Echoes of distance Italy north of the Alps – the Czech Renaissance.
Oldest portal and most beautiful courtyard
Arcaded courtyards, sgrafito decorations, richly-formed gables with attics, beamed or panelled ceilings and decorated portals are the most common features of the jewels of the Czech Renaissance. The oldest Renaissance portal, built in 1492, can be found at the chateau in Moravská Třebová. The grand arcaded courtyard bears comparison with the best. See for yourself at, for example, the chateaux in Opočno, Bučovice and Velké Losiny – and while you’re there, stop by at the local spa, which has been treating a variety of complaints since the Renaissance. Also worth a look is the picturesque Renaissance Kratochvíle Chateau, Grabštejn Castle and the imposing chateau in Horšovský Týn, the chateau in Jindřichův Hradec and Nelahozeves.
Through urban lanes to the summer palace
The Renaissance also changed the face of many towns in the Czech lands, with town halls, palaces, urban houses, towers and gates all being built. Exquisite, historic town centres full of richly decorated Renaissance dwellings can be seen in Slavonice, Třeboň and Prachatice. The Renaissance in all its glory can also be seen in the Palace Gardens at Prague Castle, including Queens Anne’s Summer Palace, surely the most beautiful renaissance structure in Central Europe. You’ll also like the remains of the old Renaissance garden in front of the palace, the giardinetto, centred on the bronze Singing Fountain, the oldest extant fountain in Prague and also a fascinating work by the master bell founder, Tomáš Jaroš, whose workshop was located in the Mihulka Tower.