Würzburg Residenz Palace is generally considered the purest and most remarkable of all baroque palaces in Germany. Built between 1740 and 1770 and enhanced by the magnificent gardens between 1765 and 1780, it exemplifies a glittering era and is one of the most spectacular royal palaces in Europe.
The Würzburg court architect Balthasar Neumann, who was given overall responsibility for the enormous construction project, had an unenviable role. He had to keep many sensitive artists happy and motivated to give their best: these included the leading architects of Germany and France, such as Lucas von Hildebrandt, Maximilian von Welsch, Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand. The Italian Antonio Bossi, a gifted decorative artist known as the 'ornamental genius' of Würzburg Palace, and star sculptors such as Johann Wolfgang van der Auvera and Georg Adam Guthmann from Munich were among those who worked on the detailed interior decor. And Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, no less than the greatest fresco painter of the 18th century, was responsible for the wall paintings. They all created timeless works of art in the vestibule, staircase, While Hall and Imperial Hall – the mirrored hall, for example, is for many the most perfect example of a room ensemble in the rococo style. Working in creative collaboration, these artists of different nationality and language produced what became known as Würzburg rococo, the most Italianate of all variations on this style in Germany. Also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the court gardens are no less opulent in their beauty than the palace itself. Another highlight not to be missed in Würzburg: from the Marienberg Citadel, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views across the city and its wonderful surrounding countryside where the famous Franconian wine is produced.
April to October: 9am to 6pm (ticket office closes at 5.30pm)
November to March: 10am to 4.30pm (ticket office closes at 4pm)
Open daily (excluding 1 January, Shrove Tuesday, 24, 25 and 31 December); the gardens are open daily until dusk or 8pm.
23 May to 29 June 2014: Germany's longest-running Mozart Festival
30 June to 6 July 2014: Hofgarten wine festival
Further information www.residenz-wuerzburg.de