CASTELRONDA – THE BOLZANO CASTLE TRAIL
The Bolzano Castle Trail weaves its way along a path leading through one of the most “castled” areas of the Bolzano, over the slopes of Genesio, from Cologna to Terlano. The “Castelronda” Castle Trail is a themed route which offers visitors the chance to see the castles close-up. Display and information boards line the route, bringing the mediaeval trading town of Bolzano, the mighty castle ruins of the surrounding area and the late-mediaeval argentite and galenite buildings to life. The “Castelronda” is a route of history, landscape and culture rolled into one, with insights into court life of the 1400s at Castle Roncolo, the near-entire renovations of 1797 of the Rafenstein Castle, the Greifenstein and Helfenberg ruins all the way to the Neuhaus of Terlano, where the trail ends.
You can access the trail at a variety of points in Genesio, Cologna or Settequerce and can be walked either in whole or in part. The Castle Trail begins at the valley station of the San Genesio cable car with a view of Castle Roncolo, built in 1237 by the brothers Beral and Friedrich von Wangen and purchased by the Vintler family of merchants from Bolzano in 1385, who extended and renovated it. To this day, the castle and grounds still house the largest cycle of secular frescoes from the late Middle Ages. From the valley station, the walk leads towards Rafenstein. The castle here, a prime example of renaissance living and cultural representation, was in a state of perfect repair until the end of the 18th century, when it was partially destroyed in battle in Bolzano between French soldiers and Austrian artillery.
After extensive renovation works, the castle was reopened to the public in 2014. In the Bolzano valley basin, the route leads now to Cologna in Genesio, where, if you wish, you can veer off to the Greifenstein ruins, at your own risk to see the ruins of the old castle which also goes by the name of the “Castel del Porco”, the “Castle of Pigs”“. Legend has it that the castle survived a siege of 1423 by cunning alone when they tossed a roast pig, the only remaining supplies, down from the castle walls to the enemy.
The assailants, thus convinced of the abundance of supplies in the castle, terminated the siege and took to their heels. And on we stroll, to the ruins of Helfenburg Castle, which dates back to 1180. Although not much remains of it today, the location offers one of the most beautiful views over the Adige Valley. The next stop on our route is the Neuhaus castle towering atop a rocky spur. The castle also goes by the name of Maultasch which, although no evidence exists to corroborate the story, is said to have been the favoured residence of Margaret, Countess of Tyrol.
From Neuhaus, we begin our final descent towards Terlano where the Bolzano “Castelronda” Castle trail comes to an end, leaving you with a lasting impression of living history and views of one of the most beautiful cultural and natural landscapes in the area. Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons to head out on the Bolzano Castle Trail. Along a couple of stretches of the routes particular care must be taken, and they are only recommended for well-practiced, sure-footed walkers.
(Translated into English)