Runkelstein Castle (Castel Roncolo) is a medieval fortification on a rocky spur near Bolzano. In 1237 Alderich Prince-Bishop of Trent gave the brothers Friedrich and Beral Lords of Wangen permission to construct a castle on the rock then called Runchenstayn.
In 1274 it was damaged during a siege by Meinhard II of Tirol, who after winning the war against Heinrich Prince-Bishop of Trent, entrusted the castle to Gottschalk Knoger of Bozen. In 1385 the Niklaus and Franz Vintler wealthy merchant brothers from Bozen bought the castle. Niklaus was counselor and financier of the Count of Tyrol, Leopold III, Duke of Austria, which allowed them to buy the castle a type of residence unfitting in this time for people of their rank. The brothers Vintler commissioned a vast restructuring of the castle: a new defence wall, moat, a cistern and more rooms were built. In 1390 the construction of the Summer House began. The house was painted with frescos, for which the castle is most famous today, inside and outside. The family also commissioned the frescoes in the Western and Eastern Palace.
In 1407 the monetary conflict between Frederick IV, Duke of Austria, Count of Tyrol and wealthy Tyrolean noble families resulted in open war. The Vintlers were drawn into these disputes and Runkelstein was besieged. Niklaus, who had allied with himself with the nobles in the 'Hawk League' lost all his wealth and possessions. His brother Franz, who had allied with the Duke remained owner of the Castle until Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, acquired it.
The Habsburg family owned the castle until 1530. Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I gave order to renovate the castle. He furnished his apartment and commissioned a restoration of the frescos. He also ordered his Coat of Arms to be prominently displayed in the castle. Around 1500 Maximilian gave the castle to his vassal Georg von Frundsberg. He entrusted the care of the castle to a vicar. In 1520 the powder magazine on the groundfloor of the tower exploded. The explosion damaged parts of the outer wall, entrance and Eastern Palace and destroyed the tower. Afterwards the castle was neglected until King Ferdinand I bestowed it in 1530 to Sigmund von Brandis, Knight Commander of Bozen.
Later the Prince-Bishop of Trent obtained the castle anew and Prince-Bishop Bernhard von Cles gave it as a feud to the Counts of Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn. In 1672 a fire destroyed the eastern palace, which was never rebuilt. In 1759 the last Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn gave back the fief to the Trentine bishops. At the time the castle was in grave decay.
During the Romanticism period in the early 19th century romanticists rediscovered Runkelstein. Johann Joseph von Görres, a German writer was the first to come and was soon followed by the many artists in the service of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In this time the castle became a symbol for the Romantic period. In 1868, the northern wall of the Summer House collapsed, but in 1880 the castles fortunes changed: Johann Salvator Archduke of Austria bought Runkelstein and gave it as a gift to Emperor Franz Josef in 1882. The emperor commissioned Friedrich von Schmidt to restore the Castle and after the restoration donated it to the city of Bozen in 1893. The last restoration, including a careful restoration of the frescos was carried out in the late 1990s.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.