Berlin & Potsdam: From the Rococo to the Neoclassicism of Karl Friedrich Schinkel

This tour is currently sold out.

Covering two adjoining centers of stunning classical and neoclassical architecture built during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this exclusive tour is a firsthand opportunity to experience the glorious Rococo architecture and interiors ordered by, among others, Frederick the Great (1712-1786), the multi-talented Prussian connoisseur, patron, and practitioner of the classical arts during the Age of Enlightenment.

The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exclusive tour, which will also include visits to the influential neoclassical work of Prussia’s most famous architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841), who designed public and private buildings so important that his name conjures up a whole era in Prussian culture known as the Schinkelzeit, or the Schinkel period.

To ensure the safety of our community, the ICAA is requiring that all participants of its travel programs receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot (aside from those eligible for a medical or religious accommodation).

This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note that a registration form and deposit must be submitted to Classical Excursions and a confirmation of receipt must be received from Classical Excursions in order to be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $500 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. To inquire about registration for this program, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected] or 413-446-8728.

A fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. Please note that this donation is non-refundable except in the case that this travel program is cancelled by the organization. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.

Schloss Sanssouci, Bildergalerie, and Neue Kammern

The tour includes a private visit in Potsdam of the enchanting Rococo Schloss Sanssouci (Sanssouci Palace, 1747) and the nearby Bildergalerie (Art Gallery, 1764) and Neue Kammern (New Chambers or Guest House, 1747), all of which are found in the enormous Sanssouci Park considered to be one of the most beautiful palace complexes in Europe. Schloss Sanssouci, based on original sketches drawn by Frederick the Great, was the king’s private residence reserved for the arts (he composed and performed music here).

Chinesisches Teehaus

Included in the visit to Park Sanssouci is the lustrous and gilded Chinesisches Teehaus (Chinese Tea House, 1764), among the most glorious of the chinoiserie structures built in Europe during the Rococo period.

Neues Palais

The tour includes a stop at Neues Palais (New Palace, 1769), built to represent the power and prestige of Frederick’s reign, which has more than 200 richly decorated rooms.

Schloss Klein-Glienicke und Garten

The tour will stop along the banks of the Havel River to explore Schloss Klein-Glienicke und Garten (Klein-Gliencke Palace and Garden,1832), designed by Schinkel for Prince Karl, a member of the Prussian royal family. He had recently returned with his brother from Italy “richer in ideas than ever.” The architect first recast a small older building into an elegant neoclassical casino, extending it with long pergolas that overlook gardens on each side. He infused the villa with strong yet graceful classical proportions.

Romische Bader

In Berlin, the tour will include a focus on Schinkel’s neoclassical Romische Bader (Roman Baths, 1829-1840), a picturesque grouping of buildings including the Court Gardener’s House and intimate outdoor spaces that are connected by pergolas, all built for Crown Prince Frederick William, grand-nephew of Frederick the Great.

Schloss Charlottenhof

Also designed by Schinkel for the crown prince is the small, elegant Schloss Charlottenhof (1829) styled like a Roman villa with interior Pompeiian-style wall paintings by the architect and a striped Tent Room fitted out to resemble the inside of a tent. The Garden Hall features doors covered in red leather.

Schloss Charlottenburg

The group will also spend time at the massive Baroque Schloss Charlottenburg built originally around 1700 for the Hohenzollern rulers. Later extensions were ordered by Frederick the Great and constructed between 1740 and 1746. Its collection of superb interiors is without precedence in Berlin. The visit also includes a stroll through the palace’s royal park restored after World War II using 18th-century prints, including the French-style Baroque parterre.


In the Charlottenburg Palace Park is the Schinkel-Pavillon (1825). Originally called the New Pavilion, it was a summerhouse for Frederick William III. It now houses a permanent exhibition of important fine and applied arts dating from the architect’s era. This is a two-story neoclassical cubic building topped by a somewhat flat roof hidden behind a parapet. A balcony encircles the building on the second floor and provides a horizontal division to the exterior. There are nine rooms on each floor arranged in a simple grid pattern. The plan supposedly inspired Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for his design for the Villa Perls (1911) in Berlin.

Schloss Tegel

Schloss Tegel (1824) was the country seat of the great Berlin intellectual and cultural leader, Wilhelm von Humboldt, and his wife. Schinkel was given the commission to reconstruct a 16th century manor house in a more stately manner that suited the humanistic ideals of von Humboldt, as well as an appropriate backdrop for his collection of ancient antiques that he had purchased in Rome. Schinkel doubled the base of the house and added a third, gallery-like upper floor. When completed, the extraordinary house was reminiscent of Italian villas. Today the inside design remains almost unchanged.

Neue Wache

In Berlin, the group will explore several Schinkel buildings in the Unter den Linden and Gendarmenmarkt areas. Solemn and compact, the Neue Wache (New Guardhouse, 1818) symbolizes victory over Napoleon’s troops in 1815. The structure that was to serve the 100-man royal guard takes on a classical Greek form with Prussian restraint. Schinkel composed a Doric temple front with a portico, tympanum and roof parapet and massive corner pylons.


Schinkel’s masterpiece, the Schauspielhaus (Theater, 1818-21), is cruciform in shape, and with its double pediments, Ionic portico and high entry staircase, this temple to art blends stylistically with the German and French churches that frame it. Schauspielhaus was designed to include a two-storied concert and festival hall in the left wing, administrative offices and theater departments in right wing and the foyer, auditorium for 1600 seats and a stage in the center section.

Maxim Gorki Theater

The Maxim Gorki Theater (1827) was once a singing school or Sing-Akademie and also used as a concert hall. Paganini and Liszt performed here and Mendelssohn conducted Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the first such performance since the composer’s death in 1750. Built on drawings by Schinkel, its façade resembles a Roman temple with three bays divided by Corinthian pilasters.

Museum Island

The tour group will spend time viewing collections at some of the Europe’s most spectacular museums found on Museum Island. For example, the Altes Museum (Old Museum, 1830), one of Schinkel’s major works, faces the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden) also created by the architect. His design for the museum, considered one of the world’s most beautiful neoclassical structures, reinterpreted motifs from ancient Greece and Rome, including the important central rotunda based on the Pantheon. Galleries surround the rotunda. A monumental colonnade spans the full length of the entrance side and is supported by 18 Ionic columns. The museum today houses a magnificent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.


The itinerary also includes a private tour of the Bodemuseum (1904). The museum designed in a splendid Beaux Arts style and also located on Museum Island, houses a major sculpture collection dating from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century and an important collection of portraits, as well as the separate Museum of Byzantine Art.

What’s included

  • Overnight accommodations at the luxurious five-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin.
  • A private visit in Potsdam of the enchanting Rococo Schloss Sanssouci, the nearby Bildergalerie, and Neue Kammern, all of which are found in the enormous Sanssouci Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful palace complexes in Europe.
  • A visit to the Chinesisches Teehaus, among the most glorious of the chinoiserie structures built in Europe during the Rococo period.
  • A tour of the Neues Palais, with more than 200 richly decorated rooms.
  • A stop at Schloss Klein-Glienicke und Garten, designed by Schinkel for Prince Karl, a member of the Prussian royal family.
  • A tour of Schinkel’s neoclassical Romische Bader, a picturesque grouping of buildings, including the Court Gardener’s House.
  • A visit to the elegant Schloss Charlottenhof, also designed by Schinkel for the crown prince.
  • A tour of the massive Baroque Schloss Charlottenburg, built originally around 1700 for the Hohenzollern rulers.
  • A tour of the Schinkel-Pavillon in the Charlottenburg Palace Park, which was a summerhouse for Frederick William III.
  • A stop at Schloss Tegel, which was the country seat of the great Berlin intellectual, Wilhelm von Humboldt, and his wife.
  • An exploration of several Schinkel buildings in the Unter den Linden and Gendarmenmarkt areas, including the Neue Wache.
  • A visit to Schinkel's masterpiece, the Schauspielhaus.
  • A tour of the Maxim Gorki Theater, once a singing school and also used as a concert hall.
  • Visits to some of Europe's most spectacular museums on Museum Island, such as the Altes Museum and the Lustgarten.
  • A private tour of the Bodemuseum, designed in a splendid Beaux-Arts style, housing a major sculpture collection dating from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century.

Schloss Sanssouci (Wikimedia Commons/Ernstol)

Bildergalerie (Wikimedia Commons/Evionn)

Chinesisches Teehaus (Wikimedia Commons/W. Bulach)

Neues Palais (Wikimedia Commons/Andraszy)

Romische Bader (Wikimedia Commons/Alraunenstern)

Schloss Charlottenburg (Wikimedia Commons/Sir James)

Neue Wache (Wikimedia Commons/Ansgar Koreng)


How do I register for an ICAA travel program?

If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.

What does the required $500 donation fund?

Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.

Am I required to pay a $500 donation for each travel program I register for?

Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.

How do I make my $500 donation to the ICAA?

You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.

Do I have to be a member of the ICAA to participate in an ICAA travel program?

No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.

I don’t see the full itinerary for the tour I am interested in. When will it be released?

For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.

What kinds of trips does the ICAA offer?

Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations. The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected].