In 1246, Counts Hartmann the Elder and Hartmann the Younger of Kyburg donated their lands, farms and forests in and around the village of Mülinen, as well as judicial rights over the village itself, to establish a Cistercian nunnery, which was placed under the authority of the abbot of Frienisberg in 1249 or 1250. It was called in Latin Fons beatae Mariae, in German Fraubrunnen, which replaced the existing village's original name of Mülinen. Over the following years it acquired further estates in a number of villages and vineyards on the shores of Lake Biel. It owned houses in Bern, Burgdorf and Solothurn and received the Burgrecht in those cities. The abbey became one of the wealthiest in the canton of Bern. The nuns generally came from families of the ministerialis class or of the burghers of Bern.
The cloister and church were damaged and rebuilt following a fire in 1280 and again after a fire in 1375.
The Kyburgs held the position and title of Kastvogt. In 1406, the city of Bern acquired the land rights and judicial rights over the territory that included the abbey. After the extinction of the Kyburg family in 1420, the position and rights of Kastvogt also passed to Bern.
With these close ties to Bern, the abbey could not escape the effects of the Protestant Reformation. Between 1481 and 1512 the city attempted to limit the power of the abbess and to regulate the community. However, when Bern adopted the Reformation in 1528 the abbey was quickly secularized and the nuns were moved out.
The vacated buildings became a castle and administrative center of the bailiwick of Fraubrunnen in the Zollikofen district. In 1535 the church and the east wing were demolished. In 1569-74 the cloister passageways were expanded and covered to become corridors in the main building. In 1647-48 the west wing was converted into a granary. The castle was pillaged by the French during the 1798 French invasion. Under the Act of Mediation in 1803 the old Vogtei was dissolved and Fraubrunnen became the seat of a district of the same name.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.