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:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.