Fortezza Fortress

Franzensfeste, Italy

Fortezza Fortress is one of the most striking fortresses of the Alpine area. On an area of 20 hectares, in the period between 1833 and 1838 AD, this fortress was built under the rule of Ferdinand I of Austria. The building comprises a giant labyrinth of rooms, corridors and stairways. The German name of the fortress, that is Franzensfeste, derives from Francis (Franz) I of Austria who ruled in the period when the fortress had been planned. The purpose of the Fortezza Fortress was to safeguard the traffic connection across the Alta Valle Isarco via the Brenner pass.

Partly 3,000 to 4,000 men were occupied with construction works at the same time. At the altitude of the caverns, munition was stored, while the lower part of the buildings houses the barracks. The two parts of the fortress were connected by a stairway with 433 steps, hewn in stone. Even if the fortification was actually designed for war purposes, it was never really involved in struggles. Still today, in the surroundings, there are several more pillboxes that were constructed around 1930 by the Italian army in order to once more fortify the Fortezza Fortress.

Today the complex can be visited in guided tours and features a museum. The permanent exhibition provides information about the history of this place and its surroundings. It also ventures the guess that the hoar of gold of the Italian National Bank was hidden in this place in WWII. Moreover the exhibition forges a bridge up to the present days and the future. By the way, the fortress today is also venue for various events such as the European Biennal of Contemporary Art Manifesta7 as well as some cultural events.

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Founded: 1833-1838
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Christian Lautenbacher (4 months ago)
We expected a castle with knights or exhibits, but didn't found any of it. Only naked Walls. That you should know
V. Augusto Valentini Milleri (5 months ago)
In summer there's nothing to really see. Huge work that obviously needs respect but it's an all empty fortress with not even some historical facts, or reconstruction. At least put a cannon inside or two uniforms and some detailed facts around the fort. All empty and takes forever if you really wanna visit. Shame that the upper can be visited only with guides and shame that there's no sign of the free parking. Bar was closed as well and there are not even some automatic seller for a bottle of water. Best part the Brenner tunnel exhibition, that's really interesting.
Renzo Titonel (2 years ago)
An historical location, a fortress that have to be visited once at least. Specially in winter time, while visiting in late afternoon, the little xmas market organised inside, combined with a classic music concert (held in a specific date) we've got a magic, nearly surreal impression, of all the surrounding!
Big Mike Wise (2 years ago)
A super cool place to visit!
Zoran Miladinovic (2 years ago)
unexpected fantastic experience. we must come again. did not have enough time to see all of it.
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