The Convent of Monterosso al Mare, property of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor of the province of Genoa, has always been a landmark both for the local community and for visitors to the Cinque Terre.
From the history of Monterosso, it is clear how the Capuchin Friars have always been part of the community and a reliable spiritual reference. The Monterosso population has always loved and respected the Convent, which, together with the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Soviore, represents a deeply intense reference point of devotion.
Local residents have always had a particular veneration for this site. It has always been held in great reverence and is greatly loved by the population.
It overlooks the Monterosso Bay and is located on the promontory that separates the ancient part of the town from the Fegina locality, which has sprung up in recent times.
The convent is visible from all parts of the Cinque Terre and is a prime attraction for tourists, thanks to its historical and artistic treasures. They are reminiscent of the 1600 building in Capuchin style, with the altar and choir in wood. Among its works of art is a 'Crucifixion', attributed to Van Dyck and 'Saint Girolamo the penitent' by Luca Cambiaso. The refectory with its vaulted ceiling features Strozzi’s 'Veronica'. The convent has maintained the characteristics typical of the time of its origins, in addition to the sublime view invites contemplation.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.