South Tyrol combines Mediterranean landscape with Alpine mountains and culture of Italy with German-speaking Austria. The romantic castles surrounded by pictoresque vineyards are waiting for you to visit, as well as Iceman Ötzi!
Tyrol Castle was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the whole Tyrol region its name.
The castle hill has been inhabited since ancient times. Several artefacts and one field of graves from the early Middle Ages have been identified. Archeologists have excavated a church with three apses dating from the early Christian period.
The first castle was built before 1100. The second construction phase including the keep dates to 1139-1140. A third phase of construction took place in the second half of the 13th century under Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol. In 1347 Meinhard"s ...
The bishop"s residence has been located in Brixen since the sixth century. Between 960 and 990 AD, Brixen supplanted nearby Säben as the episcopal see, and has retained its status since that time.
Brixen Cathedral is the highest-ranking church in South Tyrol, and historically one of the most interesting. Today, the cathedral thus reflects almost all architectural styles from the Early Romanesque. The original Ottonian building took on a new Romanesque design in the twelfth century, gaining a three-aisled nave with crypt and three apses in addition to two front towers. There were more ad ...
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology was specifically established in 1998 to house 'Ötzi', a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC. This is the world"s oldest natural human mummy. It has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) European culture. The world"s oldest complete copper age axe was found among his extensive equipment which also comprised a rather complex fire lighting kit and a quiver loaded with twelve arrows, only two of which were finished, clothing and a flint knife complete with its sheath.
The body is held in a climate con ...
The origins of Trauttmansdorff Castle go all the way back to the Middle Ages. The structure was first documented in 1300 as Neuberg Castle. The medieval walls are still visible on the southwest side, and the crypt dates from that period. The fresco room has also been preserved from the Renaissance period.
In the mid-19th century, Count Joseph von Trauttmansdorff bought the dilapidated building and renovated it using neo-Gothic elements. Trauttmansdorff Castle is thus Tyrol’s earliest example of a neo-Gothic castle. The next owner, Baron Friedrich von Deuster raised the east wing of the cast ...
Marienberg Abbey was founded in 1149 or 1150 by Ulrich von Tarasp and other nobles. It has maintained a long tradition of education and, at 1,340 m, it is Europe’s highest abbey. It retains a Baroque style with Romanesque elements, and has some well-maintained frescos.
The history of the foundation goes back to Charlemagne, who established a Benedictine monastery between 780 and 786 near Taufers, a town which on the Vinschgau side of the border with Switzerland. In 1149 or 1150 the community was re-settled on the hill near the village of Burgeis, under the name of Marienberg.
About one hu ...
Scena castle, also called Castel Schenna, has first been documented in 1346, but this refers to a forerunner of the building. Only Petermann from Scena, burgrave from Tyrol and minion of Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, had the castle complex built in 1350, the way it appears today.
In the years to follow the castle repeatedly changed hands. Among the famous owners there were the Lords of Starkenberg, the Counts of Lichtenstein and Archduke John of Austria. They inhabited the castle complex and renovated, changed and shaped it. Today the Earls of Merano, descendants of Archduke John of Austria, l ...
The Franciscan Friary in Bolzano was founded in 1221. According a legend, young Saint Francis accompanied his cloth merchant father, Pietro Bernardone, on a business trip to Bolzano. While there, the young Francis took Mass in the Chapel of Saints Ingenuinus and Erhard, and the bells rang out. The Chapel is today part of the friary complex.
However, the original structure was destroyed by fire in 1291 and the friary was rebuilt in 1322. In 1348 the Franciscan church belonging to it was ready to be consecrated.
The start of the 16th century saw a loss of discipline, notably with regard to ...
The Abbey of Innichen was founded in the 8th century and rebuilt in the 12th–13th centuries. Its collegiate church is considered the most important Romanesque building in Tyrol and the Eastern Alps and, it is home to a 13th-century sculpture and a fresco cycle from the same age in the dome.
The original abbey was founded in 769, when Tassilo III, duke of Bavaria gave to abbot Atto von Scharnitz some lands going from the current Monguelf to Abfaltersbach, provided that a Benedictine convent would be founded here, to convert the Pagan Slavs who had settled in the area. Of this original const ...
The symbol of Val Venosta is quite fascinating and rather like a fable. A solitary church steeple emerges half out of the clear waters of the 6 km long Resia Lake, against the majestic background of the wild Vallelunga Valley. However, the story behind this postcard-like image is far less idyllic and the romantic 14th Century church bears testimony to the irresponsible decision of the State to locate a dam there after the end of the Second World War.
As from 1922, Fascism had taken hold in Italy, including South Tyrol. In 1939, the Montecatini conglomerate began the construction of a of 22-me ...
Sigmundskron Castle (Castel Firmiano) is an extensive castle and set of fortifications near Bolzano in South Tyrol. The first historical mention of the castle dates back to AD 945. In 1027 Emperor Conrad II transferred it to the Bishop of Trent. In the 12th century it was given to ministeriales, who from then on were named the Firmian family. Around 1473 the Prince of Tyrol, Duke Sigismund the Rich, bought the castle, renamed it Sigmundskron Castle and had it developed to withstand firearms. Of the old castle there are only a few remnants left today, mostly located on the highest point of th ...
The Hocheppan Castle with its impressive donjon is located high above Missian, a district of Eppan on the wine route (officially Eppan an der Weinstraße). Until today, it ranks among the most important fortresses in Southern South Tyrol and has some surprises in store for art lovers, panorama fans and gourmets preferring proper meals.
The castle in the environs of Eppan was built in 1130 and was, already at that time, one of the mightiest aristocratic houses of the region. After an eventful history, the well-preserved Hocheppan Castle is an impressive witness of the Middle Ages, thanks to it ...
Haderburg castle (Castel Salorno in Italian) dates back to Middle Ages and is located on a soaring rock spur above the homonymous village. The castle marks the lingual border of German (or bilingual) and only Italian speaking inhabitants (South Tyrol and Trentino). The building is one of the most important monuments of South Tyrol.
Castel Salorno has been constructed by the Earls of Salorno in the 13th century. Thereupon it repeatedly changed hands, first the castle was in possession of the Lords of Tyrol, in 1284 the castle was handed on to Meinhard, Duke of Carinthia. In the 14th century th ...
Neustift Abbey is one of the most prestigious monasteries of northern Italy and Alpine region. It was founded in 1142 by the Bishop of Brixen. Buildings have been rebuilt and expanded several times until the 18th century. Neustift Abbey was dissolved by the Bavarian government in 1807. Today it is a convention center and ecological center.
The abbey, since its establishment, has been a place of shelter for pilgrims coming from Northern Europe and headed to Rome and the Holy Land.
Today you can visit the large Baroque church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which is full artworks halls. Th ...
The impressive Trostburg Castle in Valle Isarco hosts the South Tyrolean Castles Museum. This one of the most famous and splendid castles of South Tyrol is located on an eastern hillside on a natural rocky promontory. The history of the castle dates back to the 12th century - it has been mentioned for the first time in 1173 AD as place of residence of a certain “Cunrat de Trosperch” (Konrad of Trostberg), descending from the Lords of Castelrotto. At 1290 the castle was passed on from the Lords of Velturno to the Lords of Tyrol, who put the castle in pawn. For about 600 years the castle re ...
Fortrose Cathedral was the episcopal seat of the medieval Scottish diocese of Ross. It is probable that the original site of the diocese was at Rosemarkie (as early as AD 700), but by the 13th century the canons had relocated a short distance to the south-west to the site known as Fortrose or Chanonry. The first recorded bishop, from around 1130, was Macbeth. According to Gervase of Canterbury, in the early 13th century the cathedral of Ross was manned by Céli Dé.
The oldest part of the present ruin is north choir range of the late 1300s. This range is now free-standing but was once attached to the choir. The only other part still standing is south aisle and chapel, built in the late 1300s.
The cathedral ceased to function as such at the Protestant Reformation in 1560. The story goes that most of the stonework went to build Cromwell’s citadel in Inverness in the early 1650s.
Only the ground plan survives of the cathedral itself. All that remains above ground are two separate structures that once projected out from it. The older of the two is the two-storey building that projected from the north side of the choir. This housed the sacristy and chapter house at ground level, and perhaps a treasury and library on the more secure upper floor. Though never a wealthy diocese, the chapter comprised 21 senior clergy, called canons.
After the Reformation, the building was retained and fitted out as the burgh’s tollbooth (town hall and prison). The upper floor was adapted as the council chamber and court house, and the lower floor as a prison.
This elegant structure was added to the south wall of the nave in the late 1300s by Countess Euphemia of Ross (d. 1395). It was doubtless intended as a chantry chapel, where prayers were said for the countess’s soul. Her fine canopied tomb, with little left of its effigy, is built into the east arch of the chapel. Two other monumental tombs are of Bishop Fraser (d. 1507) and Bishop Cairncross (d. 1545).
The quality of the structure’s masonry is outstanding. It is evident in the fine stone vaulting and in what remains of the elaborate window tracery. You can also see this quality in the internal fixtures such as the piscina in the chapel, where the vessels used at Mass were ritually cleansed.
As with the north choir aisle, alterations were made after the Reformation. The most obvious of these was the addition of a clock turret above the stair tower.
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