- Medieval Architecture: 5th-14th centuries
- Renaissance, Baroque Architecture: 15th-17th centuries
- Rococo, Neoclassic and Modern Architecture: 18th-20th centuries
- Domizia del Gallo di Roccagiovine – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ewelina Oksiuta – email@example.com
*We will only accept applications from our members and their members, but the visits will be accessible to everyone!
For those of you who missed the opportunity of discovering these cultural gems, both the descriptions and virtual visits will be available below.
Our first Participants
- Zámek Hrádek (CZE)
Chateau Hrádek is located 5 km from the town of Sušice in the southwestern part of the Czech Republic. The first mention of Hrádek dates back to 1298. It is a preserved deed of donation. After 1590, the medieval fortress was rebuilt into a Renaissance chateau. The year 1731 was significant for the chateau when earl Jan Ferdinand Des Fours de Mont et Athienville became the owner. He began the reconstruction of Hrádek by building a new Baroque chateau next to the old Renaissance one. In 1775, a Baroque chapel dedicated to St. Valburga was built. After the end of World War II, the chateau and the whole estate were confiscated. The chateau was turned into apartments for about 20 families. In the communist era, nobody took care of the maintenance of the chateau, so it fell into disrepair and became increasingly uninhabitable. Due to the state of disrepair, the Baroque chateau tower collapsed in 1976 and the chateau gradually became depopulated. The chateau was purchased by architect Mr. Pavel Lejsek in 2000, who started work to save the building from its collapse. In June 2010, after a difficult reconstruction, the chateau was opened to the public as a hotel with a restaurant. In the following years, the outbuildings, courtyard, chateau park, Baroque chapel were gradually restored. Since 2016, the Empire-style orangery and the utility garden have been under reconstruction. Other outbuildings (especially a former brewery building) are still waiting for their rebirth. Thanks to its romantic surroundings, the chateau is popular for civil and religious wedding ceremonies and a variety of cultural and social events.
- Villa Bell’Aspetto (IT)
Villa Bell’Aspetto was built in 1647 by the Cardinal Vincenzo Costaguti. The original planimetry was made up only by the central building surrounded by four tours. For a long period, it was a hunting lodge “Casino” as we know from the illustrated hunting list from Giovanni Piancastelli, that reported the names of the family participating. Camillo Borghese, husband of Paolina Bonaparte bought the villa in 1832 from the big deal maker Don Giovanni Torlonia that had bought it from the Costaguti. As he had no children, Camillo left the villa to his brother Francesco, married to Adele de La Rochefoucauld. The Garden is a typical Mediterranean informal garden with Holm, Cork, and Downy trees: from 1840 where added Domestic Pine, Alepensis Pine, sea Pine, Eucalyptus, date Palms, Phoenix Canariensis that at the main entrance surround the spring water fountain instead of the original pond. Climbing to the Villa, from the informal garden, you enter the formal Italian one. In the Orangery, a fruit cared by the Neoplatonic symbolists, Rodolfo Borghese designed a little boxwood street that forms two hearts that face themselves in the middle of the house axis. The original building that Giovanni Antonio de Rossi (1616-95) conceived was a sober interpretation of baroque that gradually bent over the needs of a large family. Marcantonio, Francesco’s son, was the first Borghese to deal with the static problems of this imponent Villa and had to build robust and immense columns from the bottom to the top to hold the big noble living room. In addition, he decided to introduce a dining room for his big family. Every recipe was for 22 persons and had to sacrifice the great external staircase. It is in this period and then with Paolo Borghese that the villa lives its best period.
- Ballyvolane House (IE)
Swabian counts and princes, the kings of Prussia, and even the German emperor have their roots here at Hohenzollern Castle in the heart of Baden-Württemberg County right between Lake Constance and Stuttgart. The proud fortress perched on conical Mount Zoller offers majestic panoramic views stretching over more than 100 kilometers. Glamorous as well as dark events shape the 1,000-year history of this impressive building: In the 15th century, the first Hohenzollern Castle was destroyed by war but was rebuilt soon afterward. In the 18th century, the fortress was deserted and fell into ruin. King Frederick William IV of Prussia had his family’s ancestral home reconstructed in its present form in the 19th century, even larger and more magnificent than before. Today, the castle is still privately owned by the Prussian line and the Swabian Royal House of the Hohenzollern. And whenever the current owner, Prince George Frederick of Prussia, and his family are staying in the castle, the family standard flies high on the flag tower. Visitors from all over the world come to see and enjoy Hohenzollern Castle. The castle is open every day and invites its guests to discover the castle grounds and the magnificent interior on their own. With the help of the castle app and explanations of castle staff standing in the showrooms, the visitors can learn all kinds of informative and entertaining facts from the lives of their Highnesses and Majesties. Besides the magnificent Counts’ Hall and the Blue Salon, the Treasure Chamber is particularly impressive with the Prussian royal crown, the famous snuff-box that once saved Frederick the Great’s life, and a lot more of gold and silver. Regional specialties are served in the castle café restaurant. The braised beef cheeks in red wine sauce and the homemade potato salad are particularly recommended. In summer, the café restaurant boasts one of the region’s most beautiful beer gardens set in the castle gardens.
- Castello di Mandela (IT)
Le Château du Lude, located at the crossroads of Anjou and Touraine, is a family home and one of the most impressive castles in the Loire Valley. As it stands, with its 4 façades, each of a different style, Le Lude is a living testament to the evolution of French architecture, from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. From the 10th to the 15th Century, the stronghold was slowly transformed into an enormous stone fortress defending the banks of the Loir river and the border of the Anjou Kingdom. The chamberlain to King Louis XI, Jehan de Daillon, and his descendants transformed the fortress into a stately Renaissance palace. Le Lude is almost the only chateau in France to have preserved this decoration, emblematic of the Italian Renaissance. This immense stately residence would welcome both Henry IV and Louis XIII before the Daillon family line was extinguished in 1685. The property was sold in 1751 to a member of the French East India Company, Joseph Duvelaër. This Dutch ship-owner from St Malo modernized the chateau and after him, his niece the Marchioness de la Vieuville. On the eve of the French Revolution, she had built the central wing, looking out over the Loir. The façade is a pure example of the neo-classicism of the 18th Century. Descendants of the Marchioness, the Talhouët family made architectural renovations in the 19th Century, particularly on the north façade, which uses a “troubadour” style. Today Le Lude belongs to their descendants, the Nicolay family, who, in their turn, endeavour to continue to restore and protect the vestiges of the past, such as the underground passages, the chapel, the stables, the kitchens, and gardens. The house is surrounded by historic gardens including botanical collections, mazes, a kitchen garden, and a rose garden. The house is open to the public seven months a year, showing on five floors the château life « à la française ». Many events are organized on the estate, like escape games, a Garden festival, cooking days, and exhibitions.
- Villa Molin (IT)
Villa Molin was built in 1597 by Nicolò Molin, Savio di Terraferma, the Serenissima’s ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and the English court, husband of the daughter of Doge Alvise Grimani. It is one of the most important buildings in Padua, and it was designed by the famous architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Inside it is a precious treasure trove of works of art spanning four centuries. Today it is finally possible to visit it with a tour guided by a specialised architect who will tell you about the architectural and artistic features and the fascinating stories of the families who lived there. The Villa is also open for events and ceremonies. When Niccolò decided to build a country villa to pay homage to his family he called the most important architect of his time in Venice: Vincenzo Scamozzi. Then he became proto of the Republic and author of the Procuratie Nuove in St Mark’s Square and continuer of some of Palladio’s designs. After the Molin, the Villa passed to the Capodilista. Subsequently, became the property of the Conti in 1672. They commissioned the frescoes in the central hall, as evidenced by the shields on the vault of the hall. In 1748 the Bishop of Padua, Carlo Rezzonico (Pope Clement XIII) was hosted here. In 1772 the Capodilista family bought back the Villa and created the splendid stucco work in the rooms on the first floor. Through changes of ownership and marriages, it passed to the Dondi Orologio family. In 1955 it was bought by the industrialist Igino Kofler. He carried out important restoration work that brought back the original frescoes.