St Mary's Kirk at Auchindoir, between Rhynie and Lumsden, is one of the Scotland's finest surviving medieval parish churches. The main doorway is early Romanesque, and there is a well-preserved early 16th-century sacrament house.
St Mary's is rare for a Scottish church in that it has survived into the modern era without any major alterations. Although surviving medieval churches are reasonably common throughout the country, almost all were significantly altered during and after the Reformation, often so heavily transformed that it is difficult to see their medieval origins.
St Mary's Kirk was built in the early 13th century and served as the place of worship for the nearby motte and bailey castle, next to a gorge to the south-east of the church. First mentioned in 1236, the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1514 the church was elevated to a prebend of King's College in Aberdeen, thereby receiving the income of a canon. It was subsequently used as a parish church, surviving the Reformation largely intact. However, in the 17th century it was redecorated, with most of the lancet windows replaced with larger windows.
In 1810, the church ceased to be used as a place of worship and the old timber work was sold publicly.
The church has been described as one of Northern Scotland's finest specimens of 13th-century First-Pointed architecture. It had already lost its roof at the beginning of the 19th century but the walls of rubble and freestone quoins remain intact. The nave leads directly into the chancel without any structural division. Alterations were made in the first half of the 16th century and during the 17th century when doors and windows were added. The belfry on the west gable dates from 1664.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.