks commissioned by the main noble families of Genoa, by artists such as Francesco Maria Schiaffino, Lorenzo Fasolo, Alessandro Gherardini, Giuseppe Palmieri, Francesco Boccaccino, Pier Francesco Sacchi, Bernardo Castello, Aurelio Lomi and Tommaso Orsolino. Notable are the frescoes with Stories of David and the painted majolicas from the 16th century Genoese school.
The high altar is decorated by a marble group of the 'Assumption' by Domenico Parodi (late 17th century), while the chapel to the left of the presbytery has a Santa Rosa da Lima by Domenico Piola and a marble cover by Taddeo Carlone. The fourth chapel in the left aisle has a Madonna del Rosario by the workshop of Anton Maria Maragliano, while the first chapel has a painting attributed to Giovanni Battista Paggi (early 17th century).
The baptistery has a polyptych from Lombard masters of the 15th century. The main portal is in Tuscan style (mid-15th century), and is surmounted by a Gothic lunette of the 14th century with a 'Crucifixion'.
The loggia facing the second cloister has frescoes of Saints, a Madonna and, on the first floor, an Annunciation by Giusto d'Alemagna (1451). In the upper floor has a statue of 'St. Catherina of Alexandria' and a marble tabernacle attributed to Domenico Gagini (15th century).References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.