Church of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded at the same time as the city of České Budějovice in 1265; initial construction was completed around 1300. It is a monumental Gothic building with Baroque and Rococo additions and unique medieval fresco paintings.
In spite of numerous rebuildings of the church, convent buildings and the cloister, the exterior of the church is preserved in the early Gothic style. Lanced windows have the typical Gothic tracery- circled three-leaves, divided into two parts which are ended by rosettes. Massive supporting columns with no decoration ended in the isosceles triangle protrude to the exterior. The eastern frontage and the lanced niche with smaller window are the part of town fortifications. Seven former decorative niches, typical for the early Gothic churches are maintained on the peak.
There is placed the frog from stone under the roof. According to the legend, when the frog reaches the top of the roof the end of the world comes.
The interior of the church is preserved in former early Gothic style with small Baroque complements in the eastern part. The three-nave basilica church with the embedded transept and the southern entrance is connected by two portals to the cloister. Low aisles are divided from the nave by six pairs of columns. There is a cross vault with profiled ribs in seven bays. On the side which is opened to the nave the profile of ribs continues to the ground while on other sides ribs are ended by simple supports. On the southern wall former consoles with vegetable motives can be seen. The vault of the nave is also cross, and it is divided into ten bays and there is one with five bays above the chancel. Keystones in naves are decorated. On brackets of ribs different human heads are represented instead of vegetable motives in the nave.
There are extremely valuable murals, date back to 14th century, in the church. The unique one is the dual-mural in niche which is opposite to the southern entrance in the direction of transept: older part shows the painting of the holy Virgin, the Christ and knelt donator. On the left from the niche there is situated the biggest mural in the Czech Republic- the mural of the Saint Christopher which has almost 10 metres.
The oldest chapel is probably a gothic chapel of Margaret the Virgin. King Ottokar II of Bohemia grounded the chapel in 1267 and in 1633 earl Baltasar Marradas rebuilt the chapel as the Marian chapel. There was placed the picture of Virgin Mary of České Budějovice from the 15th century. The Gothic chorale chapel is also meant in sources. Nowadays chapels are not preserved, they broken down during the rebuilt of the monastery which started in 1885. The chapel of Saint George together with the monastery´s library were the only objects of the whole monastery which were not damaged during the fire in 1381.The Czech chapel was established on the first floor of former belfry which dates back to 15th century. The chapel is preserved but there is not public access. Nowadays smaller baroque chapel abuts to the southern wall of the church.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.