The Germans, despite that rigor that makes them famous and fearsome, can sometimes be bizarre and irreverent. It happens in fact that in the only city of the Germany in which a pope has been elected – l’amena Constance lying on the lake of the same name – decide to put the provocative forms of a prostitute on their business card, thus mixing the sacred and the profane, to the delight of visitors. Thus, even just browsing through the images of the town of Baden-Wurttemberg to figure out what to see on Lake Constance it is impossible not to come across the scantily dressed «Imperia», the statue of a buxom prostitute who holds in her fist, or rather, on the palms of her two hands, a deformed Martin V – the pope elected in 1417 in the Council that put an end to the schism of the West – and a grotesque King Sigismund. In short, a cheeky and prosaic admonishment. Even the most powerful men of the Middle Ages were slaves to the weaknesses of the flesh.
What to see on Lake Constance: the busty Imperia
Erected in 1993 by the artist Peter Lenk and became the symbol of Constance«Imperia» has the particularity of rotating 360 degrees so as never to show only the «side B» to those arriving from the lake or to those strolling along the port of the largest town overlooking the Bodenseeas it is called in these parts the third body of fresh water largest in Europe. And also given the size, it is clear that choosing what to do on the Lake Constance it’s never easy.
Lake Constance and its landscape
Germany, as far as kilometers of coastline are concerned, takes the lion’s share, followed by Swiss and fromAustriawhile the principality of Liechtenstein it is located a few kilometers away. Relaxing, pleasant, serene, peaceful: these are the adjectives that offer a faithful description of the landscapes that surround this vast lake divided between three nations. And traversed throughout its length by the Rhineone of the most important rivers in Europe.
Soft hills, very green meadows and well-kept woods, above which tower bell towers with the typical onion domes, or Baroque convents with soft colors like the enchanting one of Birnau immersed in the vineyards, they characterize the landscape around the Bodensee.
Villages and symmetries
The geometric precision of the German villages that you meet along the way (Uberlingen, Uhldingen or Meersburg, to name a few less known to international tourists) is capable of giving a reassuring feeling of order, efficiency and precision. One way to enjoy the lake in total relaxation may be to reach Radolfzellon one of the two smaller branches of the Bodensee, and take a sailing trip to the island of Reichenauknown for the Romanesque church of San Giorgio and for the excellent quality vegetables grown thanks to its very fertile soil.
The outlines of the horizon move a bit when passing from Germany to Austria, heading towards Bregenzthe town of Voralberg region nestled at the foot of over 1000 meters of the mountain Pfander with a magnificent view of the blue vastness of the lake, a real hallmark of this region.
Lake Constance and the city of the Council
Constance is the largest city overlooking the Bodensee, and owes its fame above all to Council which in the 15th century he elected Pope Martin V. The conclave took place in an ancient building – which still exists today – which overlooks the port and which is right in front of her, the irreverent statue of «Imperia». A more unique than rare case as regards a German town, Constance still retains a historic center with a medieval layout (the narrow streets of the district are absolutely worth a walk Niederburgless commercial and therefore more authentic), spared from the bombings of the Second World War thanks to the cunning of the residents.
The inhabitants of the town, on the occasion of the air raids, instead of turning off the lights of the houses and streets, left the city lit up by day, thus making it impossible for the plane pilots to distinguish it from the nearby Kreuzlingena town in that Switzerland never affected by the destructive madness of the Second World War.
In a city where history is breathed – here, in addition to the Council, the famous was also signed Peace of Constance in 1183 between Frederick I and the Communes of the Lombard League – the rich past full of anecdotes is easily offered to even the most relaxed visitor.
For example, entering the Rosgartenmuseum you can admire the Guild Hall, a Gothic-style room made in the 15th century in oak. A copy of the famous is also kept here Chronicle of Ulrich Richental, written around 1465, in which the Italian bakers are remembered who arrived in Constance with ovens transportable on two wheels to sell bread to the people who crowded the city at the time of the Council. In other words: on the list of what to do and see on Lake Constance there is also room for our more astute ancestors.
What to see on Lake Constance: from flowers to Neolithic stilt houses
After leaving the serene vivacity of Constance, the next obligatory stop to discover the sweetness of the landscapes of Bodensee it’s surely on the island of Mainau. Rightly known by all as the island of flowers. It is no coincidence that its dahlias, tulips and fragrant roses attract around 1.2 million visitors every year, who can reach the gardens, tree-lined avenues and restaurants both from the mainland and on board a comfortable boat which borders on the things to see on Lake Constance.
Dominated by an 18th century castle, the island offers different colors according to the seasons: between March and April the 250 thousand tulips and the 20 thousand orchidsbetween the end of June and the beginning of July 9 thousand roses they flood the air with a sweet scent, while between the end of September and October the 12,000 dahlias take center stage. Colors at will also in the pavilion dedicated to butterflies with flamboyant wings, while the intense green of the majestic ones metasequoias (a tree that survived the dinosaurs) shades some pedestrian avenues.
By boarding a boat, the island can be reached in less than 30 minutes Unteruhldingena small town which owes its fame to the discovery of pile dwellings inhabited from 3-4 thousand BC up to the Bronze Age, declared a World Heritage Site by the‘Unesco. To revive the experience of prehistory, a small village on the water has been built since the end of the 1990s. Inside some houses scenes of daily life are reproduced and some tools of Neolithic men are recreated.
Where airships are born
The town of Friedrichshafen (whose name means port of Frederick) is the airship capital of the world. This is where the Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin he began to build those futuristic cigar-shaped flying machines that still bear his name today. Lovers of the past cannot miss a visit to the zeppelin museum», housed in a piece of history: a stylish building Bauhaus dating back to 1933 and fortunately spared from the bombs that martyred the German town eleven times between 1943 and 1945.
The centerpiece of the museum is the 1:1 scale reconstruction of a section of the LZ129, better known as the «Hindenburg», the airship which in May 1937, while it was in the «landing» phase, burned down, killing 35 people. Pride of Nazi aviation, the «Hindenburg» was at the end of its umpteenth voyage between the Germany And Lakehursta town on the east coast of the United States.
For model lovers, the museum offers a very rich reconstruction of the numerous airships, suspended inside large glass cases, built from the beginning of the 1900s up to the 1930s. After years of oblivion following the tragedy that took place in Lakehurst, «zeppelins» have been built again since the 1990s. The latest models, for those interested, cost 15 million euros.
The Austrian shore, between music and Rolls Royce
BregenzAustria is dominated by the imposing Martinsturm, the onion dome built between the end of the 1500s and the early 1600s which dominates the tower attached to the church of San Martino. But what characterizes this city in a unique way is the huge floating stage on which the sets, musicians and actors take turns giving life to the Bregenzer Festspiele, a festival capable of attracting around 200,000 visitors to the lakefront every year. You don’t have to be a lover of opera to appreciate the works on the bill, as the mammoth mass of the screenplays, and the swirling plays of light, are able to enchant anyone.
Remaining in Austria, but moving away a few kilometers from the shores of the Bodensee, we arrive at Dornbirnan obligatory stop for two reasons: the panoramic restaurant built overhanging a wall of the Mount Karren (976 meters), and reachable both on foot and with a comfortable but dizzying cable car, and the Rolls Royce museum housed in an old textile factory. A treasure chest of four-wheeled masterpieces, the museum remains hidden in a valley, protected by woods. Inside, about seventy Rolls-Royce with their shimmering Spirit of Ecstasythe winged woman drawn by Charles Skyes that embellishes the bonnet of these cars that belonged to monarchs, heads of state, celebrities Hollywood and also dictators.
Only on one car it does not appear Spirit of Ecstasy: this is the 1937 Phantom III that belonged to the Queen Mother of England who used it as a parade car. In place of the winged woman is the coat of arms of St. George defeating the dragon. For the royal house, the producers of Rolls Royce will gladly have made an exception to the rule.