Sterkenburg Castle was probably built in the mid-1200s as a moated round tower house by a Gijsbert van Wulven. The castle remained in the hands of the Van Wulven family until 1456 when it came into the possession of a Wouter van Ijzendoorn through marriage. It remained in their possession for the following hundred years. During their ownership the castle was rebuilt; a square tower was added and a curtain wall was built along the edges of the castle island creating a courtyard between the 2 towers and giving the castle a polygonal shape. Also the round tower was raised with extra floors.
In 1565 Sterkenburg Castle was owned by Reinier van Aeswijn, who was married to the last female Van Ijzendoorn descendant. He allowed a garrison of State troops to be quartered at the castle to protect it and the surrounding lands from the Spanish at the beginning of the 80-Years War. His son Antonie added a gatehouse to the bailey in 1626. In 1646 he left it to his nephew. This nephew however got murdered in the castle's woods in June 1647. This murder was never solved. The following decades Sterkenburg Castle changed ownership several times due to inheritance issues after a couple of untimely deaths.
In 1725 however the castle was bought by a member of the Mamuchet family. This family didn't live in the castle and it was rented out.
In 1741 the, by then decayed, castle was obtained by a member of the Van Westrenen family. The second Van Westrenen partially rebuild the castle's south side, opening up the courtyard demolishing the square tower and replacing it with a new wing on the old foundations.
In 1829 the castle was sold at a public auction to a PA. Hinlopen and his wife. They again sold the castle in 1848 to Karel Kneppelhout. He pulled down the entire castle, with exception of the round tower, and build a new house on the foundations. The round tower was provided with large windows and in 1867 he also added a square tower to the new wing. The present form of the castle is mainly the outcome of his rebuilding.
In 1978 the castle was again sold and used for private habitation. At present the castle can be rented for cultural activities and as an B&B. The castle has its own website at: Kasteel Sterkenburg.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.