The Visconti Castle is a castle of Middle Age origin located in Cassano d'Adda. It received the current form in the 14th century, when Bernabò Visconti, lord of Milan, enlarged the existing fortification as part of a defensive system of the Visconti dominions on the Adda river. At the end of the 20th century, after a period of abandonment, it was restored and transformed into a hotel.
A castle in the area is supposed to have existed since the carolingean time. Near the castle, on 27 September 1259, the Battle of Cassano was fought between the two Milanese factions supporting Ezzelino da Romano and Martino Della Torre. The battle ended with the defeat of Ezzelino and the confirmation of the Della Torre family as lords of Milan.
The castle was acquired by the Visconti house after their victory over the Della Torre in the fight for the lordship of Milan. In 1355, it was assigned to Bernabò within the division among him and his brothers Matteo II and Galeazzo II. Between 1355 e 1370, Bernabò, who had received the eastern portion of the Visconti territories, built a defensive line along the Adda river. As part of it, the existing fortification of Cassano d'Adda was strengthened and enlarged.
In the 15th century, Francesco Sforza consolidated the castle with the imposing buttresses, elevated over the Muzza canal, which today characterise the castle.
In the following centuries, lost its military importance, the castle was used for different purposes: warehouse, prison and recovery for homeless people. In the 20th century, restoration works were undertaken, bringing back the castle to its original features. During these works, Middle Age frescos were discovered on the walls and on the vaulted ceilings and accordingly preserved.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.