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, live in and cultivate the castle complex.
Via a bridge you can reach the entrance and by passing the oubliette you come to the inner courtyard. In the inside you can visit lordy rooms, a Renaissance hall with faience oven dating back to the 18th century, a painting gallery and a weapons collection dating back to the 12th to the 19th century, as well as the biggest private Andreas Hofer collection. Part of the castle is also a mausoleum in neo-Gothic style, in which Archduke John and his family were entombed. Curiosity: Castel Scena is one of the fews castles in the surroundings of Merano which has never been abandoned and so it never began to decay.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).