The Non Basilica del Santissimo Redentore, commonly known as Il Redentore, dominates the skyline of the island of Giudecca. It was built as a votive church in thanksgiving for deliverance from a major outbreak of the plague that decimated Venice between 1575 and 1576, in which some 46,000 people (25–30% of the population) died. The Senate of the Republic of Venice commissioned the architect Andrea Palladio to design the votive church. Though the Senate wished the Church to be square plan, Palladio designed a single nave church with three chapels on either side. Its prominent position on the Canale della Giudecca gave Palladio the opportunity to design a facade inspired by the Pantheon of Rome and enhanced by being placed on a wide plinth.
The cornerstone was laid by the Patriarch of Venice Giovanni Trevisano on May 3, 1577 and the building was consecrated in 1592. At the urgent solicitations of Pope Gregory XIII, after consecration the church was placed in charge of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. A small number of Friars reside in the monastery attached to the church.
Il Redentore has one of the most prominent sites of any of Palladio's structures, and is considered one of the pinnacles of his career. It is a large, white building with a dome crowned by a statue of the Redeemer. On the façade a central triangular pediment overlies a larger, lower one. This classical feature recalls Palladio's façade for San Francesco della Vigna, where he used an adaptation of a triumphal arch. Palladio is known for applying rigorous geometric proportions to his façades and that of Redentore is no exception. The overall height is four-fifths that of its overall width whilst the width of the central portion is five-sixths of its height.
It has been suggested that there are some Turkish influences in the exterior, particularly the two campaniles which resemble minarets.
As a pilgrimage church, the building was expected to have a long nave, which was something of a challenge for Palladio with his commitment to classical architecture. The result is a somewhat eclectic building, the white stucco and gray stone interior combines the nave with a domed crossing in spaces that are clearly articulated yet unified. An uninterrupted Corinthian order makes its way around the entire interior.
Il Redentore contains paintings by Francesco Bassano, Lazzaro Bastiani, Carlo Saraceni, Leandro Bassano, Palma the Younger, Jacopo Bassano, Francesco Bissolo, Rocco Marconi, Paolo Veronese, Alvise Vivarini and the workshop of Tintoretto. The sacristy also contains a series of wax heads of Franciscans made in 1710.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.