Točník Castle was built during the reign of Wenceslaus IV at the end of the 14th century above the already existing castle Žebrák as his private residence. The two castles, Točník and Žebrák, make up a pictoresque 'couple,' standing almost right next to each other.
The area where the castle stands was inhabited by people two thousand years ago, but it was not until the 14th century when the Bohemian and German king Wenceslaus IV decided to build his residence there. The castle Točník was built after the large fire in the castle Žebrák, which showed how unsafe it was for the king and how its position was not strategic.
The castle was built on a three-part ground plan. Behind the defensive wall is a massive moat with a bridge, which was originally protected by a gate tower. The most important building, situated in the residential section on the L-shaped ground plan, is the Royal Palace with its side wing. The second floor of the palace was taken up with a ceremonial hall, while other floors were residential.
During the Hussite wars, when Václav's brother Sigismund was in power, the castle was besieged by the Hussite army for three days, until it gave up and burnt down the towns Točník and Hořovice instead. The castle was then mortgaged and handed over from one person to another, but it never found an owner that would keep it for a longer time and so it was gradually reduced to ruins.
Jan of Watemberg initiated the first stage of the Renaissance alterations, which were continued by the Lobkowicz family. In 1594, the castle came once again to the royal property and was administrated by the Bohemian (Czech) Royal Chamber. The Thirty Years' War contributed greatly to the castle's deterioration. In 1923, the castle was sold to the Czech Association of Tourists for 2000 Czechoslovak crowns and now it belongs to the state. Since the 1930s the gradual restoration works continue until to this day.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.