Countries Germany Dresden Cultural Tours

Dresden: The Florence of the North

Thomas Abbott
Thomas Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied his Masters at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th century. He has a been a resident of Berlin since 1987 and has successfully led cultural tours for many years across Europe.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways to Berlin
  • 4 nights accommodation in the luxurious, 5-star Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski
  • 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners (lunch and dinner with wine, water and coffee included)
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of Clare Ford-Wille and Thomas Abbot throughout
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of
walking, standing and use of stairs.
Inspirational tours frequently booked together
Founded by Augustus the Strong in 1723, it features a rich variety of exhibits from the Baroque through to Classicism. It is named after the formerly malachite-green painted column bases and capitals of the initial rooms.  The official name of the suite of rooms, which was protected against fire and robbery by thick walls, iron shutters, and doors, was "Privy Repository". 

Today,  the collection consists of more than 4,000 pieces, with almost 1,100 in the New Green Vault and about 3,000 shown in the original Historic Green Vault. The rooms are on the first and second floor of Dresden Castle. 
The Albertinum houses an extraordinary collection of art. The first work visitors encounter is Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. Key Romantic painters such as Carl Gustav Carus, Johan Christian Dahl, and Ludwig Richter are on display alongside French and German Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Max Liebermann. 

Collections of international Expressionists, such as Oskar Kokoschka, or German, such as members of the Dresden artist group Die Brücke: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and others are on view. Time is allowed for personal exploration of the Albertinum.
In 1542, Duke Maurice of Saxony built a hunting lodge in the Friedwalk Forest to take advantage of the rich wildlife. 
Almost two centuries later, the Elector Augustus the Strong had the castle converted into a Baroque hunting and pleasure palace which is how the castle remains. 

For centuries European royalty had imported fine porcelain from China. Keen to start manufacturing their own, it was in 1708 in Meissen that Europeans finally cracked the secret of making porcelain. Ever since 1710, Meissen has been producing 
The Pillnitz Castle complex consists of three main buildings, the Riverside Palace on the riverfront; the Upper Palace on the hillside, both Baroque with Chinoiserie elements; and the later Neoclassical New Palace, which links them together on the east side. The buildings enclose a Baroque garden and are surrounded by a large public. Today, the palace houses the Arts and Crafts Museum of the Dresden State Art Collections and a Palace Museum.
A cultural holiday to Dresden unveils the incredible art collections it holds, some twelve museums that are just extraordinary. Holiday to Germany on this Sapienza Travel small group art history cultural tour of Dresden to discover the baroque splendour of this city.

Dresden spans both banks of the River Elbe, where its distinctive architecture creates a skyline captured on canvas by Bernardo Bellotto in the early 18th century. The city is today the capital of the Freestate of Saxony, yet it has always had a history of being a capital city. In the early 17th Century it was the capital city and royal residence for the electors and kings of Saxony, who lavished their artistic patronage on the city.

Today, Dresden has gained a reputation as the ‘Florence of the North’ because of the sheer wealth of art and architecture. There are twelve museums alone, whose collections easily rival those of Florence, London, and Madrid. The rich architecture of the city, especially that of Baroque and Rococo design as earned the city the title ‘The Jewel Box’. Yet, Dresden was at the forefront of modern art too and the city holds a treasured collection of German modernist paintings. In fact, the city was at the forefront of European modern art up until 1933.

This Sapienza Travel tour to Dresden and its surrounding towns takes in the Meissen porcelain factory and museum where porcelain was first successfully produced in Europe in 1708. We explore these vast riches in buildings that have been rebuilt and restored to their former glory. We stay at the Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski Hotel which was itself a former palace.
Arriving in Berlin late morning, we take our coach south to Dresden where we enjoy a late lunch together before a tour of the Albertinum with its world-famous collections of Caspar David Friedrich’s and German Expressionist paintings. Later, we check-in to our hotel where we enjoy dinner together.
After breakfast, we walk to the Zwinger Complex and enter the Gemäldegalerie gallery of Old Masters, home to Raphael’s Sistine Madonna amongst them, where we spend the morning. After lunch, we explore the beautiful collection of delicate porcelain from China, Japan and Meissen in the Porzellansammlung. We enter the Catholic Court Church to see Morchi’s Baptismal Font, Permoser’s Scourged Saviour and Meng’s Resurrection.  We walk past the enormous exterior wall mural, the Procession of the Princes, on our way to visit The Church of our Lady, an outstanding example of sacred Protestant architecture. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Our day is devoted to Dresden Palace, centre of power for the princes and kings of Saxony from the 14th-century until it first burned down in 1701. Today, the palace has been rebuilt to its original splendour, with the glorious English Stairway having opened in 2010. We visit the Historic and New Green Vaults, founded by Augustus the Strong in 1723 which contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Shimmering crystal vases, gems arranged by colour and extraordinarily decorative malachite walls. After lunch lies the world-famous Turkish Chambers and the Armoury. We dine together this evening.
In 1708, white porcelain was, for the first time, successfully created in Europe, in Meissen. Two years later the factory was founded and has been producing its ranges of fine porcelain ever since. This morning, we spend our time touring this factory. After lunch, walk up to the Cathedral of Meissen for a short visit of this 13thC cathedral emphasising the sculptural program of the “Master of Naumburg”. We then drive to Moritzburg Palace to see the stately rooms and then the Porcelain Quartier Rooms and the Fasanenschlosschen, both by special permission. We dine together on our last evening.
Following breakfast, we drive through the southern art nouveau and modernist districts of Dresden, on our way to Palace Pillnitz, a baroque castle sitting on the banks of the River Elbe. Inside, we step into the Catholic Church with its highly decorative fresco cycle by the court painter, Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein, depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. Catholic Church and walk up to higher floors to view the decorative art collection ranging seven centuries. Chief amongst this collection is the throne of Augustus II. We will then drive to Berlin for our return to London, arriving in the late evening.
Sapienza Travel has reserved rooms in the same category for your stay at the Hotel Taschenbergpalais. Please contact us if you would like a quote for higher category rooms or suites

Flights - If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us and we will provide a price for the upgrade.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.

Prices - 2 sharing £2,195 per person (£2,005 without flights) Single occupancy £2,495 (£2,305 without flights)
Thomas Abbott
Thomas Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied his Masters at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th century. He has a been a resident of Berlin since 1987 and has successfully led cultural tours for many years across Europe.
Clare Ford-Wille
Clare is an independent art historian. She has led study tours to Europe and lectured on European art, architecture and sculpture for more than thirty years, primarily for the University of London, the National Gallery, the V&A and NADFAS. She has also contributed to several academic guides.
Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski
The Taschenbergpalais was built between 1705-1708 for the Saxon king, August the Strong, as a pledge of love to his mistress, Countess Anna Constanze von Hoym  The building was faithfully restored in 1995 when it opened as the first 5-star hotel in Saxony with 151 rooms and suites. Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski Dresden is a beautiful combination of historic glory and contemporary elegance. The Taschenbergpalais has its own spa lounge. You will enjoy dinner in the hotel on arrival in Dresden.
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Thomas Abbott
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Charles Barber
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Veronique Biddell
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Graham Harris
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Christina Helmsley
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