The Hofburg, Bressanone

A peculiar castle in South Tyrol

The Hofburg is unlike other castles since the bishops of Bressanone’s Diocese used to reside here until 1803, in fact, they also had the temporal power by being the administrators of the city.
Its construction started in the 13th century. Around the 1600’s the palace was completely renovated as is evident from the splendid renaissance-style interior courtyard decorated with statues. This also led to the name “Hofburg” (Court Castle). The Renaissance courtyard is one of the most charming and atmospheric architectural monuments in South Tyrol.
In the 18th Century it gained the Baroque look it still has today.
When the bishop’s seat was transferred to Bolzano in 1973, the representative building was converted into a Museum including: The Diocesan Museum, the Nativity Scene Museum and the Diocesan Archives.

The main purpose of founding the museum was to counteract the deportation of ecclesiastical works of art and to create a worthy place of storage for ecclesiastical objects fallen into disuse. The museum was also the site where theologians and clero were trained.

The museum presents the Cathedral treasury of Bressanone and valuable works of art from the Middle Ages, which was already the main focus of interest when the museum was founded, to the 20th century’s art, displayed in over 70 exhibition rooms.

In the Diocesan Museum precious examples of sculptures and paintings from different periods are preserved.  The most emblematic works however are the Medieval religious art objects such as a processional cross, reliquaries and liturgical vestments.and early Gothic Madonnas.
Finally, the Diocesan Museum also houses remarkable stained glass, textiles and manuscripts.

What is also fascinating is the variety of other sights you can visit such as the richly decorated Court Church, the Chamber of the Court Council as well as the Imperial and Bishop’s Wing. The antechamber and the Council chamber still retain their original appearance with the wooden paneling, painted coat of arms and tiled stoves.
The Dining Room adorned with the portraits of the Imperial family is outstanding!

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