Vysotsky Monastery is a walled Russian Orthodox monastery founded in the 1370s by Vladimir the Bold. It served for a long time as a border fortress defending the southern approaches to Moscow from the Tatars. The first hegumen, Afanasy the Elder, was a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, whose successor, St. Nikon of Radonezh, is believed to have been tonsured a monk in this monastery.
After the Russo–Crimean War (1571) the badly damaged monastery was restored on a grander scale. The five-domed Cathedral of the Conception dates from that building campaign, financed byIvan the Terrible. The cathedral was almost certainly preceded by a medieval limestone church of which little is known.
In the mid-17th century the monastery was fortified with stone walls and four corner towers. It rivalled the Vladychny Monastery as the most important shrine of Serpukhov and welcomed rich patrons wishing to be buried within the monastery walls. Among those buried there are Gavrila Golovkin, the Chancellor of Peter the Great, and Fyodor Soimonov, the Governor of Siberia. The Neoclassical belfry was completed in the 1840s.
The monastery celebrated its 500th anniversary with the construction of the All Saints church, designed by Roman Klein in a fashionable Neo-Byzantine style. The church was destroyed after the Russian Revolution, when the monastery was given over to the Latvian Riflemen to be used as barracks. By the end of the Soviet period the monastery had lost most of its walls and was very dilapidated.
Restoration work on one of the greatest monasteries of the Moscow region started immediately after its return to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991. Repairs were made in the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, dating from the 17th century and containing an icon screen and royal doors from the 16th century. Reconstruction of the missing sections of the wall is in prospect.
The modern monastery derives its prosperity from the venerated copy of the icon of the Inexhaustible Chalice, which attracts hundreds of pilgrims from all over Russia and abroad. The icon is said to be particularly effective in the treatment of alcoholism.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.