San Marcello al Corso was built before 418, when Pope Boniface I was elected there. Pope Adrian I, in the 8th century, built a church on the same place, which is currently under the modern church. On 22 May 1519, a fire destroyed the church. The money collected for its rebuilding was used to bribe the landsknechts, who were pillaging the city during the Sack of Rome (1527).
The work was continued by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who rebuilt the church, but a Tiber flood damaged it again in 1530. It was only in 1592–1597 that the church was completed with a facade by Carlo Fontana, commissioned by Monsignor Marcantonio Cataldi Boncompagni. The exterior travertine statues were sculpted by Francesco Cavallini, and the stucco bas-relief over the entrance, with depicts San Filippo Benizio, was created by Antonio Raggi.
Under the main altar, decorated with 12th century opus sectile, are the relics of several saints, which include those of Pope Marcellus as well as Digna and Emerita. The last chapel on the left is dedicated to St Philip Benizi. The late-Baroque decoration contains sculptures by Francesco Cavallini and reliefs by Ercole Ferrata and Antonio Raggi. The first chapel on the left has the double tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Michiel and his grandson Antonio Orso sculpted by Jacopo Sansovino.
The church is administered and owned by the Servite Order since 1369.References:
The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.
The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.
After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.
The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.
Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.
The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.