The Visconti Castle is a castle of Middle Age origin located in Cassano d'Adda. It received the current form in the 14th century, when Bernabò Visconti, lord of Milan, enlarged the existing fortification as part of a defensive system of the Visconti dominions on the Adda river. At the end of the 20th century, after a period of abandonment, it was restored and transformed into a hotel.
A castle in the area is supposed to have existed since the carolingean time. Near the castle, on 27 September 1259, the Battle of Cassano was fought between the two Milanese factions supporting Ezzelino da Romano and Martino Della Torre. The battle ended with the defeat of Ezzelino and the confirmation of the Della Torre family as lords of Milan.
The castle was acquired by the Visconti house after their victory over the Della Torre in the fight for the lordship of Milan. In 1355, it was assigned to Bernabò within the division among him and his brothers Matteo II and Galeazzo II. Between 1355 e 1370, Bernabò, who had received the eastern portion of the Visconti territories, built a defensive line along the Adda river. As part of it, the existing fortification of Cassano d'Adda was strengthened and enlarged.
In the 15th century, Francesco Sforza consolidated the castle with the imposing buttresses, elevated over the Muzza canal, which today characterise the castle.
In the following centuries, lost its military importance, the castle was used for different purposes: warehouse, prison and recovery for homeless people. In the 20th century, restoration works were undertaken, bringing back the castle to its original features. During these works, Middle Age frescos were discovered on the walls and on the vaulted ceilings and accordingly preserved.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.