The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral (also called La Rotonda because of its round layout) is a rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral standing next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy.
While some claims for an earlier construction exist, the earliest documents state the cathedral was built in the 11th century on the site of a prior church with a basilica layout. It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trent.
In the 19th century, many additions to the original medieval building were removed. The entrance portal is one later addition remaining. It contains the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, in honor of the beatified Brescian bishop.
Near the entrance, rests the sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi (1308) made of red marble. The Duomo Vecchio contains l'Assunta(1526) and St. Luke, St. Mark and the sleeping Elijah(1533 - 34) by Moretto da Brescia. It contains a Gathering Manna by Gerolamo Romanino and a Translation of the Bodies of Saints by Francesco Maffei.
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.