From Bolzano you can take cars, taxis, or buses to 3 castles (they are also within hiking distance I believe, although I assume it’s a rather long walk!). The tourist office, located right on Walther Square, can help you arrange transportation to any of the three castles.
The three castles that are close to Bolzano are: Castle Maretsch, Runkelstein Castle and Firmian/Sigmundskron Castle.
I visited Runkelstein Castle which I reached by car* (arranged via the tourist office), and then walked up a steep hill (about 20 minutes). The castle sits on a high rock, has a moat and drawbridge and dates back to the 13th century. The castle is mostly known for its frescos, painted in the late 14th century (artists unknown) and was commissioned by the Vintler merchant brothers. You can see the frescos after getting your tickets, you’ll go right upstairs and see scenes of King Arthur, his knights, and more. The long covered balcony between buildings features an interesting fresco of giant figures! And further rooms illustrate the history of the castle and its various owners. The castle was donated to the city of Bozen in 1893, with restorations to the buildings and frescos in the late 1990’s.
*Note that the castle ticket office can call the car when you are done with your visit, thus giving you time to climb down and be picked up (the drive from town takes about the same amount of time it does for you to climb down!). Rather a nice arrangement!
Entry Fees: 8 euros for adults, 5.50 euros for children and seniors, with specials for families and groups (As of Summer 2016)
Castle hours are: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (6pm in the Summer)
For the official Runkelstein Castle website click here: http://www.runkelstein.info/runkelstein_en/the_castle.asp
Read previous posts about see the Otzi Iceman in Bolzano and other information about what to see when in Tyrol Valley, Italy by clicking here.
Otzi the Iceman
Italy is my favorite place to visit because every time I go, I discover something new to see. If you are looking for an unusual vacation spot, visit the Tyrol Valley in Italy. The previous blog post mentions some Tyrol Valley castles and the special Gufyland Bird Sanctuary (click to read in case you missed that post). Beyond the castles, the Tyrol valley is the home of Otzi the Iceman.
Bolzano is the city to visit if you want to see Otzi. The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology houses the over five-thousand (!) year old mummy which you can view through a small porthole. The entire museum is dedicated to Otzi’s story – where he was found, how he was found, what he was wearing, what he ate, etc. It is an impressive museum dedicated to one man, and there is even a specialized rescue protocol in case Otzi needs to be evacuated from the high-tech chamber!
The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is right in the center of town, easy to find and the main attraction of the city.
- Museum entry fees are 9 euros for Adults, 7 euros for kids 6 and older (under 6 years old is free), and specials for groups and families. (As of Summer 2016)
- Museum hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm (closed Mondays)
- For a link to the official museum website where you can also find out more about Otzi, click here: http://www.iceman.it/en/
The Iceman is certainly the main reason to visit the small city of Bolzano, but the town itself is charming and worth a stroll through the main streets and lunch on the main piazza. Bolzano’s medieval center is fun to walk through. You will see colorful houses, painted decorations on the buildings, a bustling food market and the colorful, tiled roof of the Bolzano Cathedral just off of the Walther Square. Don’t miss a walk down Via dei Portici, a pedestrian shopping street lined with Romanesque-style houses and arcades.
To see more photos of the Tyrol Valley area, castles click here for Monica Goslin Photography where you can also buy prints, canvas photos, and framed photos.