The Château de Blandy-les-Tours was mentioned first time in 1216. It belonged to Adam II de Chailly, Viscount of Melun and consisted of a simple manor. The chapel was originally only stone building. In the 14th century, the castle was strongly modified with new fortifications: a moat was dug and a new gate-tower with a drawbridge was included in the enclosing wall. The kings Charles V (1364 - 1380) and Charles VI (1380 - 1422) financed the transformation into a castle for the successive owners of the castle, the counts de Tancarville Jean II and his grandson Guillaume IV. A high keep, defended by two drawbridges, was built. The curtain wall was modified by the addition of new towers. All these modifications took place during the Hundred Years' War.
However, the castle of Blandy-les-Tours was rebuilt in the 16th century by François II of Orleans. The castle consequently became a residence. The princess of Cleves married there in 1572 in the presence of the future Henry IV. But, the castle often changed owner and worsened gradually with various dwellings inside the enclosure.
After the 17th century restorations, the marshal de Villars, owner of the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, bought the land and the castle of Blandy. He decided to dismantle it and transformed it into a farm. The roofs were taken from the towers, the parapets were destroyed and the large gatehouse was dismantled.
In 1764, the castle was resold to the duke of Choiseul-Praslin, minister of Louis XV. In 1888, Pierre-Charles Tuot, the mayor of Blandy-les-Tours, bought it and gave it to the municipality, no building remains in the ruined enclosure. It became a Monument historique in 1889. In the 1970s, volunteer associations began the first works to restore the castle.
The keep of the castle is built as part of a hexagonal enclosure, around the castle chapel. It stands 35 m high inside a polygonal enclosure of 14th century round towers. In the courtyard are the remains of the Merovingian crypt. The castle of Blandy is a typical example of a 13th-century feudal fortress, later transformed into a great lordly residence in the style of the late 14th century. The enclosure holds 6 towers.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.