Since 2003, Giovo Castle above San Leonardo in Passiria has been an interesting branch of the MuseumPasseier.
A majestic castle complex, although largely in ruins, still is enthroned above San Leonardo in Passiria: It was built in the 13th/14th century by the Lords of Passiria. In 1385 it passed into the hands of the Fuchs von Fuchsberg by marriage and became an important meeting place for minstrels and showmen. The castle was supposed to guard the strategically important route over the Giovo Pass, through which, incidentally, thousands of French soldiers invaded the Val Passiria valley on November 17, 1809 in order to conquer Tyrol. Their destination was Merano, but their campaign was stopped by the people of the valley: On November 22, the French capitulated under Major Dorell. Three French cannonballs from those days are immured in the main portal.
While the rest of Giovo Castle - "Jaufenburg" in German, "Castel Giovo" in Italian - was left to decay from 1738 onwards, the five floors of the castle keep with the Renaissance frescoes by Bartlmä Dill Riemenschneider (1538) have been preserved and can now be visited in summer. The coats of arms of the Lords of Passiria and Fuchs von Fuchsberg and some fresco remains are still visible on the keep. The last floor offers an impressive view on the Val Passiria valley up to the Merano basin. The tour is completed by information panels which tell the story of the Lords of Passiria and Counts Fuchs and explain the historical Shield Farms and their importance for the valley.
And how to reach Giovo Castle? It is located 3 km from the MuseumPasseier, from the centre of San Leonardo in Passiria (St. Leonhard in Passeier) a steep path (20-30 minutes) or the circular walk "Sonnenrundgang" (1.5 hours) leads to the castle. Alternatively it can be reached via a narrow access road. A little below is the late Gothic Church of the Holy Cross, which is also worth seeing.
Giovo Castle will reopen in June 2022 for the summer season.