In mid-14th century, the owner of Koźmin, upon royal conferment, was Maćko Borkowic, Voivode of Poznań, famous for his wealth and robberies, whom King Casimir the Great ordered to be starved to death, on account of his numerous crimes. His brother Jan of the Nałęcz family took over the property after him; since mid-14th century, accounts mention a certain Bartosz Wezenborg, son of Peregryn, to whom erection in Koźmin around the year 1360 of a new mediaeval fortified castle edifice is ascribed.
Built of bricks around mid-14th century, the castle was quadrilateral-shaped, close to square-shaped. The inner yard was surrounded by high-rising walls on three sides; on the fourth, it was closed up with a two-storey single-tract residential building founded on a quasi-L-shaped projection and covered with a tall roof. The ramparts’ angles were reinforced by powerful buttresses; to the east, where the town was situated, a quadrate gate tower was situated, with a bridge crossing the moat surrounding the castle.
Around 1470, the property was purchased by the Gruszczyńskis of the coat-of-arms Poraj; the family’s line settled down in Koźmin started naming themselves Koźmiński soon after. It was on their initiative that, still in 15th century, the castle was reconstructed and redeveloped, a project that was mainly due – it is believed – to the changes having taken place in that period in the fortification system, which themselves were caused by the invention of firearms.
The building survived in such form to mid-16th century when it was transferred to the Górka family of the coat-of-arms Łodzia. The rebuilding exercise managed by this family has altered the castle’s shaping, giving it certain features of modern-era residence.
It was only after the estate was taken over in 1701 by the Sapieha family, who lasted in Koźmin by the end of 18th century, its developments gained a uniformed character, the façades being given a baroque décor.
In one of the inner yard’s corners, a tower containing a stairwell was built; also, the interiors were reconstructed, gaining a more representative character. The scale of the project then undertaken can be testified to by the theatre room arranged by the Sapiehas on the premises, or the fountain, once in operation at the yard, as historic records tell us. The castle as pictured in a panorama of the town from 1772 shows an impressive edifice whose solid is dense and consists of three two-storied wings, forming an U-like shape to frame the inner yard with a turret and a tremendous corner donjon.
In 1904, the estate came to the hands of the so-called Colonisation Committee. The buildings were henceforth to serve schooling purposes – as they have been doing to date.
The castle is presently home to Post-Junior-High Schools and the Museum of the Koźmin Land.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.