San Giorgio Church at the site is documented since 775. In 1218, Franciscan friars erected a nearby monastery and were in possession of the church. But by 1254, they had moved to the convent and church of San Francesco. By 1429, this parish church was in a dilapidated state, and a major restoration, including present facade occurred in 1639.
An inventory of works in 1826 noted to right of nave an oil painting depicting a Nativity, by Giovita Bresciano, a pupil of Lattanzio Gambara. The main altarpiece depicted was by a young Gandini and two side-panels depicting St George and the Dragon and a Martyrdom of St George by Pompeo Ghitti.
In addition, in the chapels on the left of the nave, there was a Virgin with Saints Francis of Paola and Leonard, by Giovanni Battista Pittoni. A canvas depicting Vigin with Francis of Sales and St Catherine was attributed to Domenico Carretti. A Sacred Heart of Jesus was attributed to Antonio Dusi. A Dead Christ with St Charles is attributed to Savani. In the sacristy are some frescoes from the original romanesque church. Saint George and the Princess by Cicognara also originated in the church.
The church also contains 13th century frescoes including a Christ Pantocrater. The nave ceiling was decorated by Pietro Sorisene and Pompeo Ghitti with architectural decoration by Agostino Avanzo. The apse ceiling has a depiction of the Seven Angels of the Apocalypse by Ottavio Amigoni. The exterior of the apse still betrays the Romanesque architecture of the original church.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.