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All about knights, aristocrats and minnesingers

There are around 800 fortresses and castles with knights halls, moats, jails and towers in South Tyrol. Particularly impressive witnesses from the Middle Ages are the wide hilly landscape of Eppan. A treasure hunt.
 

Eppan’s mighty witnesses of the past are discoverers, gourmets, wild romantic lovers of nature, as well as social personalities… and they are loved by all. The best way to discover the area is with hiking shoes or on a bike. It’s a wonderful opportunity to follow the trails of knights, aristocrats and minnesingers. Starting point is the village centre of St. Michael | Eppan. From here, it’s only a short stretch to Castle Moos-Schulthaus. Even from the outside, the building makes a great impression and carries you back in time. In 1270, the grounds showed only a tower to live in with two separate areas. Since 2013, the castle is looked after by the South Tyrolean Castle Institution. Today, the treasures of Castle Moos-Schulthaus are being exhibited inside a small folk museum, which gives insight into the way of life at the time. In addition, visitors can enjoy a number of guided tours featuring contemporary Tyrolean art collections of a previous art patron called Walther Amonn.

From the high living tower, you can enjoy fantastic views. The old Altfirmian ruins, as well as the previously glorious Castles of Gandegg and Englar, as well small chapels such as the ones commemorated to St. Sebastian, St. Catherine, and the Romantic Gleif Church can be seen from there. The nearby area also is home to the legendary Devil’s Seat, which is made of stone. If your time allows, you could extend your excursion to visit the ice holes. After the refreshing coolness of these unique natural phenomena’s, you can walk through the forest in the direction of Missian | Eppan and follow the signposts to Castle Korb/Boymont. Castle Korb is situated like an oasis on a hill just above Missian | Eppan. Various TV-productions has been filmed in that particular location.

FROM BOYMONT TO HOCHEPPAN
A few minutes down the path, the restaurant of the Boymont castle ruins invites you to stay and eat. The ruins offer impressive panoramic views to enjoy while indulging into some scrumptious traditional dishes, served in the inner courtyard. Boymont was built around 1235 as the main residence of the Counts of Eppan. In 1425, a large part of the building went up in flames – an arson attack. However, much of the old walls and even some rooms remained. Through so-called trifores – beautiful three-arch windows –, you can look far out into the country. Alternatively, the large inner courtyard is just the right place to sit down and enjoy a meal.

Highlight is Castle Hocheppan. Cross-country, and across a 60 metres long save wooden bridge, you will make your way to this historic fortress, which gave its name to the village of Eppan. All of a sudden, the shady forest opens into a sunny space, from which the views are just extraordinary. Targets made of straw are place in the middle of the castle meadows, and visitors can try archery just as their forefathers did ages ago.

 
 
 

EVERYDAY LIFE STOPS AT THE WOODEN BRIDGE
The Middle Ages can still be found high above the Bozen valley basin. Why not undertake an interesting discovery tour or simply enjoy the mystic and romantic idyll between the stony ruins of the inner courtyard. ‘When you are ready to cross the wooden bridge, you should leave everyday life behind‘. Stress and hectic vanish once you enter the 900 years old ruins. The castle is somehow an energetic point along a spiritual hiking route in South Tyrol. Local guides share detailed information about the Roman castle chapel, which received its frescoes around 1210. It’s one of the few churches in South Tyrol, which is concentrating on the theme of Jesus‘ life through frescoes. Particularly worth seeing is the picture of the Eppan women eating dumplings, while being seated at the foot of the crip after Jesus has been born. The colourful combination of hiking, gourmet enjoyment and culture covers about everything. Having been fed, the descent from this very natural well-being oasis is sheer pleasure. You can take either the same way you went up, or alternatively, take the wide forest road. Within 30 minutes, you should easily be back en route to the Missian | Eppan village centre.

REINHOLD MESSNER‘S LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT
South Tyrol is a country of mountains… and therefore, just the right place for the Messner Mountain Museum Firmian at Castle Sigmundskron. You can reach it comfortably by public transport, cycle along the cycling route, or alternatively, walk across the old stones into one of the oldest castles of South Tyrol. The castle was first mentioned around 945 A.D. At a later stage, the castle was turned into a fortress. However, over time, it fell more and more into disrepair. Until… one of the most famous alpinists of our time, Reinhold Messner, renovated the place together with the South Tyrolean architect Werner Tscholl. Today, visitors are enchanted by the world that opens to them. Castle Sigmundskron – also called MMM Firmian – is the centre-piece of Messner’s MMM range of mountain museums, a project he still calls his 15th major mountain. The first thing visitors see is the entrance gates of wrought iron, which lead them through the 5 metres thick castle walls. From there, steel stairs along the walls, lead them to the best place to have a glance over Bozen, its surrounding valleys, right up to the Schlern mountain and the Texel mountain group. In July and August, the owner himself, answers your questions in persona. The annual special exhibition ‘Mankind – Mountain‘ informs its visitors about all that’s worth knowing in the shape of a natural parcours, leading towards towers, staircases and paths and tells the story about alpinism. Reinhold Messner is only one of many protagonists, who share their know-how and passion about the mountain world, the life in this region, as well as its inhabitants…

 
 
Published on 28.01.2015
 
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