Rafenstein Castle

Bolzano, Italy

The romantic ruin of Rafenstein castle rises high above the city of Bolzano at the entrance of Val Sarentino. The complex was constructed in the 13th century by the Bishop of Trento Friedrich von Wangen in order to control the commercial relationship between north and south and in order to keep the sovereignty of Bolzano. As this is also where an important commercial road passed by, this castle in the Mediaeval and still in early modern times was rather significant.

In these days Castel Rafenstein was only composed of a great hall, a low donjon as well as a circular wall. Only in the 14th century an outer ward, a bastille and a southern wing were added to the complex. In 1357 the castle was owned by Franz von Ravenstein. As his son died very early, the possession was handed over to the Goldegg family, thereon it was bequested to the Weinecker family. From 1500 to 1599 Sigmund Gerstl and Hans Wueff owned the castle, afterwards the Earls of Wolkenstein took it over.

The most significant construction phase of Castel Rafenstein took place in the 16th century, when the Mediaeval complex became a late Gothic building. Only in the 19th century, when they did no longer inhabit the castle, it began to decay. After extensive stabilisation works and renovation works in the last years, the ruin of Castel Rafenstein is now accessible again to the public. Closeby there’s a restaurant, named “Schloss Rafenstein”, offering homemade South Tyrolean specialities.



Your name

Website (optional)


Via Rafenstein, Bolzano, Italy
See all sites in Bolzano


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

More Information



4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Isabel Biasion (19 months ago)
Die Lage ist schön. Service ist nicht freundlich (wir wurden weder freundlich begrüßt noch willkommen geheißen) es ist nicht normal dass die Gäste die Gastgeber begrüßen. Das Essen war durchschnittlich bzw. es wurde die falsche Bestellung gebracht(statt Rindfleisch, Kalbfleisch). Jedoch meldeten wir dies nicht da wir bereits 45minuten darauf warteten. Es ist normal dass viel zu tun ist, jedoch hatten alle um uns herum bereits gegessen. Leider bin ich ziemlich enttäuscht, war bereits vor 2 Jahren zu Ostern da und es war top. Aber heute kann ich dies leider nicht sagen! Wir wurden als Gäste nicht geschätzt und dies wurde uns auch mitgeteilt.
Andrea Gelmetti (19 months ago)
Posto incantevole, che domina la città di Bolzano. Per arrivarci abbiamo fatto una strada asfaltata, molto ripida, circa il 35% di pendenza (il difficile è stato scendere). Ci si può arrivare anche in auto, c'è il parcheggio. Si mangia bene ed i prezzi sono inferiori a quelli del centro di Bolzano. Ci tornerò sicuramente!
AndreA (20 months ago)
Piatti tradizionali cucinati con sapienza ... Vista meravigliosa... Trattamento del cliente un po' freddino... Ma anche quello è tipico
Ingo Amplatz (3 years ago)
Small but nice local spot,close to an old,medieval castle.tipical local,girolean kitchen,really nice sitting outside during warm and sunny days,probably the best wiener schnitzel i know
Jens Olsen (3 years ago)
This place has a beautiful view over Bolzano and is a very historical castle too. I will highly recommend that you visit it.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint Sophia Cathedral

The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.

The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.

The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.

There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).

The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.