Castel Rondolo, which is an exemplary castle complex, rises on a porphyry rock high above the roofs of Bolzano.
Image gallery: Castel Roncolo
The Mediaeval castle is located in the surroundings of Bolzano and is located on a protected porphyry rock high above the Talvera river at the entrance of Val Sarentino. Castel Roncolo is particularly famous due to its mundane fresco cycle dating back to the Middle Ages. This fresco cycle illustrates authentic knight sagas, literature scenes, court ladies and life on the farm as well as haunting scenes.
In 1237 the original complex has been built by the Lords of Wangen. In these days the castle as well as its landlords belonged to the diocese of Trento. Towards the end of the 13th century the Bishops Heinrich von Trient and Earl Meinrad II of Tyrol had an intense quarrel. Based on the interesting position of the castle from a political point of view, the landlords were involved in these quarrels and the complex was invested. In this way the Family of Wanden did no more get their possession back and in the following years the castle was enfeoffed several times to different families.
In 1385 the wealthy merchants Franz and Niklaus Vintler purchased the castle. This family had it decorated with frescos in order to give utterance to their prosperity. Today these frescos represent the largest profane fresco cycle dating back to Mediaeval times. Moreover Castel Roncolo was equipped with components that facilitated life in those times. There is for example a pivy as well as a cistern for water storage. In 1390 the so called summer residence was built by order of Nikolaus Vintler.Also the facades and the interior of this building was decorated with frescos.
When Nikolaus Vintler died in 1413, the castle remained in possession of his family for a certain period of time, in the second half of the 15th century the castle passed on to the hands of Sigmund dem Münzreichen. From now on it continually kept changing hands, the castle was repeatedly changed and frescos and paintings added.
A gunpowder explosion in the southern part of the castle destroyed parts of the castle in 1520, including a circular wall and donjon, which had to be reconstructed. In 1672 a lightning bolt caused a fire which destroyed the east part of the castle, which has no longer been renovated. From the 18th century the castle kept deteriorating. Only when Josef con Görres recognised the value of the frescos and reported it to King Ludwig I of Bavaria in the 19th century, architects and artists started examining the paintings. Soon after parts of the north wall collapsed (1868) and destroyed great parts of the frescos.
In 1883 the Emperor Franz Joseph received the castle as donation of Archduke John Salvator, who solemnly donated it to the city of Bolzano in 1893.
Today the castle can be reached in a walk of half an hour and is one of the main attractions of the city of Bolzano. Particularly those who are interested in arts and history are attracted by the castle complex.
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Sent. Imp. Francesco Giuseppe - Bolzano
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