Any walking tour of Innsbruck should start at the Goldenes Dachl, which made famous the late-Gothic mansion whose balcony it covers. In fact, the roof is capped with 2,657 gilded copper tiles, and its refurbishment is said to have taken nearly 31 pounds of gold. The house was built in 1420 for Frederick IV as the residence of the Tirolean sovereign. The legend persists that he added the golden look to counter rumours that he was penniless, but the balcony was, in fact,
added by Emperor Maximilian I in the late 15th century as a "royal box" for watching various performances in the square below. He had the roof gilded to symbolise the wealth and power of Tirol, which had recently undergone massive financial reform. The structure was altered and expanded at the beginning of the 18th century, and now only the loggia and the alcove are identifiable as original. Maximilian is pictured in the two central sculpted panels on the balcony. In the one on the left, he is with his first and second wives, Maria of Burgundy and Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan; on the right, he is pictured with an adviser and a court jester. The magnificent coats of arms representing Austria, Hungary, Burgundy, Milan, the Holy Roman Empire, Styria, Tirol, and royal Germany are copies. You can see the originals (and up close, too) in the Ferdinandeum. The Golden Roof building houses the Maximilianeum, a small museum that headlines memorabilia and paintings from the life of Emperor Maximilian I. The short video presentation about Maximilian is worth a look.
Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15, Innsbruck, Tirol, A-6020, Austria