Calice al Cornoviglio Castle is situated atop a hill overlooking the village. Founded in the 11th century, the first appearance in historical sources dates from 1206 when an act stated that the bishop of Luniwas to return the property of the castrum calisi (original name of the castle) to Guglielmoand Corrado Malaspina.
The castle had belonged to the Malaspina family from the 12th century on, but in the 13th century it was occupied by Gualtiero II, bishop of Luni; it was returned to its rightful owners in 1206. In the second half of the 13th century, the property of the castle was indirectly handed to the Fieschi family through the marriage between Agata Fieschi and Morello I, son of the ancestor of the Giovagallo family, already lords of Calice, Veppo and Madrignano. For political reasons, already in 1276 the Fieschis were forced to transfer many of their properties – including the castle of Calice – to the Republic of Genoa, which allowed themto stay as feudal lords.
The property of the castle was then alternatively handed from the Malaspinas to the Republic of Genoa for a certain period. In 1547, the Republic donated the fief to the Doria family and an imperial gift by Charles V confirmed their property ownership of the estate. Nevertheless, some bands connected to the Fieschi family tried an actual assault on the castle with the aim of abducting the marquise Placidia I Doria Spinola, lady of the estatein place of her husband. Anyway, the marquise and her children managed to avoid the assault by taking refuge, probably in the village of Veppo (Rocchetta di Vara), while the castle and the nearby abodes were set on fire.
Another marquise, Placidia Doria, married with amember of the Del Carretto family, who was also a descendant of the well-known admiral,would turn the structure into a residential building. In 1772, all the estates were handed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the castle became the seat of the local podestà and of the Florentine garrison; later it was handed to the Duchy of Modena.
The castle has a solid trapezoidal structure, with a circular tower at one corner. The unusual plan of the building is the result of many renovations and transfers of ownership over the centuries.
The castle has four floors: the underground floor now hosts the Museo dell’Apicoltura (Museum of beekeeping) and the Statua stele di Borseda (Borseda statue menhir); the first floorhosts the art gallery David Beghè; the second floor is the seat of the Centro di educazione ambientale (Environmental education centre), of a small museum dedicated to Pietro Rosa, of conference halls and temporary exhibitions; the third floor or attic is still to be sorted out in order to use it. Today the castle looks more like a manor house than like a building with defensive functions.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.