Castel Roncolo, the picture book castle
The world’s most comprehensive cycle of secular frescoes
The medieval Castel Roncolo is situated in a majestic location not far from Bolzano at the entrance to Val Sarentino. It contains the most comprehensive cycle of frescoes of the Middle Ages anywhere in the world and, thanks to its colourful paintings, is one of South Tyrol’s major attractions. Five rooms in the west wing are painted with scenes of medieval life at the court, ranging from hunts and horse trials to scenes of everyday life. The bathroom is particularly fascinating. There is also no lack of literary allusions, for example to the adventures of Tristan and Isolde and of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The history of Castel Roncolo
Castel Roncolo was built in 1237 by brothers Friedrich and Beral von Wangen on a promontory. In 1274 the castle was badly damaged during a siege by Meinhard II, Count of Tyrol and fell into disrepair. In 1385 brothers Niklaus and Franz Vintler, members of a rich merchant family of Bolzano, purchased the castle, renovated it and had it painted with secular frescoes. In the subsequent years the castle changed hands several times and was extended and re-structured. In 1893 Castel Roncolo was gifted to the municipality of Bolzano, which still owns it today.