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An hour’s drive south of Augsburg, and half an hour from Füssen, the tiny Wieskirche in the village of Wies isn’t directly on the Romantic Road, but it’s a detour you should not miss. It’s one of the world’s most exuberantly decorated buildings, a true Rococo masterpiece.
     How did such a gem come to be built in this out-of-the-way spot? Sometime in the 1730s, it was noticed that in a remote mountain meadow, a rough-hewn statue of Christ being scourged before his crucifixion was crying. Over the next decade, pilgrims began flocking to the site, and eventually the great Dominikus Zimmermann (1685–1766), a Bavarian architect and stuccoist, and his brother, Johann Baptist Zimmerman (1680-1758), a renowned frescoist, were commissioned to create a proper shrine. They worked on the church from 1746 to 1754; Dominikus was so enchanted with his creation that he built a small home in the vicinity and spent the last decade of his life here.
    The rather sober façade of the little white church gives no hint of what lies within: A light-flooded interior with an enormous cupola, shimmering with a superabundance of woodcarvings, gilded stucco, columns, statues, and bright frescoes. The overall effect is to make the supernatural seem present, as indeed seems to be the case for those who claim to have been cured of various ailments while praying in front of the statue.
    If you’re driving, follow B17 to Steingaden; signs from there indicate the way 3km (2 miles) south to Wies. A bus heading for the church leaves Füssen six times per day Monday to Friday (once per day on the weekend); check the timetable at the station for bus information or ask at the Füssen tourist office. The church is open daily, except during services and guided tours, from 8am to 8pm in summer and 8am to 5pm in winter (www.wieskirche.de; tel. 08862/501).


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.