For those with an interest in medieval life this castle is an absolute treasure. There is not much for kids here, Anika enjoyed running along the ramparts until we were ready to move on. The castle is located just outside Bolzano going north on via San Antonio, along the Talvera river and opposite via Sarentina. Entrance is e8.00 for an adult and kids are free.
This castle is special because its owners in the 1300’s covered it inside and out with murals depicting secular life. It is the largest collection of secular medieval art in the world and its value is priceless.
There is a quiet beauty to the murals, many of which are very well preserved. One room is called the green room and is painted in many shades of green with motifs. Another room, the bathroom, is a beautiful ochre with wood plank floor and ceiling. The ceiling is painted dark blue with golden stars. The most amazing room depicted a joust, banquet, hunt and dance of maidens and nobles accompanied by minstrels. The clothes, large chests, trim waists, pointy shoes, funny hats, men in tights, are all that one imagines life to have been like. The enormous hunting dogs, bears, boar and stags, the knights jousting, feasts of food on banquet tables, its all brought to life with vivid colour and one of the first known uses of individualized facial expressions.
There are also depictions of heroes of the time, King Arthur, Godfrey of Jerusalem, Charlemagne, as well as biblical characters and knights of King Arthur. There is a mural of his round table too. One room is dedicated to the tale of Tristran and Isold retold in the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry in one long narrative frame.
The castle was once a fortress but later converted into a home. Its owners, wealthy merchant brothers the Vinters, who bought the castle in 1385 commissioned the works. It was painfully restored over the last ten years. I was particularly impressed with the wood work, beautiful doors, iron handles and latch locks, ornate carvings, enormous stone fireplaces and those classically medieval windows with little round glass panels in a lead frame. Beautiful!