Schenkenberg castle was probably built in the early 13th century for the Habsburgs dynasty, both as a headquarters and to protect core areas around Brugg. The first written mention of the castle took place in 1243 when the Lords of Schenkenberg, a Habsburg vassel, were granted land around the castle. The ownership changed multiple times as the Habsburgs granted it to other vassels.
After the Habsburg defeat at the Battle of Sempach, they fell into financial difficulties and had to mortgage the castle. In 1415 the Habsburgs fell into disfavor with King Sigismund, after the Swiss Confederatesconquered the Aargau. The area on the left side of the Aare, including the Schenkenberger valley remained unchanged for the time being. However, in 1417, King Sigismund put the castle under his direct protection. The holder of the castle, Margaret of Fridlingen, sold the castle and the related rights in 1431 to Baron Thüring of Aarburg.
The bailiwick of Schenkenberg was at that time a fairly sovereign state. It extended over a large part of today's Brugg District. In 1451 Thüring ran into financial problems and sold the title and rights to his son-in-law Hans von Baldegg and Hans' brother Markwart. The Baldegger, who had fought on the side of the Habsburgs in 1386, allied themselves with Austria and pointedly drew the ire of the Confederates on himself. Increasingly, there were disputes with the citizens of the town of Brugg, who were subjects of Bern. In 1460 Bern finally had enough of the permanent provocations and occupied the castle driving out the Baldeggers.
The damage to the castle following the fight was immediately repaired. The castle became the seat of the Bernese bailiff and the center of the Herrschaft of Schenkenberg in the Bernese Aargau. The Baldeggers tried several times, by diplomatic and legal as well as in the Swabian War of 1499, to regain their castle and title. However they were always unsuccessful. Hans von Baldegg, the last of his line, died in 1510 of the plague.
Schenkenberg castle was in the northeastern corner of the territory of Bern, near the border with western Austria. Due to this strategic location Bern fortified the castle, but spent little in maintenance. In the early 18th Century, the castle became so dilapidated that the Governor and his family feared for their lives because the walls regularly crumbled. Finally the Council of the City of Bern gave up the castle, and the Governor moved in 1720 to the nearby Castle Wildenstein in Veltheim.
The castle fell into disrepair and was used as a quarry by the farmers of the area. In 1798 it became the property of the newly formed Canton of Aargau, the legal successor of the city of Bern. In 1837, the castle was purchased from a dubious, 'Herr von Schenkenberg', who, however, disappeared without a trace shortly thereafter. The castle was virtually abandoned for several decades. In a storm in 1917 east wall collapsed. The collapse spurred the authorities to declare the castle as unclaimed property, and put it up for auction in May 1918. For the symbolic sum of 50 francs it was sold to the Historical Preservation Society of Aargau. The building was repaired and extensive conservation was carried out.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.