The Palazzo Salis is situated in the heart of the historic centre of Tirano, a small town in the valley Valtellina. The building got constructed during the second half of the 17th century by the noble family von Salis-Zizers, a branch of the important and well known grison family von Salis.
The palace was erected in the 1490s by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. The start of the construction is dedicated to Giovanni Salis-Zizers, who even became in the 1660s twice podestà of Tirano. About in the middle of the 17th century he bought and sold different properties to finally have the land to build his Palazzo. The entire structure of the Palazzo Salis is the result of the integration and change of already well established buildings, most probably already from the 15th or 16th century. The general style of the face of the building is a leftover of the facades of those 16th century buildings. The imposing doorway of the main entrance took its inspiration from a 16th-century design of the well-known architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. The ground plan of the building is structured and organised mainly around two courtyards, named corte della meridiana (Sun-dial Courtyard) and corte dei cavalli (Courtyard of Horses).
The Palazzo is still in the hands of the family Salis and is run today as a Museum. More than ten rooms decorated with frescoes and stucco from the 17th and 18th century, as well as the hidden Italian Garden on the backside of the building are opened for the public.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).