The rocky heights above Brienz Lake were first occupied and fortified by the Late-Bronze Age. During the Middle Ages, the land around the castle was owned by the Barons of Brienz and Raron. Around 1231, they moved to Ringgenberg village and soon thereafter into the castle. Ringgenberg Castle was probably built in several stages during the 13th century. It first appears in the historical record in 1240.
During the 13th century, the Counts of Ringgenberg expanded their power, often at the expense of Interlaken Abbey. The ruin of the estate began in the time of Philipp von Ringgenberg (1351–1374). In 1351 part of the estate was sold to the Abbey. In 1381 Ringgenberg castle was burnt and plundered by troops from the Canton of Uri and Count Petermann von Ringgenberg was taken in chains to Obwalden. In 1386, the castle and lands were assigned to Bern. However the city lacked the funds to rebuild the burned castle and in 1411 and 1439 parts of the castle and village were sold to Interlaken. A few years later, in 1445, Bern reacquired the land, but lost it again in 1457.
In 1528, the city of Bern adopted the new faith of the Protestant Reformation and began imposing it on the Bernese Oberland. Ringgenberg joined many other villages and the Abbey in an unsuccessful rebellion against the new faith. After Bern imposed its will on the Oberland, they secularized the Abbey and annexed all the Abbey lands. Ringgenberg became a part of the Bernese bailiwick of Interlaken.
The church was built in the ruins of Ringgenberg Castle in 1670 under the architect Abraham Dunz. Dunz incorporated the castle walls and one of the wall towers into the new village church.
The castle ruins were repaired and renovated in 1928, 1946–49 and 2006–08.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.