The Pieve of Saint Syrus was one of the pievi, or isolated churches with baptistries, among which the territory of Val Camonica was divided. The complex, which stands on a ridge overlooking the river Oglio, can be reached via a staircase built in the 1930s.
The foundation of the church in its present form probably dates to the end of the 11th century, although a fragment of a Roman inscription on a lancet window suggests that a Roman building was previously located on the site, and later converted into a house of Christian worship between the eighth and ninth centuries. In the crypt elements are present in pre-Romanesque capitals and columns. The bell-tower appears to be an addition of the fifteenth century. Following the visit to Val Camonica of St. Charles Borromeo in 1580 some parts of the church were rebuilt, including the ceiling of the nave.
Major works of restoration began in 1912 under the auspices of the state. Fragments of stone which had fallen from the portal were returned to place, the whole north wall of the choir was rebuilt and both the cross-vaulting of the aisles and the coffering of the nave were done away with. The walls of the crypt and its access stair were also rebuilt. In a later restoration the pavements of the nave and crypt were raised and remade using slabs of local stone. In the early 1990s structural works were undertaken to secure the building and its campanile.
The structure has an east–west orientation, with three apses, and a very elaborate entrance on the south side, carved with symbols and fantastic flowers. Inside, the sanctuary is elevated from the central nave and the two side aisles. Even in the crypt the subdivision in three apses is maintained.
On the back wall to the west there are a number of steps that had to serve, according to tradition, catechumens. From these leads to a door that went into the sacristy and the bell tower.
From this church comes the altarpiece of the Master Paroto stored at New York City, signed and dated 1447 (or 1444).
The large baptismal font inside the church is probably formed from the basin of a Roman or early medieval wine press.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.