Palaces, Villas and Castles

The Episcopal Castle of the town of Brunico

The episcopal castle overtowers the roofs of the town of Brunico (Bruneck) as if still today it had to mount guard on the inhabitants. Bishop Bruno von Kirchberg had Castel Brunico – “Schloss Bruneck” in German – constructed between 1251 and 1288 AD in order to have his territory in the Val Pusteria valley protected. At the same time he also started building a town at the foot of this mighty building, which owes its name to the castle. Already in the 14th century, Castel Brunico was enlarged by Bishop Albert von Enn, who also had a circular wall built round the fortress. Under the rule of various other bishops the castle was repeatedly enlarged in the following centuries. Only the prince-bishop Christoph von Schroffenstein had the castle changed to a residence, giving it its present form. The late Gothic southern portal dating back to 1584, which once upon a time was only accessible via a drawbridge, represents the main entrance. Behind this gate a mighty donjon rises which is the most ancient part of the castle. Inside you can also see numerous coats of arms of the bishops who resided in Castel Brunico in the course of time. However, great part of the frescoes is dulled and no longer recognizable. Nevertheless the special atmosphere and several events every year attract a large number of peope to the hill above the town at the Rienza river. In 2011, Reinhold Messner inaugurated here his fifth of the six “Messner Mountain Museum”, MMM Ripa. This interactive museum is dedicated to mountain people and offers the permanent exhibition “The heritage of the Mountain”.

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