The Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e(d) Alessio is a basilica, rectory church served by the Somaschans, on the Aventine Hill in Rome. It is dedicated to Saint Boniface of Tarsus and (originally only) Saint Alexius.
Founded between the 3rd and 4th centuries, it was restored in 1216 by Pope Honorius III (some columns of his building survive in the present building's eastern apse), in 1582, in the 1750s by Tommaso De Marchis (his main altar survives), and between 1852 and 1860 by the Somaschi, which congregation still serves it as a rectory church. The 16th century style facade, elaborated from the De Marchis phase, is built onto the medieval-style quadriportico.
The church has a Romanesque campanile. On the south side of the nave is the funerary monument Eleonora Boncompagni Borghese of 1693, to a design of Giovan Contini Batiste, and in the south transept the Chapel of Charles IV of Spain, with the Icon Madonna di Sant'Alessio. It is an Edessa icon of the Intercession of the Madonna, the Heavenly Mediatress dating from the 12-13th centuries, thought to have been painted by St Luke the Evangelist and brought from the East by St Alexius.
A Romanesque crypt survives below the church, whose main altar contains relics of St Thomas of Canterbury. It has a 12th-century wall of frescoes of the Agnus Dei and symbols of the Four Evangelists, along with one in the north aisle of St Gerolamo Emiliani introducing orphans to the Virgin by Jean Francois De Troy, and at the end of the aisle The Holy Steps and the titular church of Saint Alexius in wood and stucco by Andrea Bergondi.
Connected to the basilica are the buildings of the former monastery, which now belong to the Italian state.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.