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Salzburg - 'The Rome of the North'?


Dec 12th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Salzburg - 'The Rome of the North'?

Listening to Rick Steves last night on the tube and he called Salzburg the Rome of the North.

Well I love Salzburg and it is certainly an ABC town - another bloody church at every turn but in no way would I ever call it a Rome of anything.

That said Salzburg to me is one of Europe's cutest cities - a Baroque wonder all harmoniously gone for baroque. I really like Salzburg and feel it is one place not to miss if in the area.

Yet lots of folks diss Salzburg as over hyped.

What do you feel about Salzburg?
PalenQ is offline  
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Dec 12th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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It's a cute enough little town. If a few musicians didn't happen to live there or pass through centuries ago, it would be a lot less hyped today.

Rome, with a population of 3 million in the city and 5 million if you include greater Rome can in no way be compared to Salzburg, with its population of 150,000.

Kind of like comparing apples to currants.
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Dec 12th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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I had a few days in Salzburg last fall (first visit) on my way to Slovenia. I had expected a super-touristy place, so my expectations were low. Even though rainy weather ruined many of my picture opportunities, I still found Salzburg a lot more charming than I expected. Nice squares and beautiful gardens but small enough to be manageable. I couldn't quite fall in love with Salzburg, but I did enjoy my visit and wouldn't mind stopping through again. I certainly liked it better than Vienna (which I found very pleasant but a tad dull).

I'm not sure what Rick meant comparing Salzburg to Rome, but I agree that doesn't make a lot of sense at face value. I'm personally not a big fan of Rome, actually...
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Dec 12th, 2011, 03:32 PM
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Salzburg is the Rome of the North, Lecce is the Florence of the South, Edinburgh is the Athens of the North and Beirut the Paris of the East.......
Not sure if any of the above makes sense.....
Salzburg is a nice city, but personally was never excited about it, even though i have been there many times.
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Dec 12th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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Agree that Salzburg is charming - but fail to see how is compares to a city that ruled a good part of the world for a millennium and formed the foundation of western civilization.

(But, then I have always thought that Steeeves was quite odd.)
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Dec 12th, 2011, 05:41 PM
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I can remember when Bucharest was affectionately known as "Little Paris" and when people in New York didn't think they were in the center of the universe.
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Dec 12th, 2011, 07:03 PM
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PalenQ, I believe that “the Rome of the North” moniker for Salzburg refers to its perpetuation of Catholic traditions in the 17th / 18th century when the more northerly countries of Europe became increasingly Protestant. Salzburg proclaimed its devotion by creating those lovely Baroque/Rocco (I believe that’s the style) churches which I love.

Certainly, the size of the Salzburg bears no resemblance to that of Rome – only its piety as represented by its ecclesiastical architecture. Particularly charming place when the sun is shining….
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Dec 13th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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It might astonish some on this forum, but for a substantial number of visitors, Rome's dominant attraction actually is the Baroque art and architecture that dominates Salzburg.

British universities often teach History of Art as if it started with the Renaissance, and Rome's pretty weak on the earliest Renaissance stuff so common in Florence. Classical ruins: well we see plenty of that in Greece or Turkey every year. All that religious stuff: well, it's fine for the Poles and Irish, but it's not exactly the way we do things at home, is it? And there's none of that nonsense about trying to find the authentic Fettuccine Alfredo. Delia's recipes are just fine and if we want to go out to eat, we'll find a decent curry.

A handful of us regard Rome as the cradle of most things that matter - but we're in a very small minority: I know lots of people who've been practically everywhere in Italy (or at any rate Chiantishire), but have visited Rome only to change trains between Orvieto and FCO.

They probably regard Rome as the Salzburg of the South, but without decent music or handy mountains to go skiiing in.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Nope no Sound of Music country in or near Rome even though Hadrian did have a lot at his Villa I guess and Nero fiddled, allegedly, whilst Rome burned.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 07:41 PM
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This moniker wasn't Rick Steves' idea. A google search brings up lots of references, including this one:


I also read somewhere before we went to Salzburg that the Residenzplatz was a Roman forum.
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Dec 14th, 2011, 01:34 AM
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Perhaps the original poster does not know more of the history of Salzburg - and may make more of the Rick Steves comment than was intended. It seems to me - the comment does not refer to architecture but rather other things.

Salzburg city and surroundings had a long history of being strictly ruled by the Catholic Archbishop / Prince.

They not just the head of the Church, but absolute Ruler too.

Salt trade , a most important commodity passed by this area - great wealth accumulated by taxes on this and other trading. An important area.

Mirabel Palace - an example of the time.

The Palace built by Prinz Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in the 1600s - for his mistress and mother of his numerous children.

Such was ther rule of the Archbishops- that in the 1700s- all protestants were banished by edict-

Most given two days to leave - unable to sell their possessions in a short time - taking only what could be csrried.
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Dec 14th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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Not weighing in on the Rome thing, but on the issue of what I think of Salzburg--I'm a very big fan. We've been in summer, fall and winter and it was beautiful each time. It makes a great base to explore from, and it has a fantastic toursim bureau that is still e-mailing me periocially years after I first connected with them--and drawing me back. It's compact enough to explore on foot and oozes charm at all points. We especially enjoyed it the year we were there after Christmas, including New Years Eve. Their ski bus system (organized by that wonderful tourism office) is efficient and reasonably priced. And after reading in some hip publication--like maybe Wallpaper--that Salzburg is on the top 10 list for New Years Celebrations, we went there for NYEve and were totally impressed. They pull out all the stops, including light shows on their Baroque buildings. Great place. I sure liked their NYEve spectacular better than Rome's.
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Dec 14th, 2011, 04:12 AM
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As a long-time lover of Salzburg and the surrounding area I take it as a cruel insult to be compared to a filthy, crude and chaotic place like Rome. Not a fan. Don't especially enjoy Paris, Munich, Madrid or New York for that matter. For me the beauty of Europe is in the countryside and the people, like my ancestors, who live out there. Salzburg is just the right size for a "city".
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