The weather was glorious this past weekend so we decided to get away to Salzburg, Austria for the weekend. Our journey began at this wonderful castle that is a great example of Italian Baroque architecture. Built by garden lover, Markus Sittikus, Salzburg's Archbishop, it is the only example left of the wonderful water gardens that were famous in Florence at that time (1613-1629).
The schloss is famous for it's "Water Games." Markus Sittikus had a great sense of humor and designed these games to perform practical jokes on his guests.
He designed this stone table and stools so that his guests could eat dinner and drink wine there. When they were a little too inebriated to continue to eat, he would push a lever and "Voila!" Water would shoot up from the middle of the stool and around the table to awaken the guest.
He also created mechanical, water-operated and music-playing theatre showing differed workers, a grotto and a crown being pushed up and down with the jet of water. The games were designed so that the only dry spot would be where Markus Sittikus stood or sat.
These figures would move across the stages which would have thrilled those viewing it in 1723 when it was built. Below are some close ups of the vignettes and some of the other features in the garden.
The scenes are quaint, humorous, and detailed giving viewers today good insight into what life would have been like back in the 17th century in Austria.
The beauty of the grounds is indisputable. From water fountains to beautifully landscaped gardens, it would have been quite elegant during the 1600's. Unfortunately, it was only used during the day with the Archbishop going back to Salzburg in the evenings, so there are no bedrooms at the schloss.
It is early spring so a lot of the plantings have not yet blossomed, but the gardens are ambitious.
With the Alps in the background, you can see that the scope of the gardens are enormous.
These two seem to have made their home here, along with various ducks and fish.
It was a spectacular day to stroll the gardens and take in the grandeur of the schloss.
I would love to return later in the summer and see all of the plantings in their full glory. It was a lovely morning at Hellbrunn and it hardly takes any imagination at all to understand how amazing the grounds and buildings would have been during Markus Sittikus' day. Hard to imagine that Archbishops had these spectacular summer castles to use at their leisure. Even harder to imagine that it was considered their right!