The 17th-century Convent of Sant Agusti, in the heart of Ciutadella, is still used as a residence for a community of nuns while also being a cultural focal point for the public at large because it houses the Diocesan Museum.
The Church of Socorro (Solace), alongside the cloister, is built in the Renaissance style, with one single nave and side chapels, covered by a barrel vault and a transept topped with a dome. The facade, defined by its two twin towers, reveals a late 18th-century gateway, with three gates opening onto a great atrium, decorated with the emblems of the Augustinian order and crowned by Our Lady of Perpetuo Socorro. It was heavily refurbished during that period, with the construction of the main reredoses, the organ and the interior decoration, which left the vaults, dome and walls covered with fresco murals.
The devastation suffered during the Civil War led to the destruction of the reredoses and the other liturgical furniture. Meanwhile, over the decades during which it was closed or used for a whole range of functions it suffered ever worsening deterioration, a process which has been arrested over the last 15 years by embarking on the costly and complex task of restoration and refurbishment now in progress. Nonetheless, only a few fragments remain. The Baroque organ was built in 1793 by the Catalan master craftsman Josep Casas i Soler, was destroyed in the Civil War, and recently rebuilt by the team of organ maker Albert Blancafort. The choir retains its beautiful walnut seating with marquetry ornamentation.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.