10 things to do and see in Salzburg and 1 not to do

10 things to do and see in Salzburg and 1 not to do

The word that best describes Salzburg is "balance". Balance between the Old Town (Altstadt) and New Town (Neustadt) on the two banks of the Salzach river, and a balance between nature and culture. In fact, there is a lot all around green, lot of lakes and, not to be underestimated, a milder climate compared to the Alpine resorts of the region. In the city, however, one is fascinated by the imposing gods palaces, churches and by 'order and cleaning of Old Town. That's not all, because Salzburg is there birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: therefore, inevitably, art plays a fundamental role in tourism. Not only the musical one, however: also architecturally the city is a real jewel, to the point of deserving the Unesco protection to protect the magnificent testimonies of barocco e rococo. In short, Salzburg is the perfect destination for a stay dedicated to wellness and culture. Below we go to discover together the main city attractions. Happy reading.

1 Hohensalzburg Fortress

Very often the Hohensalzburg Fortress is the first thing you visit once you get to Salzburg. The "merit" is of Festungsgasse cable car (Festungsbahn) which, since 1892, has facilitated the achievement of this ancient fortified complex. It is one of the most striking symbols of that archiepiscopal power which for centuries has ruled the fate of the territory and of the entire Salzburg area. The first building of the castle dates back to 1077 on the mandate of the archbishop Gebhart I von Helffenstein, even if the works ended "only" 500 years later at the instigation of another archbishop, Leonhard von Keutschach. It goes without saying, in this very long period of time the building has undergone several adjustments, almost all dictated by the need to adapt the defensive functions of the manor to the progress that was gradually made in the military sphere. Briefly said about the story, let's get to the news: there are mainly two reasons behind the tourist success of the place. The first, of course, is the superb panorama, with a view of the whole of Salzburg, both the old part, dating back to the Middle Ages, and the new one, built mostly during the nineteenth century. The second reason is the presence of ben three museums (Museum of the Fortress, Ancient Arsenal and Museum of the Rainer Regiment) and, above all, of Rooms of the Princes on the third floor. Visiting these environments is an experience that does not leave indifferent even those who are fasting any notion of art history. For more information on the history, opening times and methods of visits, consult the website: www.salzburg-burgen.at. Finally one curiosity: not far from Festungsgasse there is the little one St. Peter's cemetery (Petersfriedhof) where many Salzburg aristocrats are buried, including Nannerl Mozart, sister of the most famous composer. If there is any way it is definitely worth a visit.

2 Hellbrunn Castle

To separate the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Hellbrunn Castle are only 5 kilometers, however the "conceptual distance", if we can say so, is much greater. If Hohensalzburg, in fact, was conceived with an eminent defensive function, Hellbrunnon the contrary, from the beginning it was thought of as fun place. To want its construction in 1612 was the prince - archbishop Markus Sittikus who entrusted the construction of the house to the Italian architect Santino Solari, to which Salzburg also owes the construction of the cathedral, which we will discuss more fully in the next point. Especially worth seeing are the gardens and the countless Water games scattered along the route: fountains, gushes e caves that, together with the neighbor zoo, about a kilometer away, greatly brighten the visit. For more information see i sites: www.hellbrunn.at and salzburg-zoo.at.

3 Salzburg Cathedral

Designed by the Italian architect Santino Solari, the Salzburg Cathedral it was consecrated in 1628 from city ​​bishop Paris Lodron. The church, a spectacular testimony of the Austrian Baroque, was built on the remains of two pre-existing sacred buildings. The first building dates back to 774 and a second late-Romanesque structure dating back to the XNUMXth century. The traces of these two early Christian churches are now visible in the crypt of the Salzburger Dom. Crypt which is just one of the things to see of this impressive church in the heart of Salzburg, capable of accommodating up to 10.000 people. To grasp the historical importance of the cathedral, as well as the attachment of the Salzburg people to it, it is enough to know that immediately after the bombings that destroyed the dome and other parts of the structure in 1944, efforts were immediately made to renovate what had been damaged. The restoration intervention took 15 years at the end of which, however, the Salzburg Cathedral regained the symbolic and material centrality that historically had always distinguished it. Also worth seeing square outside (Domplatz), stage of the most important city events: the Music Festival and Christmas markets during the Advent season. For more information, visit the official website: www.salzburger-dom.at (English version available).

4 Residenz Salzburg

Just 100 meters from the Cathedral of Saints Rupert and Virgil, Palazzo Residenz is another testimony of the immense spiritual and temporal power of the prince-archbishops of Salzburg. Although the first traces of this gigantic residence (approx. 180 rooms) date back to the 500th century, the current physiognomy of the building is historically placed in the early XNUMXth century under the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. It goes without saying, this does not at all mean that in the following centuries everything remained as it is. Indeed, each prince-archbishop has left his mark, determining that mixture of styles - Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical - which is the true figure of the building and the square all around (Residenzplatz). In addition to the most famous rooms of this immense mansion in the heart of Salzburg (Room of the Carabinieri, of the Council, of the Audience, etc.) the gallery on the third floor is worth a visit. In Residenz Galerie, in fact, there is an important one collection of paintings with the best of European art from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, especially Dutch and Flemish. It's not over, because 500 meters away, it's there Neue Residenz, the New Residential Building, with an important museum installation, “The Myth of Salzburg“, Which celebrates the cultural and tourist fame acquired by the city from the XNUMXth century onwards. For more information see i sites: residenzgalerie.at and www.salzburgmuseum.at.

5 Church of the Franciscans

If the Cathedral represents the institutional face of the Salzburg church, the Franziskanerkirche, on the contrary, embodies the feeling of popular faith. A feeling that, in this territory, in the heart of Austria, has a more austere and contemplative trait than in other parts of Europe. Not surprisingly, what strikes the visitors of the Franciscan Church of Salzburg most is the darkness of the nave, interrupted here and there by the rays of light that pass through the side windows. From the architectural point of view, however, this church, which seems to be even older than the Duomo, represents one miscellany of styles: together with late Romanesque of the nave, in fact, must be considered thegothic imprint of the choir and that Baroque of the main altar; the latter designed at the beginning of the 700th century by the architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. Brief notes, however sufficient to understand the historical importance of the Franziskanerkirche. A centrality symbolically reaffirmed by the grandeur of the bell tower, an essential element of the Salzburg skyline. To be seen! 

6 Mozart House Museum

As mentioned at the beginning, Salzburg is Mozart's birthplace. A timeless global icon whose fame knows no bounds and which, with his life and works, inevitably brought his birthplace to the fore. It is therefore not surprising that the house in which he spent all his childhood and part of his youth, al number 9 of Getreidegasse, both for many years now one of the main attractions of the city. Two factors explain its popularity above all: the ability of the environments to restore the everyday life of man as well as the artist and, secondly, the fact of being in the heart of the old town. Getreidegasse, in fact, is a street full of charm, with many shops - from traditional craftsmanship to high fashion - and an infinite number of architectural details relevant from an artistic and cultural point of view. For more information see the place: mozarteum.at (English version available).

7 Mirabell Castle

Like Hohensalzburg and Hellbrunn, Mirabell is another unmissable stop on a holiday in Salzburg. A triptych of castles whose visit allows you to retrace the deeds of the various prince-bishops who for centuries have governed the fate of the city. The first building of Mirabell Castle dates back to the end of the 500th century at the behest of the then archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Altenau. The palace, built beyond the city walls, was to be the residence of Salome Alt man's "secret" lover. In reality the relationship had nothing secretly, since the couple had 16 children! During the seventeenth century, however, they were Markus Sittikus von Hohenems e Paris Lodrom to commission major changes to the structure; trend that continued in the eighteenth century with the archbishop Franz Anton Horrach which impressed a decisive Baroque turn to the building. Unfortunately, however, very little remains of the Baroque vestiges. In 1818, in fact, a terrible fire devastated Salzburg causing considerable damage also to the Mirabell Castle which was subsequently rebuilt in a predominantly neoclassical style. That said, the castle and especially the garden are definitely worth a visit. Not to be missed!

8 Museum der Moderne

The Salzburg Museum of Modern Art consists of two parts: one is the "Collegium Rupertinum" baroque palace of the former seminary in the heart of the historic center; the other is the building inaugurated in the early '00s on the Mönchsberg, a hill that also “hosts” the Hohensalzburg Fortress (see point 1). Both venues host interesting thematic and monographic collections with the best of Austrian art of the XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries. The approach, however, is anything but nationalist. Indeed, in recent years, hand in hand with tourist growth, the museum's vocation has become increasingly internationalized, so as to meet the tastes and preferences of a very varied audience. For more information on the history, times and methods of visiting consult the place: www.museumdermoderne.at (English version available).

9 Salzburg Festival

Every summer - from the last week of July until the end of August -, Salzburg hosts one of the most important classical music and opera festivals in the world. A tradition dating back to the end of the nineteenth century which however found full continuity only from 1920, immediately after the First World War. Three eminent personalities focused heavily on the event: the director Max Reinhardt, the playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the composer Richard Strauss. And, on the latter as well, of course, on that Mozart focuses on part of the program that annually attracts music lovers from all over the world to the city. Adherence to tradition, however, has never prevented the artistic directors over the years from broadening their gaze and horizons to current events. The only real constraint has always been the high standard and the presence of the best of the world stage of the moment. The implications for tourism are also very positive. The concomitance with the summer favors, in fact, the presence of a more heterogeneous public than just fans. The most popular solution is the combination of a day tour in the magnificent scenery of the Salzburg lakes and an evening classical music concert in the heart of the historic city center. For more information on the history, the protagonists and the program of the Salzburg Festival consult the Official site: www.salzburgerfestspiele.at.

10 Boat trip on the Salzach River

At the end of a holiday in Salzburg you cannot miss a boat trip on the Salzach river. The opportunity to observe the city from one unusual perspective is the most intriguing aspect of this kind of experience and, even in Salzburg, as happens in all the cities where this type of attraction is present, there are different formulas: from the classic tour, to the evening tour, to the tour up to Hellbrunn Castle, perhaps returning by double-decker tourist bus. Well, we said it, now it's your turn. Have a good holiday!

1 Better to avoid (if possible) the first months of the year

Real contraindications for a holiday in Salzburg there are none. To limit, the only variable to consider is the weather. Not so much in relation to the rigidity of the climate which, among other things, as also mentioned at the beginning, is less rigid than the rest of the region, but rather to the very frequent atmospheric precipitation in the first three months of the year. This is, of course, a piece of advice to be taken with a grain of salt, since rain is not a big obstacle. To say, even December is a rainy and cold month, but the Christmas atmosphere abundantly repays the inconvenience. Things are definitely better in spring and summer, especially in August, the month that offers the most beautiful days. Not surprisingly, the Salzburg Festival we talked about earlier (see point 9) takes place in this month.

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