Ansembourg Old Castle is one of the castles belonging to the Valley of the Seven Castles. Located high above the little village of Ansembourg, the medieval castle is the private residence of the current Count and Countess of Ansembourg.
The property is first mentioned in 1135 when the lord of the castle was Hubert d'Ansembourg. The fortifications were probably built in the middle of the 12th century. At the beginning of the 14th century, the south-western tower gate and the northern keep appear to have been built by Jofroit d'Ansembourg. Since the times of Jakob II de Raville-Ansembourg, the castle does not appear to have been significantly altered. The main entrance bears the date of 1565. In 1683, the castle was damaged by the French troups of Marshal de Boufflers. In the 17th century, repairs were carried out by the Bidart and the Marchant et d'Ansembourg families who built the New Castle of Ansembourg.
Today the castle is owned by Count Gaston-Gaëtan de Marchant et d'Ansembourg who moved into the property after the death of his father. At the end of 2008, the Luxembourg government acquired the family's library (around 6000 books) and were offered the family archives. Interest had grown in the collection after the Codex Mariendalensis manuscript telling the story of Yolanda of Vianden was found in 1999 by the linguist Guy Berg. The manuscript dating from the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century was especially significant as it was written in the Moselle Franconian dialect which is closely related to modern Luxembourgish.
The castle is strictly private property and is not open to visitors. Recently, the Count of Ansembourg opened a very exclusive boutique hotel, in one of the buildings surrounding the castle.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.