St. Stephen Church was built from 1605 onward at the site of an earlier church. The previous church, built in the 9th/10th centuries, had served as the cathedral for the bishop of Hvar from 1147, when the diocese was established, until 1278, when the island placed itself under the protection of the Venetian Republic and the bishopric was moved to the town of Hvar. It was severely damaged during a raid of the Ottoman admiral Uluç Ali on the island of Hvar in 1571 before he participated with his Algerian corsair fleet in the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571. Once the town had recovered from this devastation, the ruins of the old cathedral and of the adjacent episcopal palace were demolished and the construction of the new church begun in 1605.
The present church, in the style of Dalmatian Baroque, is a large three-nave basilica with a square apse, built of stone from the nearby island of Korčula which oxidizes over time and takes on a red-brown colour. It is the work of local craftsmen. The main portal in the centre of the west-facing façade, and probably the entire façade, is the work of Ivan Pomenić from Korčula who also worked on the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Hvar. The two side aisles are the work of Mark Foretić from Korčula and of the master of the Skarpa-family of Stari Grad.
The baroque façade has a semicircular gable, a large central portal and two smaller side portals, all in the style of the late Renaissance/early Baroque. Above the central portal is a rose window.
The vault of the nave is decorated with stucco which imitates Gothic ribbed vaults of the late Gothic. The church has a beautiful wooden choir and contains a number of valuable furnishings by well-known artists. The stone baptismal font of 1592 is by the architect and sculptor Tryfun Bokanić (1575 - 1609) from Pučišća on the island of Brač. The main altar is the work of the Venetian workshop of Alessandro Tremignon from 1702. In the northern aisle are a wooden crucifix from the 17th century and the black marble altar of the Holy Cross, a work of the architect and sculptor Andrea Bruttapelle (1728-1782) from 1773. In the southern aisle stand the altar of St. Anthony of Padua from the first half of the 18th century and an altar from the 19th century with the figures of Sts. Cosmas and Damian and of St. Lucy. Next to it is the most valuable work of art in the church, a triptych by the Venetian Francesco di Gerolamo de Santacroce (1516-1584) depicting St. Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome.
On the outside of the church is a stone relief of Eros, one of the rare remains from the ancient Greek polis.
The bell tower stands apart from the church. The inscription above its door indicates that it was completed in 1753. Another inscription, in Latin, states that stone blocks of the lower part of the tower were part of the city walls of the ancient Pharos, the Greek predecessor of today's Stari Grad, and that the gate to the city was at this location. In the wall on the ground floor is a relief of a Roman merchant ship, dating from the 2nd century AD.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.