Bressanone Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Bressanone
SituationBressanone (German Brixen), the third largest town of the Alto Adige, lies in a broad part of the Isarco valley on the Brenner motorway.
It is here that the River Rienza, coming from the Pusteria valley, flows into the Isarco.HistoryBressanone was founded in 901 on the remains of an old settlement. In 970 Bishop Albuin transferred the seat of the bishopric to Bressanone; the first Ottonian cathedral was built c. 990. In 1091 the town became the center of the Bressanone diocese; the town wall was erected in the 12th century and farther north the Neustift convent was founded. In 1179 Frederick I granted the Bishop the right to mint coins, to conduct markets and to levy taxes, as well as full legal jurisdiction. In 1348 the town was afflicted by the plague; in 1444 many buildings were destroyed in a fire. The famous humanist and theologist Cusanus (Nikolaus van Kues) was from 1450 to 1451 bishop of Bressanone.Building of the Baroque cathedral was begun in 1745, but is was not consecrated until 1758. From 1797 onwards during the Napoleonic Wars the town was occupied by the French; however, after the defeat of the French army in the battle of Spinges the occupying forces withdrew.The German deputation order of 1803 put an end to ecclesiastical sovereignty in Bressanone; from 1806 to 1814 the town was under Bavarian rule and then it became part of Tyrol.
The eastern edge of the Old Town of Bressanone is dominated by the Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption. Its plain, flat facade reveals a Lombard influence; the Neo-Classical portico supported on pillars and columns was not added until 1785. The lower sections of the two west towers are relics of its Romanesque predecessor.The single-naved interior with its vaulted roof is flanked on each side by altar-chapels separated by marble-clad columns. The ceiling of the nave has a giant fresco by Paul Troger (1750); he was also responsible for the painted ceiling in the choir.
Bressanone Cathedral - Cloisters
From the right of the portico a corridor leads to the cloisters, which were originally built in the Romanesque period (around 1200). Special mention should be made of the magnificent and partly restored frescoes on the vaulted ceiling, dating from the Gothic period (1390-1510) and portraying scenes from the Old and New Testaments. On the east side of the cloisters a passage leads to the cathedral treasury (closed on Sun.).
Bressanone Cathedral - Church of St John
On the southern edge of the cathedral and cloister complex stands the church of St John, a Romanesque building from the period after 1200, with a Gothic vaulted ceiling and 13th-15th century frescoes.
Parish Church of St Michael
To the north of the cathedral in Bressanone will be found the original Parish Church of St Michael dating from c. 1500. In 1757-58 the interior was renovated in the Baroque style and the ceilings painted by Josef Hauzinger. In the churchyard, in a niche in the outside wall of the cathedral, is a figure in memory of the poet Oswald von Wolkenstein (1377-1445).
Court Palace (Hofburg)
Southwest of the cathedral in Bressanone stands the former royal episcopal palace, now restored. There was a castle here from 1260, which gave place in 1595 to a new Renaissance palace, which was not finally completed until 1710; the latter stages of construction show Baroque influence. In the typical inner courtyard with its three-storyed loggias stand terracotta figures (1600) by the master sculptor from Schongau, Hans Reichle.
The collection in the Bressanone Museum in the palace includes medieval and modern works of art, paintings and porcelain and a world-famous collection of cribs.
Address: Palazzo Vescovile, Piazza Hofburg, I-39042 Bressanone, Italy
Opening hours: Mar 15 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: Epiphany (3 Kings' Day ) - Christian (Jan 6), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Liberation Day - Italy (Apr 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Victory Day / National Unity Day - Italy (Nov 4), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Southeast of the cathedral precincts in Bressanone stands the block of buildings housing the seminary. It was founded in 1607 and the buildings are Baroque. In 1764 the church of the Crucifixion was built on to the existing main façade. The interior contains frescoes by Franz Anton Zeiller.
Adjoining the priests' seminary in Bressanone are the buildings of the Cusanus Academy which was officially opened in 1962.
New Cathedral Chapter
The Augustinian New Canonical Cathedral Chapter was founded in 1124 and completely renewed only fifty years later. There are several blocks of buildings enclosing two courtyards. At the entrance to the monastic precinct stands the Romanesque Chapel of St Michael ("Engelsburg" or Castle of the Angels), a unique Romanesque round building with battlements.An arched gateway leads into the monastery courtyard proper where stands a pretty octagonal Renaissance fountain with its canopy decorated with frescoes.
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Dec 31: 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm; Closed: Sun
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Useful tips: Guided tours depart from the courtyard and parking area.
The triple-naved Basilica to Our Lady dates from the time when the monastery was first built in the late 12th century; it underwent considerable changes during the Baroque period, however, especially between 1734-37. The ceiling frescoes are by Matthias Günther. The monastery's Late Baroque library with its multicolored parquet floor, rocaille ornamentation and delicate gallery deserves special attention; the Gothic cloisters with their frescoes and the paneled pinacoteca are also worth seeing.