Roncolo Castle ( Schloss Runkelstein in German) is one of the must-see places in South Tyrol. Located very close to Bolzano, the frescoes that decorate its walls are a fantastic testimony to medieval court life.We include this castle in our route through the most beautiful Christmas markets in Italy. We hadn’t planned on visiting him, but we’re so glad we finally got around to him. I really think it’s worth getting to know.Castillo Roncolo

How to get to Roncolo Castle

This castle, a jewel of art in the Italian Tyrol, is located just 3 kilometers from Bolzano. Making the journey by car is a matter of 10 minutes. Just keep in mind that the free parking lot is small and should not hold more than 15 cars. From the car park, you have to go up the steep path that is only a few meters to the left of the car park and that leads to the door of the Roncolo Castle .

You can also easily walk from the center of Bolzano along the Lungotalvera, a pedestrian path that is also used by bicycles. The route is simple and in less than 40 minutes you reach the destination. In addition you can make a stop to see the Castello Sant’Antonio and enjoy the wonderful surroundings.

Those who do not have a vehicle or desire to walk can resort to making the journey by bus. The best option is to go to Piazza Walther, one of the most attractive places to see in Bolzano, and get on bus 12. After 11 stops that take about 10 minutes, the bus stops just 200 meters from the castle.

Schedules and prices

The price of general admission to the castle is €8. There are special prices for families and certain groups. Guided tours are available with a supplement of €3 per person.

As for opening hours, the castle is closed on Mondays and the opening hours change from summer to winter.

  • From November 2 to March 15, the hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • The rest of the year the Roncolo Castle opens from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Historia de Castillo Roncolo

The history of this Italian castle perched on a rock dates back to the 13th century. Since its construction it has passed through different hands, but it was the merchants Franz and Niklaus Vintler who restored and enlarged it at the end of the 14th century. New rooms, a moat and a cistern were some of the elements that these brothers added to the Roncolo Castle . Without forgetting the so-called Summer House that was decorated with those frescoes that make this Tyrolean castle famous today.

The 15th century had just begun when a monetary battle took place between Frederick IV, the Count of Tyrol, and various noble and wealthy Tyrolean families. That conflict spilled over into the Vintlers. Niklaus was ruined. Franz had allied himself with the Duke of Austria and managed to keep the castle his own.

Castillo Roncolo

Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, acquired the castle and Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, renovated it, also commissioning the restoration of some frescoes that were losing their color over time. Years passed and the castle went from hand to hand until in 1520, the gunpowder stored in the tower exploded, seriously damaging different parts of the outer walls, the palace and the entrance.

Castillo Roncolo

Roncolo Castle remained in Habsburg hands until 1530, when it was acquired by Sigmund von Brandis. Later the property went to the Prince Bishop of Trento and the Counts of Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn. But the misfortunes for the castle were not over, since in 1672 there was a fire and the eastern area was seriously damaged.

Already in the 19th century, Runkelstein became a magnet for romantic artists, who flocked to Bolzano attracted by its ruins. It seemed that his state had no turning back and the walls kept coming down. Until John of Austria-Tuscany bought it and gave it to Emperor Franz Joseph. The castle was then restored and given to Bolzano. A century later, the Roncolo Castle was restored for the last time, recovering its frescoes to their former splendor.

Visit to the castle

The Roncolo Castle is not a large construction. However, seeing its silhouette silhouetted against the promontory on which it was built is impressive. Its walls aligned on the rocks make it seem impregnable. The only easy access, saving the moat that surrounds it, is through its main door.

Castillo Roncolo

Behind it are the different buildings that make up the castle, all of them around a courtyard. The building where the reception and ticket sales are located is where the visit begins. This is the West Palace. Going up the stairs you go through different rooms in which, of course, the frescoes are the protagonists.

The courtly scenes on the walls of this palace are a magnificent showcase of medieval fashion and daily life at court. Without forgetting the frescoes in which the tournaments that took place in those times are represented.

The building at the end of the courtyard is called the Summer House, the one built by the Vintler brothers and in which you can see some of the most striking frescoes of the castle, those related to literary motifs. On the walls of that palace you can see King Arthur sitting at the famous round table. Or Tristan, Iseult’s lover, fighting a dragon.

Finally, and after enjoying the most important collection of secular frescoes in Europe, you go on to the most restored building in the complex, the Oriental Palace. Its rooms have been remodeled and adapted as exhibition halls.

During our visit there was one dedicated to hunting, in which high-quality photographs were mixed with weapons from different periods and some stuffed animals.

Previous articleThe 5 most wonderful castles
Next articleWhere to go in Croatia? The best destinations