The history of Mälsåker palace stretches back to the Middle Ages when it probably was a simple stone house. During Sweden’s period as a great power in Europe in the 17th century the palace was owned by the Soop family. The famous architect Nikodemus Tessin was engaged to alter the building into one of the grandest baroque palaces in Sweden. The house was extended, wings and a terrace with stairs facing the see were added in 1660-1670s. During the 18th century the interiors were partly changed into the rococo style. At the end of the 19th century the house was modernized with electricity, water and central heating.
The 1940s turned out to be the most dramatic decennium for Mälsåker. Between 1943-1945 Mälsåker was owned by the State of Norway and used for training of approximately 2,000 soldiers living in hutments. The palace was used as an office and accommodation for officers and commands. A very cold day in January 1945 all fireplaces in the palace are used, which causes the chimney shaft to crack, the roof catches fire and the catastrophe is a fact. The roof fell in and the richly ornamented stucco ceilings on the third floor were destroyed. A great deal of the noble baroque palace had turned into a ruin.
In the 1990s Mälsåker started to regain its former glory. A building workshop was established and parts of the palace were restored using old building techniques and traditional materials. Stucco ceilings were re-created as was the beautiful patterned wooden floors.
Since 2007 an association is responsible for making the palace available for visitors. During summertime the palace is open for individual visitors as well as for pre-booked group visits. In the palace you will find an exhibition from the “Norway-era”, an exhibition from the period around 1900 and also several artists showing their work in the beautiful rooms. You are welcome to have some refreshments in the newly established café- and exhibition building, located just next to the palace with an astonishing view of the lake.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.