The Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa) palace was built in the 19th century by the city's Commercial Association in Neoclassical style. The Palácio da Bolsa is located beside the St Francis Church of Porto, which was once part of the St Francis Convent, founded in the 13th century. In 1832, during the Liberal Wars, a fire destroyed the cloisters of the convent, sparing the church. In 1841, Queen Mary IIdonated the convent ruins to the merchants of the city, who decided to use the spot to build the seat of the Commercial Association.
Building work began in 1842 following the plans of Porto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who designed a Neoclassical palace of Palladian influence, inspired by previous structures built in the city. Most of the palace was finished by 1850, but the decoration of the interior was only completed in 1910 and involved several different artists.
The first architect of the Palácio was Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who was in charge of the project from 1840 until 1860. He was responsible for the general design of the building, inspired by the Neopalladian architecture that was in fashion in Porto since the late 18th century, expressed in buildings like the Hospital of St Anthony (by English architect John Carr), the English Factory (by another Englishman, John Whitehead) and several projects by Portuguese architect Carlos Amarante.
The general structure of the Palácio was completed by 1850, but several architectural details were later entrusted to architects Gustavo Adolfo Gonçalves e Sousa (author of the stairway and the Arab Room), Tomás Augusto Soler (metallic dome of the courtyard) and Joel da Silva Pereira (Tribunal Room), among others.
The interior of the Palace, only finished in 1910, was magnificently decorated by several artists. The central courtyard (Nations' Courtyard - Pátio das Nações) is covered by a large metallic, octagonal dome with glass panels, designed by Tomás Soler and built after 1880. The lower part of the dome is decorated with the painted coats-of-arms of Portugal and the countries with which Portugal had commercial relations in the 19th century. To the back of the courtyard, a sumptuous stairway, built in 1868 by Gonçalves e Sousa, leads to the upper storeys and is adorned with busts by celebrated sculptors António Soares dos Reis and António Teixeira Lopes. The ceiling frescoes were painted by António Ramalho.
Several rooms of the Palace - Tribunal Room, Assembly Room, Golden Room - display furniture by José Marques da Silva, allegoric paintings by José Maria Veloso Salgado and João Marques de Oliveira, sculptures by Teixeira Lopes and many other works of art. The highlight of the Palace is, however, the Arab Room, built between 1862 and 1880 by Gonçalves e Sousa. The room is decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style, fashionable in the 19th century, and is used as reception hall for personalities and heads of state visiting Porto.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.