Prince Bishops of Brixen commissioned the construction of their fortified castle (called Hofburg) in Brixen in the 13th century. The following centuries brought about numerous revisions to the structure. Around 1600 the splendid renaissance-style interior courtyard was created and decorated with bronze-overlaid terracotta statues by Hans Reichle, the celebrated sculptor from Augsburg. During that same period, the meeting rooms of the grand chancery were decorated with ample heraldic adornments.

Around 1706 Caspar Ignaz began the Baroque style renovation of the palace. It was then that the bishop’s chapel and the imperial wing with its majolica stoves were built; and the ceilings adorned with either paintings by Kaspar Waldmann and Antonio Gresta, or lavish plaster embellishments. Tapestries and the historic furnishings were added as well. In keeping with the fashions of the time, one room was converted into a Chinese cabinet.

Today Hofburg houses the diocesan collection of sacred artworks from the Romanesque period to the Modern age, the treasures of the cathedral of Brixen/Bressanone, works by 19th century Tyrolean artists, a collection of cribs and special exhibitions.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andrea Credaro (8 months ago)
A nice museum with a very varied collection up to modern art. The section dedicated to nativity scenes is very particular and remains open all year round. To improve the use of the various parts of the collection, which is not easy to visit.
Giovanni Medeot (9 months ago)
Very nice, but closed a whole floor during the winter season. Without guides and with bestial cold inside. Something more could be offered, but there appears to be very little influx.
James Galea (20 months ago)
I went to the cathedral on the 6th in January 2017. L epifania. They were celebrating this feast with a mass concert written by Charles Gounod. It was the best moment of my holiday. Like being being in heaven. What’s more it was free of charge. People are friendly even though the refuse to talk italian. Loved it.
Nilantha Bandara (3 years ago)
Wonderful memories. The best place to go if you are in Bressanone to view Baroque style art.
Nilantha Bandara (3 years ago)
Wonderful memories. The best place to go if you are in Bressanone to view Baroque style art.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.