Košljun is a tiny island in Puntarska Draga bay off the coast of Krk, facing Punat. It is approximately 300 meters in diameter and covers an area of 6.5 hectares, but is rich in vegetation. The only inhabitants are a group of Franciscan friars living in St. Mary's Monastery.
The earliest known settlement on Košljun was a Roman villa rustica belonging to a landowner of the Roman settlement on Krk. The next solid evidence of inhabitation is a written record from 1186 implying the existence of a Benedictine abbey built on its foundations. This was abandoned in 1447, and the Frankopans moved in Franciscans in their place. The present church was built by the Franciscans in 1480. The Benedictines remained on the island until the 15th century. After the death of the abbot Dominik, a Venetian priest held the title of Abbot of Košljun, and the island was abandoned.
A pair of Franciscan friars complained to the Pope that the monastery was sitting empty. At their request, the Benedictine monastery was abolished and the island of Košljun given to the Franciscans, whose monastery remains today.
By the jetty there is a statue of St. Francis with a wolf, a frequent iconographic motif for this saint. As well as the statue there is also a text written in Glagolitic over the main entrance to the monastery, 'Mir i Dobro' (peace and well-being) which is also dedicated to St. Francis. In the monastery there is an ethnographic collection including articles used by farmers and fishermen on Krk from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
There is also a permanent exhibition of church artefacts housed in the old Benedictine church from the 12th century. As well as old masters the collection also includes works by more recent Croatian artists and sculptors such as: Dulčić, Bulić, Radauš, Orlić and Kršinić. The monastery also owns a rich library of some 15,000 books which contains a Jewish Bible from the 11th century, Glagolitic sermons and Ptolemy's Atlas, printed in Venice in 1511.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.