Castles & Palaces of Europe
Go behind the walls of the “stone giants” of aristocracy dotting the landscapes of the continent and learn how they continue to operate in modern day.
S01:E01 - Piedmont in Italy
From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the Dukes of Savoy surrounded Turin with a 'crown' of residencies. The Palazzo Reale, today houses ceremonial swords and weapons, while the shroud of Turin is kept in the adjoining cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The Reggia di Venaria, which was formerly a barracks during Bonaparte’s conquest of Italy, has been renovated, narrowly escaping ruin.
S01:E02 - Loire Valley in France
The former hunting lodge of Beauregard houses an astonishing portrait gallery. Straddling the river Cher, Chenonceau is also known as the 'Castle of Ladies', in reference to its successive female residents – Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis. The Garden of Love and Garden of Music enchant visitors at Villandry. And finally, Brézé houses Europe’s largest underground fortress.
S01:E03 - Baden Württemberg in Germany
Our journey starts with Hohenzollern Castle, the cradle of the last Prussian reigning family and a symbol of their power: an eagle’s nest, perched on a green peak. After a trip to a snail farm, a culinary speciality of Swabia, we discover Ludwigsburg Castle, a small pleasure pavilion that gradually became one of Europe’s largest baroque residences.
S01:E04 - Estremadura in Portugal
The Palacio da Pena dominates Lisbon and the Atlantic coast with its eclectic Moorish- and Rococo-influenced architecture. The library, inside the Palacio Nacional de Mafra, contains over 4,000 works. The red façade of the Palace of the Marquis of Fronteira, which survived the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon in 1755, conceals splendid azulejos, tile panels painted in shades of blue.
S01:E05 - Southern England
On the Isle of Wight, the baroque ruins of Appuldurcrombe House, bombed during World War 2, are famous for their ghosts. Over on the mainland, Blenheim Palace has gone down in history for more orthodox reasons: a gift from Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough in the 18th century, this building, which is imbued with history, is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
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