In 1286, Louis of Savoy founded a city of Morges in a pasture where a gallows previously stood. A castle was built to protect the city, which quickly developed into an administrative and market center as well as a hub for transporting goods by land and sea.
The castle in the south of the town square was built with a square floor plan and four round corner towers. It resembles the castle of Yverdon, which may have served as a model for Morges Castle. One of the round towers, larger than the others, served as the main tower. The raised courtyard was covered during the Middle Ages by casemates, which were first mentioned in 1340. On the lake side, outside the castle walls, there was a fortified kitchen. This kitchen, which was unique in Switzerland, was attached to the exterior of the castle walls. In 1363 the kitchen was rebuilt. Following the conquest of Vaud by Bern, the roof of the kitchen became a firing platform and was later converted into an observation deck.
The city and castle were plundered in 1475 and again in 1530. After the conquest of Vaud in 1536 by Bern, Morges became the center of a bailiwick in 1539. The castle was at that time in a deplorable condition. The new owners had the upper half of the fortifications rebuilt in the 1540s to suit the needs of artillery. Since Morges had not surrendered quickly enough to Bern, the city gates were demolished. The gate houses remained until 1769 and 1803, when they were finally destroyed.
The castle, which became the cantonal armory in 1803, was expanded in 1836-39 with some utility buildings and damaged in an explosion in 1871. Starting in 1925, it housed the Vaud Military Museum.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.