Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Into Austria: Ambras Castle

More on the Spring Trip that never seems to end. I promise we're nearly there!

The city of Innsbruck, Austria

After our day in Verona and overnighting in Trento, Italy, we drove on to Munich. Our trip took us through Austria around lunchtime and thanks to our GPS we stumbled across this gorgeous place in Innsbruck.


Ambras Castle, or Schloss Ambras as it's known in German, was built by Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria in the 1560s for his wife Philippine.


There's a bit of a love story here as Philippine was untitled and not considered suitable for Ferdie II by his father, Ferdinand I.  They were only allowed to marry on the condition it was kept secret and she become his morganatic wife (which meant she and their children had no claim to any of his titles or property).


But marry they did and he built this gorgeous castle for her, out of the public eye. They had four children together and although she died before him and he married again (a woman of suitable rank*), his wishes were to be buried alongside Philippine. *sigh*


The castle is set in beautiful grounds, both manicured gardens and more bush-type trails through the forest which the kids loved (especially the playground we found).  There was also plenty of avian life around the grounds: ducks, water fowl, peacocks and hens and some honking big geese (which I avoided because they looked a bit feisty).


Also found - this grotto. I think Ferdinand II was a bit of a righteous dude as he had the grotto built to play drinking games with his guests.


There is a restaurant (shown below, next to converted stables) where we had a nice meal sitting outside, and also a museum which looked very interesting but unfortunately we didn't have time to explore.


Kids and grown ups of all ages would love this place - we would certainly recommend it.


*His second wife was Anne Catherine, his sister's daughter (i.e. his niece). Eww. They married when she was 16 and he was 53. Double eww.


Marg said...

Great post. I give up, I've tried three times to leave a comment and it keeps on closing on me, so no scintillating comment, just simply it's a great post.

michelle said...

Phiilipine must have been some chicly babe. I liked Ferdie a lot when i saw that schmicko little house that he built for his fam but i kind of went off him a bit when i read about his close family relationships ewww for sure.
but truly ace pics and post kirsty

Anonymous said...

Love your photos! This place is amazing! And thanks for giving all the background! Interesting!
Google isn't letting me sign in so I have to leace this as anon. Aloha, DianeY

blandina said...

I love reading about your trips. This castle is amazing, maybe because you pictures are beautiful. And a little history lesson is not bad!

Anonymous said...

I won't be sorry when your holiday pics run out. I love them.
PS Still have to post as "Anonymous" - Google won't let me sign in. Lauren

Anonymous said...

Google has me frazzled! My previous post should read "will be sorry".

knitalatte said...

Giggles to your double eww, cracked me up. What a beautiful estate. I imagine walking thru the gardens is like walking back in time. How fun for you and your family to have spent time there. I love your tulip photo had to go over and fav on flickr.

Cally said...

Great post - it looks beautiful there and that's an impressive photo of Innsbruck :)

Dianne said...

I'm so loving travelling with you and those mountains in the top pic are so... majestic!

Eva said...

Oh, I got a lot of catching up to do here! Beautiful pictures, the castle grounds look lovely! Those drinking games sound a bit scary, though, not to speak of the incest part ...

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