The Abbey of Viboldone was founded in 1176 and completed in 1348 by the Humiliati, an order of monks, nuns and lay people who worked in the abbey producing wool cloths and cultivated the nearby fields with innovative techniques.
After the suppression of the Humiliati by Pope Pius V (1571), the abbey went to the Olivetan Benedictines, who were forced to leave the abbey in 1773, when Lombardy fell in Austrian hands. After several years of abandonment, the abbey is currently home to the Community of Madre Margherita Marchi (Benedictine nuns) since 1941.
The façade (finished in 1348) is hut-shaped, with mullioned windows and visible brickwork with white stone decorations, and divided into three sectors by two semi-columns. The entrance portal is in white marble, and is surmounted by a lunette with marble sculptures of the 'Madonna with Child between the Saints Ambrose and John of Meda'. At its sides, two Gothic niches houses statues of the Sts. Peter and Paul. The door is in dark wood, and dates to the 14th century.
The bell tower has an appearance similar to that of the façade, with frames in cotto and small arcades at the bases of the double and triple mullioned windows. The latter are surmounted by small circular windows.
The interior is rather sober, with few decorations, aside from the extensive fresco decoration of the Giottesque school. It has a rectangular hall plan, with a nave and two aisles with five spans each (the first ones in Romanesque style, while the remaining ones are Gothic with cotto columns and high cross vaults). The arches are ogival.
The fresco decoration includes the Madonna in Maestà with Saints and the large Universal Judgement with, in the middle, Jesus and at his left the Damned, overlook by Satan. Other frescoes, depicting Renaissance musical instruments, are housed in the Music Hall, located in a building annexed to the church.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.