The Sonnenburg Castle is located in San Lorenzo di Sebato, near Brunico, in the province of Bolzano. With a very lively history behind it, today the castle is home to one of South Tyrol's most popular historic hotels and an excellent restaurant.
Castel Badia History
The imposing manor stands in Val Pusteria, where the river Gader flows into the Rienza. For most of its history the castle was not a defensive fortress or residence of noble knights, but a monastery, inside which many legends were born and grown up handed down to the present day.
Built by Count Otwin von Lurngau, Castel Badia was in the early days the administrative and jurisdictional seat of the Val Pusteria. Hence its German name Sonnenburg derives from the term "Siona" which in ancient German means "judgment".
Around 1020, Volkhold von Lurngau transformed the castle into a monastery to be donated to the Benedictine nuns and some traces of a chapel are still visible from that period.
One of the most famous figures related to the castle is that of Verena von Stuben, abbess of the place in the middle of the fifteenth century, who aided by the Tyrolean duke Sigismund of Austria, had a hard collision with the bishop of Bressanone, Nicola Cusano. So hard that when he put it down, his sisters, to defend it, hired an army. Hard clashes followed (the bishop even repaired for a short period in Carnia) from which, however, the small army of the nuns was destroyed. The castle was eventually taken and looted and most of the occupants died.
In 1598 the abbey was partially destroyed by a fire, after which it was profoundly transformed.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century the monastery was suppressed and left at the mercy of the insults of the time, until the end of the seventies when it was recovered and expertly restored keeping the original medieval charm intact.
Thick walls, corridors, arches, precious frescoes on the ceiling, the characteristic courtyard and the crypt offer visitors a unique glimpse of centuries of history immersed in romantic and suggestive places.
Worth noting is the ancient garden of aromatic herbs, located south of the structure, with over 200 medicinal herbs from the tradition of Hildegard of Bingen.
Today the Castle of Sonnenburg has 38 rooms and one suite, a swimming pool carved from the rock walls of the old cellar and a renowned restaurant with refined ambiences.