Founded in 1143 on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, Lübeck was from 1230 to 1535 one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic League, a league of merchant cities which came to hold a monopoly over the trade of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The plan of the Old Town island of Lübeck, with its blade-like outline determined by two parallel routes of traffic running along the crest of the island, dates back to the beginnings of the city and attests to its expansion as a commercial centre of Northern Europe. To the west, the richest quarters with the trading houses and the homes of the rich merchants are located, and to the east, small commerces and artisans. The very strict socio-economic organization emerges through the singular disposition of the Buden, small workshops set in the back courtyards of the rich hares, to which access was provided through a narrow network of alleyways (Gänge).
Lübeck has remained an urban monument characteristic of a significant historical structure even though the city was severely damaged during the Second World War. Almost 20% of it were destroyed, including the most famous monumental complexes- the Cathedral of Lübeck, the churches of St Peter and St Mary and especially the Gründungsviertel, the hilltop quarter where the gabled houses of the rich merchants clustered. Selective reconstruction has permitted the replacement of the most important churches and monuments.
Omitting the zones that have been entirely reconstructed, the World Heritage site includes three areas of significance in the history of Lübeck. The first area extends from the Burgkloster in the north to the quarter of St Aegidien in the south. The Burgkloster, a Dominican convent built in fulfilment of a vow made at the battle of Bornhöved (1227), contains the original foundations of the castle built by Count Adolf von Schauenburg on the Buku isthmus. The Koberg site preserves an entire late 18th-century neighbourhood built around a public square bordered by two important monuments, the Jakobi Church and the Heilig-Geist-Hospital. The sections between the Glockengiesserstrasse and the Aegidienstrasse retain their original layout and contain a remarkable number of medieval structures.
Between the two large churches that mark its boundaries - the Petri Church to the north and the Cathedral to the south - the second area includes rows of superb Patrician residences from the 15th and 16th centuries. The enclave on the left bank of the Trave, with its salt storehouses and the Holstentor, reinforces the monumental aspect of an area that was entirely renovated at the height of the Hansa epoch (about 1250 to 1400), when Lübeck dominated trade in Northern Europe.
Located at the heart of the medieval city, the third area around St Mary’s Church, the Town Hall, and the Market Square bear the tragic scars of the heavy bombing suffered during the Second World War.
Lübeck city centre has been an UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.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.