festung franzensfeste mit kapelle
festung franzensfeste mit kapelle

Fortezza Fortress

The impressive fortification in the Valle Isarco valley, one of the most striking fortresses of the Alpine area, dates back to the 19th century.

Along the Brennero state road, at the shores of the Fortezza Reservoir, there is the Fortezza Fortress - "Festung Franzensfeste" in German, "Forte di Fortezza" in Italian. It is one of the 11 Provincial Museums of South Tyrol, an entity that also comprises other museums such as the South Tyrolean Wine Museum in Caldaro and the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Bolzano. On an area of 20 hectares, this fortress was built under the rule of Ferdinand I of Austria in the period between 1833 and 1838 AD. The building comprises a giant labyrinth of rooms, corridors and stairways. The German name of the fortress, Franzensfeste, derives from Francis (Franz) I of Austria who ruled in the period when it was planned. The purpose of the Fortezza Fortress was to safeguard the traffic connection across the Alta Valle Isarco valley via the Brennero.

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.

Nowadays the complex can be visited in guided tours during summer months and features a museum. The permanent exhibition provides information about the history of this place and its surroundings - it ventures the guess that the hoar of gold of the Italian National Bank was hidden in this place in WWII - and forges a bridge up to the present days and the future. The fortress is also venue for various events such as the European Biennal of Contemporary Art Manifesta7 as well as some cultural events. And how to reach the Fortezza Fortress? It is located along the Brennero state road, and on the opposite side there's a huge parking space (subject to charge).


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€ 7.00 adults
€ 5.00 groups (min. 15 persons)
€ 5.00 students (up to 27 years), apprentices
€ 5.00 people with disabilities, seniors 65+
€ 1.00 school classes

free for children under 6 years

€ 14.00 family ticket (2 adults with children up to 16 years)
€ 7.00 family ticket mini (1 adult with children up to 16 years)

More information

Open on public holidays, closed on December 24, 25 and 31.

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