POINTS OF INTEREST
A baroque gateway and false moat lead to the wide courtyard that stretches along the front of Wilanów Palace, built between 1681 and 1696 by King Jan III Sobieski. After his death, the palace passed through various hands before it was bought at the end of the 18th century by Stanisław Kostka Potocki, who amassed a major art collection, laid out the gardens, and opened the first public museum here in 1805. Potocki's neo-Gothic tomb can be seen to the left of the driveway as you approach the palace. The palace interiors still hold much of the original furniture; there's also a striking display of 16th- to 18th-century Polish portraits on the first floor. English-speaking guides and audio-guides are available.
Outside of the Pałac Wilanów, to the left of the main entrance, is a romantic park with pagodas, summer houses, and bridges as well as a lake. Behind the palace is a formal Italian garden from which you can admire the magnificent gilt decoration on the palace walls. There's also a gallery of contemporary Polish art on the grounds. Stables to the right of the entrance now house a poster gallery, the Muzeum Plakatu that is well worth visiting—this is a branch of art in which Poles have historically excelled.