Castello del Catajo is a patrician house near the town of Battaglia Terme. It had its origins in a simple villa that was rebuilt and extravagantly enlarged in the manner of a feudal castle from 1570 onwards by Marquess Pio Enea I degli Obizzi, a member of an Italian noble family of French origin. The house contains a vast cycle of historical battle scenes frescoed in 1571–1572 by Giambattista Zelotti, a pupil of Paolo Veronese. He began with events from the Roman age, culminating with the military triumphs of Pio Enea degli Obizzi, which were recreated in the gardens with tourneys and spectacles. His nephew Pio Enea II enlarged the complex with the grand entrance courtyard, announced by sculptures on high drum pedestals, which is dominated by the Baroque 'Elephant' fountain.
In the 19th century the estate passed to Francis V, Duke of Modena, who in turn left it to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. During the First World War the castle was inherited by Charles I of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary, but it was sequestered as war reparations by the Italian State, which sold it in 1926 to the Dalla Francesca family, who currently open it to the public.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.