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 its beauty and magnificent panoramic position
Still, from an art-historical perspective, the chapel in the inner courtyard is the heart of the castle, which probably was built in the 12th century. The chapel is called as “Sistine Chapel of the Alps”, because its walls are decorated with well-preserved Romanesque frescos. They are so special, because they do not only show religious scenes. So you cannot only see several biblical motifs, but also the “foolish virgins”, a “dumpling eating woman” and a rare hunting scene.
The chapel and Hocheppan castle are open for visitors (guided tours) daily in summer season. The rustic castle tavern is ideal for a small snack after visiting the castle or during an excursion.References:
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.