The Château du Plessis-Josso is a fortified 14th century manor house. It is open for tours during the summer, and offers its main hall for hosting events and marriages as well as a small country cottage outside the enclosing walls.
Well-preserved and partially inhabited, the manor-house stands next to a large pond. This feudal Breton ensemble still has its fortified enceinte with towers and crenellated walls that protected it from the armed gangs and pillagers who were operating in the region during the Hundred Years' War and later during the Wars of Religion of the 16th century.
Built around 1330 by Sylvestre Josso, squire of the Duke Jean III during the turbulent period of the Breton War of Succession in the 14th century, it passed next by a powerful alliance to the Rosmadec family and served as a residence for dignitaries such as a bishop, sénéchaux and the governors of various Breton towns. In the late 18th century it became the property of the Le Mintier de Léhélec family who still live there today.
Plessis-Josso, like all 15th century manors in Brittany, had especially an agricultural function as the head of a domaine of 1,500 hectares spread over several parishes and a with population of nearly 500 inhabitants. It had several mills, baker's ovens, a chapel and a small private port in the Gulf of Morbihan. Its role was therefore political, economic and administrative.
This medieval site is composed of several sections of varying architectural styles and eras: the main corps de logis dating from the 15th century with its Gothic dormer windows, a 16th-century Renaissance pavilion, Classical 17th century outbuildings, and a complete enclosing wall whose corner tower defended the access road that spans the causeway, between the lake and the mill.
The ground-floor hall has a very beautiful example of a crédence de justice (wall-cupboard built directly into the stone wall) that was used by the lord of the manor to place books and documents relating to the administration of the manor-court.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.