Between two rivers, on top of a rock called Monte di Mezzo, standing sentry over the city of Bolzano and surrounding valley stands the Castel Firmiano. Its name in German is Schloss Sigmundskron. Not much is left of the original structure, but it is still a good example of pre-10th century Tyrolean fortresses. The castle is the seat of the Messner Mountain Museum.
Castel Firmiano Bolzano
Opening hours: From the 3rd Sunday in March till the second Sunday in November from10.00 till 18.00. Closed: Thursdays. Address: Via Castel Firmiano 53, I-39100 Bolzano. Admission: 12 Euros (children age 6-14: 6 Euros; students, 65+, disabled: 10 Euros; family-ticket: 26 Euros). Phone: +39 0471 631264. Directions: 20 Minute walk from Ponte Adige.
History and description
The Castel Firmiano already existed in the year 945, although under the name Formicaria. It got its German name, which means “Crown of Sigmund” from the Tyrolean count Sigismundo il Danaroso, which is Italian for “Sigmund the Wealthy”. Sigmund the Wealthy bought the castle in 1473 and was almost immediately forced to sell it again because of insolvency. It then changed hands several times and gradually became ever more dilapidated.
Before selling the castle, Sigismondo had adapted it to turn it into a defensive fortress against a possible attack by the Venetians.
The chapel of San Biagio is decorated with 11th, 13th and 14th century frescoes.
Messner Mountain Museum
The castle’s “White Tower” (Torre Bianca) is one of the seats of the Messner Mountain Museum. These five museums, spread out of the south-eastern Alpine territory, were founded by the alpinist Reinhold Messner. The collection of the museum consists of objects from all over the world, highlighting the ties between man and mountain.
In 1957 more than 30.000 south-Tyroleans gathered at the castle to demand autonomy from Trento.