Samobor Castle was built on a hill above the crossroads of then important routes in the northwestern corner of the Sava valley, above the medieval market town of Samobor. The castle was erected by the supporters of Czech king, Ottokar II of Bohemia, between 1260 and 1264, who was then in a war with Hungarian king Stephen V. Croatian-Hungarian forces under command of duke of Okić soon retook the castle, for which he was granted the city of Samobor, as well as the privilege to collect local taxes.
The fortification was originally a stone fortress built on solid rock - in an irregular and indented layout, which consists of three parts, out of which the central core represents the oldest part of the castle. In the southeastern part of the core there was a high guard tower (nowadays in ruins), which is the only remaining original part of Ottokar castle. Just next to the guard tower lies a semicircular tower with a small gothic chapel of St. Ana which is estimated to be built in third decade of the 16th century.
In the third decade of the 16th century, reshaping of a castle begint which was done by a gradual expansion of the core towards the north. The fortification thus became an elongated trapezoidal courtyard surrounded by a strong defensive wall and with a pentagonal tower on its ends. Throughout 17th and 18th century, the castle was upgraded and reconstructed. The last building inside the fortress was a three-storey house on its southern side, which along with castle's upper parts forms a courtyard. Its facades are divided by Tuscan columned porches, and its interior is rich with the equipment. This move transformed a castle from its original fortificational function into a countryside baroque styled castle. Last residents left the castle in the end of the 18th century, which triggered the gradual castle's decadence into a shape that it is today.
Nowadays, Samobor Castle is just a picturesque ruin above Vugrinščak creek in Samobor city centre. Even though a project of castle restoration exists, only the chapel walls were renovated so far. In its restoration, the stones of the ruined castle parts, cement and slaked lime were used.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.