A fort at the site of Itter castle was first mentioned in a 1241. The previous constructions may have existed since the 10th century. The Brixental originally was a possession of the Prince-Bishops of Regensburg; the castle was an administrative seat of the Counts of Ortenburg in their capacity as Vogt bailiffs, it also served to protect the Regensburg estates from incursions undertaken by the neighbouring Archbishops of Salzburg. Nevertheless, the Brixental was acquired by Salzburg in 1312 and in 1380 the Regensburg bishops finally sold Itter to Archbishop Pilgrim II of Salzburg.
The castle was devastated during the German Peasants' War in 1526. In the 17th century, the seat of the local administration was moved to Hopfgarten, whereafter the premises decayed. After 1805 the castle was left to citizens who used it as a quarry.
The present-day building was erected on the foundations of the former one from 1878 onwards. Itter Castle was purchased as a residence in 1884 by Sophie Menter, pianist, composer and student of Franz Liszt. Liszt himself as well as young Arthur Rubinstein stayed at the castle, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestrated one of his compositions during a visit in 1892. Menter sold Itter Castle in 1902, it was again extensively remodeled in its present Tudor Revival style by later owners.
In 1943 Itter castle was transformed into a prison. Established to incarcerate prominent French prisoners valuable to the Reich, the facility was placed as a subcamp under the administration of the Dachau concentration camp.
After the war, the castle fell into disrepair until 1950 when Willi Woldrich acquired it and turned it into a luxury hotel. However, the hotel encountered financial problems and it was acquired by a holding company before it was sold to a private owner in 1985. Since that time, it has remained in private ownership and is not open to the public.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.