Castles & strongholds

Wolkenstein Castle

Wolkenstein Castle perches like an eagle's nest on the wall of the Stevia Mountain. A short, steep path leads from the training centre of the local police force, the Carabinieri, to the Vallunga (Selva Gardena). The castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century, however it collapsed shortly after in 1525 and was never rebuilt. In the 14th century it belonged to Count Wolkenstein, after who the castle had been named. He was one of the most important Minnesinger, lyricists and composers in the Middle Ages. He had travelled extensively and had an adventurous life. He left his parent's home as a 10-year-old boy to travel to many countries as a knight's squire. He became blind in his right eye, most likely due to an injury incurred during his youth. He supposedly lived a lot in the castle above the Vallunga during summer.

Gardena Castle

Gardena Castle, on the border of Selva and Santa Cristina, was built between 1622 and 1641 and commissioned by Engelhard Dietrich von Wolkenstein-Trostburg to serve as a summer castle and hunting lodge. Despite its Renaissance architectural elements it manages to convey a feeling of medieval strength thanks to its monumental presence. In 1863 Leopold Graf von Wolkenstein-Trostburg gave the castle to the village of Santa Cristina to be used as a home for the elderly and almshouse. Since 1926 the castle belongs to Baron Franchetti and is not open to the public.

Stetteneck Castle

The legends of the Dolomites collected by K. F. Wolff helped archaeologists find the forgotten Stetteneck Castle. In the summer of the year 2000 the remains of castle walls from the 13th century were unearthed on the Collina del Pincan (in the Val D'Anna), Ortisei, at the foot of Mount Balest. The Stetteneck Castle had only been mentioned once in a document from 1324 which explains why little is known about the castle. Adelheid, daughter of the Knight Gebhard von Stetteneck, was probably the last owner of the castle. Experts are trying to uncover more about the castle by analysing numerous archaeological finds unearthed during the excavation. Amongst the most important finds we have a Roman door.