Friday, October 6, 2017

Castel Roncolo and Market Day in Bolzano

We start our morning adventure with a ride up to Castel Roncolo (Scholoss Runkelstein), a medieval castle just outside Bolzano.  Castel Roncolo was built in the late 1200s and passed through many hands, including several Archdukes of Austria, Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I, various Prince-Bishops, the Count of Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn, and Emperor Franz Joseph.

The Castel was restored and donated to the city of Bolzano (Bozen) in 1893 and is now a museum showing works of the period and beautiful frescos painted in its rooms.

The free shuttle from Piazza Walther in Bolzano takes only a few minutes to whisk us up to the Castel, the driver demonstrates with his fingers that we should walk up the path to reach the entrance, and we head in that direction.

 Path up to Castel Roncolo

 View from above (we can't see this)

The interior of the castel is a maze with lots of small rooms and chambers on multiple levels and we wind our way up and down the stairs and hallways.

Wandering through

The restored frescos in many of the rooms are beautiful and a big feature of the museum.  This is one of the largest collections of frescos dating back to  Medieval times, with stories of knights, court ladies, farm life, scenes from literature, and hunting panoramas.  Quite a collection.

 Frescos in the rooms

Wandering further, we find a exhibition of ancient coins dating back to the 1100s and 1200s.

 Medieval coins

The views from the castle are great and we admire them as we head out and decide to walk back to town along the Talvera (Talfer) River.

 Views from Castel Roncolo

 Pathway along the river back to town

As we approach the center of Bolzano, we find the Saturday market in Piazza Vittoria going strong and we walk in to see what is there.  We quickly pass by the clothing, housewares, and kitchen equipment, looking for the regional specialties, and find the local produce, fish, cheese, and meat stands.

 Local food!

This does lead us to wonder how many cheese and speck stands one market needs.  The answer appears to be:  Many!  We wander, enjoy, and purchase for 12 euros ($14 USD) a 1 kg or so (2.2 pound) chunk of Grana Padano, a dry, slow-ripened, semi-fragrant cheese that has been made in northeastern Italy since the 12th century and is similar to Parmesan Reggiano.

From the market, it's only a short walk through Bolzano back to Piazza Walther and our hotel.  It seems that everyone is out enjoying the beautiful day.

 Streets of Bolzano

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