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One masterpiece by two geniuses

Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753) was one of the most influential architects of the baroque and rococo period. A former artilleryman, he was appointed Director of Construction in 1719 by prince bishop Schönbusch and commissioned to build the Würzburg Residenz Palace. He invited sceptics to test the strength of the huge self-supporting vaulted ceiling with cannon fire, but they decided to put their trust in his abilities. The ceiling fresco by Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is simply awe-inspiring. With this painting completed in 1752-1753, the Italian created a record-breaking masterpiece: at 677 square metres, it is the largest ceiling fresco in the world.
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Würzburg Residenz Palace

When enthusing over Würzburg's Residenz Palace in Lower Franconia, the first thing people usually mention is the colossal staircase with its acclaimed ceiling frescos. Neumann succeeded in creating an important baroque complex with an impressive staircase as the jewel in the crown. In the splendid entrance hall, the vaulted ceiling spans an area of 18 by 30 metres without any supporting columns. This breathtaking feature is decorated with paintings by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, celebrated throughout 18th-century Europe as a fresco genius. His contribution here depicts the four known continents of the time: Europe, Asia, Africa and America. These are characterised by female figures, some of which are fairly exotic, and there are even self-portraits of the artists in one corner. It's also well worth taking a stroll around the palace garden by Bohemian landscape gardener Johann Prokop Mayer. It was laid out as a geometric sanctuary in the rococo style towards the end of the 18th century.
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Augustusburg Palace & Falkenlust hunting lodge, Brühl/Bonn

Augustusburg Palace in the Rhineland was one of the favourite summer retreats of Clemens August von Wittelsbach, Elector and Archbishop of Cologne. In the 18th century, the palace was converted by François de Cuvilliés into one of the most outstanding residences of the period. Its pièce de résistance is the magnificent staircase designed by Balthasar Neumann. The palace and its estate are a magnificent combination of architecture, art and landscape gardening and an expression of German rococo at its very best. Just a short stroll from Augustusburg Palace on the edge of the forest lies Falkenlust hunting lodge in all its beautiful splendour. Also built in the 18th century under François de Cuvilliés, it is one of the most intimate and exquisite creations of the German rococo era.
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Veitshöchheim Palace & rococo garden

Situated only a few kilometres down the river Main from Würzburg is another late baroque gem. The hedge-lined pathways constantly reveal fresh glimpses of hedged compartments, arbours, pavilions, circular flowerbeds and the Parnasse figures in the large lake – one of the garden's highlights. Around 300 sculptures by Würzburg's court sculptors adorn the garden.
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  1. Veitshöchheim Palace & rococo garden
  2. Würzburg Residenz Palace
  3. Augustusburg Palace & Falkenlust hunting lodge, Brühl/Bonn