Schloss Wolfegg is a Renaissance castle and the ancestral seat of the house of Waldburg-Wolfegg, which still owns it today. The main building of the castle consists of four wings arranged in the shape of a rectangle with towers in the corners. Its exterior design and layout dates back to Truchsess Jakob II. of Waldburg (1546–1589) and his wife Johanna (1548-1613). After a fire in 1578 destroyed an older building, they built a new castle. Parts of it however were destroyed in 1646, when Swedish troops under Carl Gustaf Wrangel ransacked the place near the end of the Thirty Years' War and laid fire to it.
Since the owner Maximilian Willibald of Waldburg-Wolfegg was short of funds, the restoration of the castle was delayed until 1651. From 1691 to 1700 the sculptor and plasterer Balthasar Kimmer of Wangen (1653–1702) redesigned the interior of the rooms with official and representative functions. In the 18th century some of the guest rooms were decorated in Rococo style. Towards the end of the 19th century the castle was extensively renovated again. The dining rooms received a new interior design and the castle's chapel was remodeled in a Neo-Gothic fashion.
Today the castle, which is still occupied by members of the Waldburg-Wolfegg family, is usually not accessible to the public. However once or twice a year public concerts are performed within the castle during which concert visitors can see some of the castle's inner room, in particular the Rittersaal (knights' hall). The Rittersaal is a large hall decorated in Baroque style featuring 24 life-sized wood sculptures and large ceiling mirrors. It is considered to be one of the most original room designs of the Baroque period in Germany. In addition to those rooms being used for concerts guided tours through other parts of the castle might be offered at that occasion.
The castle also hosts the Wolfegger Kabinett, a large collection of graphic art from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods. In an edition of 1,000 issues the wall map of the world by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann was printed in early 16th century, where the continent and the name America appeared for the first time, originally published in April 1507. On account of the stormy development of the cartography in this epoche these specimens were fast outstripped by more detailed editions, so that the original edition fell quickly out of use and all issues got lost over time.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.