The large complex of the Franciscan monastery is situated at the very beginning of Placa, to the left of the inner Pile Gate, next to the Holy Savior Church. The Franciscan order arrived in Dubrovnik around 1234. The first Franciscan monastery was built in the 13th century in the Pile area on the spot what is today Hotel Hilton Imperial. However as the City was threatened with war, in 1317, decision was made to demolish that monastery to prevent its use by the enemy in the eventual case that the City might be besieged. The new monastery inside the City walls was constructed the same year, in 1317, but the work on the monastery continued throughout centuries.
The same year is taken for the establishment of Friars Minor pharmacy. The rule of the Franciscan order was to take care of the sick brethren. However this particular pharmacy was designed and founded as the public pharmacy, as well as for the needs of the monks, which is corroborated by the original location of the pharmacy being the monastery's ground floor. The establishment of the pharmacy provided a steady income to the order and solved their materialistic needs. Today the Friars Minor pharmacy is the third oldest functioning pharmacy in the entire world. Since 1938, when the idea of a pharmacy museum was realized in the Franciscan monastery, curios visitors may enjoy the wonderful exhibits from the history of this noble trade.
The large Franciscan church had been one of the richest churches in Dubrovnik at the time, when it was destroyed in the Great earthquake of 1667. The only element of the former building which has been preserved is the portal on the south wall. It was probably moved from the front to the lateral wall in the course of the restoration in the 17th century. According to the contract of 1498, this portal, the most monumental one in Dubrovnik at that time, was carved in the leading local workshop owned by the brothers Leonard and Petar Petrović. The portal has all the marks of the Gothic style, but the solid volumes of the figures show the Renaissance spirit.
The northern wall of the church closes the southern wing of one of the most beautiful cloisters of Dubrovnik. This cloister was built in late Romanesque style by master Mihoje Brajkov of Bar in 1360. The ambient is most harmonious, framed by a colonnade of double hexaphoras, each with a completely different capital. The Franciscan cloister is one of the most valuable late Romanesque creations on the Croatian shores of the Adriatic. The Franciscan monastery has another cloister built in the Gothic style, but it is for private use only and not accessible to the public.The cloister of Friars Minor Monastery is one of the most beautiful places one is able to visit inside the Old Town Dubrovnik. In combination with the valuable museum exhibits and the story behind Franciscan monastery and its centuries old pharmacy makes the Franciscan Monastery an unavoidable attraction of Dubrovnik, which every visitor should take time to experience.
The monastery owns one of the richest old libraries in the Croatia, famous all over the world for the value of its inventory. The book collection consist of over 70000 books, over 1200 of which are old manuscripts of extraordinary value and importance, 216 incunabulas and 22 tomes of old church corals made from 15th to 17th century. The collection of liturgical and art objects is exhibited in the large Renaissance hall, containing the inventory of the old Franciscan pharmacy, paintings by old masters, valuable specimens of gold-work and rare books.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.