Runkelstein Castle - The “Painted Castle”

High on an imposing rocky outcrop, guarding the entrance to the Sarntal Valley, the ‘Painted Castle’ dominates the city of Bolzano. Runkelstein Castle houses Europe’s largest visitable collection of secular medieval frescos.

The castle, which was reopened to the public in 2000, has been the property of the City of Bolzano since 1893.

Explore the castle using our virtual 3D tour!

Maintained and operated with the support of Stiftung Südtiroler Sparkasse.

Virtual tour

History History

Historical Background of the castle

The castle was first built as a stronghold for the local Wangen family in 1237. It was later repurposed as a summer residence for the wealthy merchant brothers Niklaus and Franz Vintler in 1385. The brothers had the castle extended and the internal spaces decorated with beautiful frescos celebrating various aspects of courtly life and culture, such as aristocratic fashions, chivalry, and popular medieval legends. In the following centuries the castle changed hands many times until at the end of the 19th century it came into the possession of the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef, who had the castle restored and who finally gifted ownership of the castle to the city of Bolzano.  It wasn’t until 2000 that this wonderful medieval castle could finally be opened to the public.

Ambience Ambience


The frescos can be found in the West Palace and the Summer Palace. In the West Palace, numerous frescoes idealising courtly love and medieval pastimes can be admired, while the fifteenth-century Summer Palace features frescoes depicting both historical and legendary protagonists as well as cycles retelling popular medieval tales, such as Tristan and Isolde.

Guided tours Guided tours

Guided tours

It is possible to book guided tours for groups or participate in daily scheduled tours in both Italian and German. In addition, special didactic itineraries which can be tailored to suit all ages, are available for schools. These itineraries use details in the frescos as a springboard to explore specific themes related to the Middle Ages, such as cuisine, fashion, games, and mythical beasts.

Information Information


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