Schloss Weißenstein is palatial residence in Pommersfelden, considered a masterwork of Baroque art. In 1710, Lothar Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Bamberg and Archbishop of Mainz, inherited the estate after the local family, the Truchsesse of Pommersfelden had died out. He ordered the construction of a palace as a private summer residence, paid for from his personal wealth. A team or architects including Johann Dientzenhofer, who had previously built the Fulda Cathedral, and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, the court architect of the Austrian Emperor Karl VI. The Marstall and park were designed by Schönborn's own court architect, Maximilian von Welsch.
The castle was built between 1711 and 1719 from local sandstone materials. The interior art was finished in 1723. After the death of Lothar Franz in 1729, the palace passed to his nephew Friedrich Karl von Schönborn who had the park expanded. A plan by Balthasar Neumann was however, only partially realized. In the early 19th century, the park was transformed from its original Baroque form into an English landscape garden.
During the Seven Years' War the palace was attacked and damaged by Prussian troops. Minor restoration work was done in the late 19th century. More recently, preservation work has been done in 1975 to 2003.
Today Weißenstein remains the property of the Schönborn family. It is considered a Baroque masterwork and the combination of exterior and well-preserved interiors gives it European importance. The palace and its park are open to the public.
The palace contains the largest private Baroque art collection in Germany, containing over 600 pictures. Baroque and Renaissance artists represented include Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt and Anthony van Dyck.References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.