Map of Avesnes

Map of Avesnes for Opposite, past the ticket office, is the main staircase, completed in 1680 with a barrel vault and, on the walls, large stucco crests. At the top, the Sala delle Medaglie (room 3) is named after ten gilded wooden tondi on the walls. This was used as a banqueting chamber; a Murano crystal chandelier (1769) hangs above. On one side is the Sala del Trono (Throne Room); on the other is the Salone (room 5), the largest room in the palace, three storeys high, with pillars supporting the dome vault. The colour scheme is stunning areas of white stucco interspersed with fields of turquoise with windows that look out over the water. Beyond the Sala della Musica is the Sala di Napoleone (room 7), where the great man slept with his wife Josephine during a stay in 1797. A sequence of smaller rooms extends round to room 12, the Stanza dello Zuccarelli, named after the artist who has several landscapes displayed here, alongside three sixteenth-century English tapestries. After room 14, the grand Sala da Ballo (Ballroom), stairs descend to six grottoes (rooms 15 20), facing north down at the water level, each of which has walls, ceiling and floor covered by decorative patterns and mosaics in coloured stones. They were intended to be retreats from the summer heat, and the effect is rather like exploring your way through dark, naturalistic caves a mirror-image of the formal, furnished rooms above. Map of Avesnes 2016.

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