During the High Middle Ages the area around Oberurnen was owned by Schänis Abbey and paid taxes to Säckingen Abbey. In 1264 the Habsburgs inherited the bailiwick of Glarus from the Counts of Kyburg. About two decades later, in 1288, Säckingen Abbey granted them a fief over the abbey's lands as well. To consolidate their control over Glarus, the Habsburgs built Näfels Castle and probably also built or expanded Vorburg. By about 1300 the castle was a Habsburg administrative center. In the mid-14th century it was the residence of the Austrian Habsburg Vogt Hermann von Landenberg. In 1351 Glarus rebelled against the Habsburgs and attacked and destroyed Näfels Castle. They may have also attacked Vorburg, though there are no surviving records of the this. The castle was probably expanded after the destruction of Näfels, either by the Habsburgs or Glarus. In 1369 it appears in a document when a Rudolf Stucki pledged the castle as collateral. In 1386 it was mentioned as a refuge castle and was probably not regularly inhabited. In the 15th century it was abandoned and fell into ruin. Many of the stones show evidence of a large fire in the castle, but whether it was an accident or due to an attack is unknown.

The north west wall of the tower was repaired and preserved during the 19th century. In 1940 the south ring wall was excavated and stabilized. An archeological excavation in 1970 discovered traces of an outbuilding as well as a layer of animal bones.

Castle site

The ruins sit on a hill north of the village of Oberurnen. The palas was a rectangle of 18 m × 21 m with walls that are about 2 m thick. The walls are made of roughly finished and squared limestone blocks with more carefully finished bossage stones at the corners. A newer wall connects the palas with a residential wing on the eastern side. South and west of the palas, a narrow zwinger and two ditches protected the castle. Traces of the foundations of a bridge over the north side of the inner ditch are still visible. The gatehouse was probably on the north side of the ring wall. The palas was probably built at the end of the 13th century, while the ring wall, zwinger and other out buildings are from the early 14th.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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Palazzo Colonna

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).

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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.

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Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.