At the entrance to the Val Pusteria valley, an ancient Habsburg customs and fortification site can be visited.
Near the village of Rio di Pusteria (Mühlbach), an impressive fortress - "Mühlbacher Klause" in German, "Chiusa di Rio Pusteria" in Italian - whose history dates back to the 13th century can be admired still today. At that time the border between the counties of Gorizia and Tyrol ran here, which made the construction of a border fortress necessary. This "Old Fortress", in which the customs clearance of the goods transports took place, was located approx. 600 m west of the today's site. The present complex, the "New Fortress", was built in the 15th century. Some parts of the building were destroyed after a flood in the 18th century, the rest was preserved, but fell into disrepair when the actual purpose as a fortress and customs station ceased to apply.
The complex in its present form consists of a round tower, which shows the defensive character, a ring wall more than one metre thick, a guard's house and the dwelling with storerooms and armouries. Those who wanted to pass through had to pass the gate tower: the walls inside the passage were provided with loopholes. A second gate tower was located on the opposite side. Two other parts of the building are the Imperial Tower, which Emperor Maximilian I used for hunting stays, and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, which was mentioned already in 1472.
The Rio Pusteria Fortress Association, founded in 1997, restored the building in cooperation with the Province of South Tyrol, the Department for the Preservation of Monuments, the Südtiroler Sparkasse Foundation and the municipality of Rio di Pusteria. Today it is open to the public again. The fortress is also a venerable setting for private celebrations and public events. And how to reach the Rio Pusteria Fortress? It is located directly on the Val Pusteria state road, parking is available. Also the Pusterbike Cycle Route (San Candido - Brunico - Fortezza) is passing here.
Guided tours (45 minutes) Thursdays at 10 am and 2.30 pm, in high summer also Saturdays at 10 am.