The Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss) was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrich Wilhelm IV from 1851 to 1864. The architects Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse designed it in the style of the Italian Renaissance, after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence.
The middle building with its twin towers is the actual castle. This building is joined to the 103 meter long and 16 meter wide Plant Hall, with its almost ceiling-to-floor windows on the south side. In the western hall, the original floor duct heating system is still present and functioning. In the alcoves along the garden side of the castle annex, there are allegorical figures of the months and seasons. In the corner building at the end of the Orangery Hall were the royal apartments and the servants' quarters.
In front of the peristyle Elizabeth, Friedrich Wilhelm IV's wife, had a statue of the king erected in Memoriam after his death in 1861.
Behind the portico, in the middle building, lies the over two-story-tall Raffael Hall. It was based on the Sala Regia in the Vatican. Over a large skylight in the high clouded ceiling, light falls into the Museum Hall. On the red silk covered walls, hang over fifty copies of Renaissance paintings. Friedrich Wilhelm IV inherited the images from his father, Friedrich Wilhelm III, and brought them here together.
The royal apartments were outfitted in the second Rococo style, connected to both sides of the Raffael Hall. They were intended as guest rooms for Tsar Nicholas I and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. The Tsarina was the favorite sister of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Charlotte, who gave up her name along with her homeland when she married.
The gardens were styled after those of the Italian Renaissance by the garden architect, Peter Joseph Lenné. In the west, below the annex, he designed the Paradise Garden in 1843/1844. In it are many exotic flowers and foliage plants. The atrium, a small building in middle of the compound, designed in the ancient style, was built on plans by Ludwig Persius in 1845. The current Botanical Garden, with its systematically arranged planting, is used by the University of Potsdam as a teaching garden.
The Norse and Sicilian Gardens lie to the east. These completely different garden sections were laid out by Lenné between 1857 and 1860. The dark, effective Norse Garden, with its pines, was to have been an element of the planned triumph street. The Sicilian Garden, with its palm tubs, myrtles, laurels, flowers, arcades, and fountains, runs jovially southward.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.