The Régence style Blumenstein manor house was built in 1725-1728 for the governor Franz Heinrich von Stäffis-Mollondin in the center of a 20 hectares terraced park. After Franz Heinrich's death in 1749 the estate passed to his son Joseph Lorenz von Stäffis-Mollondin. When Joseph died in 1758 without an heir the Stäffis-Mollondin family ended and the estate was divided between his daughters Johanna Karolina Anophe and Ludovika Franziska, their grandmother Jeanne Charlotte Cléophe and their mother Marie Jeanne Nicole. In 1797 Ludovika Franziska married Robert Fidel Carl Wallier von St. Aubin and the entire estate passed to the von St. Aubin family. In 1847 Ludovika Franziska died and Blumenstein passed to her sister in law Charlotte Glutz-Wallier von St. Aubin. About a decade later, in 1856, her sons Edmund, Ludwig and Alfred Glutz-Ruchti inherited the house. In 1861 Edmund bought out his brothers shares and became the only owner of Blumestein.
Edmund Glutz-Ruchti bequeathed Blumenstein in 1885 to his nephew Joseph Glutz-Ruchti. Over next decades Joseph modernized the old building and installed central heating which changed it from a summer residence into a home that was comfortable year round. He supported the renovations and lavish lifestyle by selling the furnishings and the lands around the estate. However, by the mid-1920s he was insolvent. When Joseph went bankrupt, Blumenstein was sold at auction. On 18 October 1928, the Basel architect HR Steuer bought the empty castle and the remaining garden for 400,000 Francs. The garden was divided into lots and sold as building land.
The main building and the land immediately around the building were purchased on 11 September 1933 by Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner for 85,000 francs. Over the following two decades Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner and his wife Lucie attempted to buy back all the furnishings and outbuildings from Blumenstein.
On 7 February 1951 the couple sold Blumenstein for CHF 180,000 along with its inventory for CHF 40,000 to the municipality of Solothurn. The Blumenstein Museum or Historical Museum of Solothurn opened on 3 May 1952. Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner's wife Lucie retained the right to reside in several rooms of the upper floor until her death in 1977.
Today the museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free and some rooms are available to rent for parties and meetings.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.