Castel Scena is situated right next to the Hotel Erzherzog Johann. The massive building is surrounded by a moat, still partially visible. The castle is reached via a bridge, then walk past the castle dungeons to the courtyard. An open staircase leads up to the castle chambers.
The entire castle can be visited apart from the wing containing the private chambers of the count's family. The halls and rooms are home to a painting and portrait gallery, a collection of weapons and numerous art objects that are part of Tyrolean history. Several guided tours a day recount the history of this land to visitors.
More information at www.schloss-schenna.com
The old parish church of Scena is located right in the centre of the town, within walking distance of the Hotel Erzherzog Johan. This Romanesque church was built in the 12-13th centuries and was completely transformed in the 16th century; since then little has been structurally changed. The Baroque high altar with its statues of St. Francis Xavier and Johann Nepomuk was constructed in 1730 and modified in 1819. Besides the four altars there are also valuable individual sculptures in the church, such as the late-Gothic St. Sebastian and the Baroque St. John the Baptist. The Stations of the Cross date from the mid-18th century.
Beautiful old frescoes were uncovered in the course of restoration work in 1975 and the statues were artistically restored. St. John's Chapel in the attached building to the south-east also has very well-preserved frescoes from the 14th century, discovered in the course of subsequent renovations in the 1980s, showing scenes from the legend of St. John and St. Pancras, the Wise and Foolish Virgins, evangelists, choirs of angels and other religious icons.
After the completion of the new parish church 1931, the church lost its original purpose and was used as a storage room and a rehearsal area for the choir. In March 1981 the church was reopened and re-consecrated. It now provides a fitting setting for smaller worship and prayer services as well as weddings. There is a 14th century marble relief in the adjacent sacristy depicting the coronation of the Virgin Mary.
Guided tours only
(Tuesday, 9.30 a.m. - booking at the Scena tourist office).
Scena mausoleum, located in the centre of Scena, is just a short walk from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann. It was constructed between 1860 and 1869 from the plans of the Viennese architect, Prof. Maurice Wappler, as a burial place for Archduke John of Austria, his wife Anna, Countess of Meran, née Plochl, as well as for his son Franz, Count of Meran and the latter’s wife Theresa, Countess of Lamberg. The church stands on an artificial terrace on the western edge of the church hill and is one of the earliest and also undoubtedly one of the most attractive religious buildings in the Gothic Revival style.
The building was built of red sandstone and granite from the Ivigna area. The underground crypt chapel, with its heavy cross-ribbed vaults, is home to the marble sarcophagus of Archduke John and his wife.
The mausoleum is open daily.
The church of St. George in St. Georgen is accessible from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann on foot (approx. 30 min), by bus (direct line) or by car. The Waalweg (old irrigation channel) also runs above St. Georgen and can be added to the walk. The church dates back to the 12-13th century. This original round church was once the chapel of the castle of St. Georgen, “Old Scena”.
Half of the little church was practically destroyed when struck by lightning in 1591 and the structure was thus reinforced with a central pillar. The 14th century frescoes are well-preserved and portray among others the martyrdom of St. George, the Last Judgement and the legend of St. Nicholas. The Gothic altar depicts St. George on horseback fighting the dragon.
Worth mentioning is a rare depiction of St. Wilgefortis from the 17th century. According to legend, she was a princess from the Iberian peninsula who had made a vow of virginity. Her royal father, however, wanted her to marry, so in her grief she prayed that she would grow a beard that would render her repulsive. Her prayers were answered, but her father threw her into prison and had her crucified. Of the former castle of St. Georgen, today only the keep remains, bearing the name “Ulenturm”.
The church of St. George can be visited daily from 10 am-12 am and 2 pm-5 pm, Monday to Saturday.
The botanical gardens of Castel Trautmansdorff are easily accessible from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann by car or by bus (direct line from Scena: the bus stop is just a few metres from the hotel). In 2005, the gardens were awarded the title of “most beautiful gardens in Italy”. Covering over twelve hectares, they offer visitors the chance to experience “the whole world in a garden”. Exotic ornamental plants from the Mediterranean regions thrive here along with hardy Alpine plants.
The gardens are arranged according to the complex interplay of the natural vegetation, the climate, people and location. There are 11 pavilions providing a comprehensive botanical overview, while the castle dominates the surrounding gardens. Count Trauttmansdorff had it rebuilt from its medieval ruins, and the Austrian Empress Sissi twice stayed here for her winter cure. It has now been converted into a museum that portrays the lively 200-year history of tourism in South Tyrol.
There is a viewing platform at the end of the Sissi Promenade offering a panoramic view of the gardens from above. Designed by the famous architect Matteo Thun, it is nicknamed “Matteo Thun’s lookout” in his honour.
More information at www.trauttmansdorff.it
The Kränzel Labyrinth Garden can be reached by car in 15 minutes from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann. Each visitor can find his or her own path through. Fun, art and wine are just three of many options available. Families with children looking for a fun day out, as well as lovers of fine wines, can all find something to enjoy here.
Art and culture are offered in two different ways: the estate owner, Count Pfeil, serves outstanding, individual wines from his own winery in an authentic ambience: The comfortable wine bar, housed in a listed mill building, has a typical South Tyrolean atmosphere.
But Kränzel also offers frequently changing exhibitions of local and international art designed to appeal to both connoisseurs and amateurs alike, who can try out their artistic abilities in the labyrinth garden at no obligation.
More information at www.labyrinth.bz
Go by car or by bus (first to Merano, then Tirolo) from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann to the centre of Tirolo. From there it is approximately 20 minutes on foot to Castle Tyrol. The castle, whose earliest construction dates back to the 11th century, lies at the origin of the name of the Land of Tyrol, which arose in the 13th century. The art-historical treasures of the castle stem from these years of economic and cultural prosperity. There are two ornate marble portals as well as a chapel with frescoes from the 13th century. The castle is also home to the South Tyrolean Museum of Culture and History. In addition to the permanent exhibition, temporary exhibitions are held each year. The museum is open from mid-March to November.
More information at www.schlosstirol.it
Right next to Castle Tyrol on the hill is the Castle Tyrol bird care centre. An educational trail shows visitors the fascinating life of birds of prey as an important link in the natural cycle. There is at least one bird show every day. A great experience, especially for kids.
More information at www.gufyland.com
The Sandhof Inn, some 28 km from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann, was the home of the Tyrolean freedom fighter Andreas Hofer, where a museum now links the local rural traditions of the Passiria valley with historically significant events.
A wide-ranging exhibition brings the events of the Napoleonic era to life through the story of Tyrolean freedom fighter Andreas Hofer. The folklore section shows rural traditions, ranging from expressions of popular piety to traditional medicines, as well as various local arts and crafts such as furniture and traditional costumes. A detailed, first-hand insight into rural life is also offered by the outdoor mountain farm.
More information at www.museum.passeier.it
Over 5,000 years ago, a man climbed to the icy heights of the Val Senales glacier, where he died. In 1991 he was found, along with his clothes and other gear, mummified and frozen – an archaeological sensation and a unique snapshot of Copper Age man. After several years’ examination by highly specialised teams, the mummy and the accompanying finds are now accessible to the public at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.
In addition to housing the remains of the Iceman, the Archaeology Museum also documents the pre- and early history of South Tyrol, from the end of the last Ice Age to the time of Charlemagne. The museum offers an exciting excursion into Alpine prehistory with models, reconstructions, stereoscopic images, videos and interactive multimedia stations all offering a rich and entertaining insight into the past.
More information at www.iceman.it
The new Museion building in Bolzano is located on a sensitive spot, where the Talfer river separates the city into the old “German” Bolzano and the “Italian” Bolzano that evolved in the fascist period. An ideal place, therefore, to promote art as a social debate. The Museion acts as a flexible, experimental home to both exhibitions and artists’ workshops. Its striking architecture is famed far beyond South Tyrol.
More information at www.museion.it
The Eisenbahnwelt (Railway World) in Rablà, about half an hour by car from the Hotel Erzherzog Johann, is Italy’s largest digital model railway layout. The exhibition has an extensive collection of model trains which, numbering more than 20,000 items, is among the largest private collections in Europe. This fascinating railway world features impressive miniature landscapes at a scale of 1:87 (HO), with numerous detailed, interactive elements. Discover the wonders of South Tyrol in miniature, not to mention the incredible diversity of the imaginary landscapes.
More information at: www.eisenbahnwelt.eu
Glorenza, the smallest town in the Alps, is a Medieval border and commercial town. Discover its unique character: the circular walls, three imposing bastilles, a number of arbour towers and the many small alleys and corners. The character of this jewel has almost remained unchanged since The Middle Age.
Information and booking of city tours in all local tourism associations or in the Information Office of Glorenza: 0473/737073.
The Castel Coira was built in 1253 by the bishops of Coira and is owned today by the Counts of Trapp. It boasts a splendid arcaded courtyard and its armoury and collection of suits of armour is the world’s largest in private ownership.
Opening times in summer: 20th March to 31st October; 10.00 am to 12.00 am and 02.00 pm to 04.30 pm. Closed on mondays - except on public holidays.
Guided tours for groups available all year round by prior arrangement.
More information: 0473/831190.
Reinhold Messner has dedicated to the mountains and the mountain culture a unique project, a network of museums located in five extraordinary places in the Alps. The Messner Mountain Museum is a place of encounter with the mountains, with humanity and ultimately with oneself.
More information at www.messner-mountain-museum.it