Residenzplatz 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
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A Bavarian Palace With a Resplendent FrescoLocated on both banks of the Main River is stately Bavarian Würzburg, which if translated means “spicy town.”
While it lays no claim to growing cardamom, cloves or pepper, it has a long and quirky history which dates well back to before the 4th century when it was occupied by the Celts. The town is best known for its palace which was completed in 1744. The bishop architect was not very popular, so rather than living in the residence he designed, he stayed up on a high hill so that the locals wouldn’t kill him.
There is much to see in this Baroque/French style palace, notably the Sistine Chapel-like fresco painted by Giovanni Tiepolo, who was paid the equivalent of $3 million at the time. His “Four Continents” fresco is resplendent and greets you as you walk up the grand staircase in dignified steps, and the watchful eye of the painter follows you as you gaze on Africa and America.
My favorite room is the White Hall because it has the most interesting story. The sculptor Antonio Bossi was commissioned to design it and he did so with great fervor for nine months and created a life-like tapestry made of stucco and hoped that the princess would love it, but she barely acknowledged his work, a gesture that depressed him enough to be committed to an asylum.
But there is much to take in, including the restored Hall of Mirrors (the town was badly bombed during WWII) which is a dazzling, smaller version of the more famous one in Versailles.
You would gain brownie points if you knew that locals call themselves Franconians.