The central Churches in Bolzano
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10-12; 14-17; Sat SS. Masses
Cathedral of the Diocese of Bolzano – Bressanone concealing the vestiges of an early Christian, a late Medieval and a Romanesque basilica (1180). After one century the site has opened into a new imposing construction, completed around 1420, synthesizing, over a few decades, the intervention of Lombard mastery with the Gothic style of the Suevian mastery. The bell tower, with an open fretwork spire in sandstone, which stands 65m tall, was built by the Suevian architect, Hans Lutz von Schusseried, between 1501 and 1519. Outside mou can see:
On the North side: the beautiful Crucifix by the Veronese School, with a small votive image bearing the symbol (shell) of the pilgrim of Santiago de Compostela, the Wine Door with fine engravings, also called the bride's door (where promised young women entered), where the sale of wine was permitted through an ancient privilege.
On the Western side: the Romanesque portal with prothyrum and column-bearing lions, the rose window (restored after the bombings of the Second World War), to the left of the beautiful bronze door by Defner (Innsbruck), the fresco of Mother and Child attributed to Friedrich Pacher (1475).
Inside: three naves of the same height (Hallenkirche), the Gothic sandstone pulpit sculpted by Hans Lutz von Schussenried, the baroque altar in polychrome marble (1710-1720) by the Veronese Ranghieri and Allio, the Crucifix (1420), the baroque chapel of the graces added in 1745 with frescoes by Karl Henrici (1771), on the altar, the venerated statue of Maria lactans by Veronese School of 1200. The Archduke Ranieri of Austria (Crown-Prince of the Lombard-Venetian Kingdom from 1818 to 1848), who died in Bolzano in 1853, is buried in the crypt situated below the high altar.
In the churchyard south of the building you can view the beautiful monument to Peter Mayr.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat hrs 9.30-17, Sun hrs 12-18
The Dominican friars settled in Bolzano in 1272 and had their church built with one nave only inside a large convent comprising different chapels, some of them destroyed, and a magnificent cloister. A part of the ancient structure is today's Music Academy, which hosts the prestigious International piano competition, Ferruccio Busoni, of the Civic Gallery, centre of exhibitions and other important cultural events and institutions.
Gothic vaults and baroque elements were added to the church in 1600 and 1700 (to the left of the high altar you can see the pala del Guercino commissioned by the town merchants). The church has many precious examples of Bolzanine painting of 1300 on the eastern side of the cloister and on the west wall of the church. However, the jewel of the entire complex is cappella di San Giovanni, a long and narrow side chapel with the most magnificent fresco cycle of the Giotto School in the province. Dedicated to San Giovanni after the name of the Florentine head of the de'Rossi family, naturalized von Botsch who commissioned its decoration. The scenes from San Nicolò's life on the last register of the east wall are of particular interest, as well as the 'Triumph over Death' fresco in the first register of the same wall, the Escape to Egypt on the west wall and San Bartholomew's torture on the north wall. The seamless frescoes throughout the chapel are superb examples of the local art in the 1300.
In the adjacent cloister (entry from piazza Domenicani) you can admire some frescoes by Friedrich Pacher which can be dated to 1496.
Franciscan Church and Convent
Opening hours: Mon-Sat hrs 10-12; 14.30-18; Sun hrs 15-18
Franciscans settled in the town in 1221; the present building dates back to the first half of 1300, but the original ceiling, flat and with a polygonal choir, has been replaced by fifteenth-century's vaults.
The cloister is a perfect Gothic example replacing the Romanesque style one of the first construction. There are many frescoes of different ages with examples of the Giotto school of 1600 and 1700. The church has a magnificent wooden altar by Hans Klocker of Bressanone dedicated to the Nativity (painted wood – 1500).
The church choir is embellished by modern stained glass windows by Widmoser.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun hrs 9-18.30
The church is dedicated to S. Anthony of Padua and was built around 1600 within the Castel Wendelstein estates of the Counts of Tyrol. It has a magnificent altar piece by Felice Brusasorci (1600), above the main altar, and examples of mannerism in the chapels of Maria Assunta and SS. Sebastiano and Giovanni in the first side chapel.
Via Goethe takes you to piazza delle Erbe, one of the main attractions of the town centre thanks to its colourful fruit and vegetable market (open throughout the week except on Saturday afternoon and public holidays) with its elongated and curved shape. The square has the fountain of Neptune, also called "the innkeeper with the fork" (Gabelwirt), by Joachim Reiss designed by Georg Mayr di Fiè (1745). On the opposite corner a plaque commemorates the "Al sole" hotel that had, amongst its guests, Wolfgang Goethe himself, Emperor Giuseppe II and the German philosopher and scholar Johann Gottfried Herder.
S. George's Church
Via Weggenstein and S. George's Church: building of Gothic shapes dating back to the beginning of the XV century hosting the Teutonic order.
The elegant building is worth a visit for its collection of stems, mortuary shields, gravestones and flags of the members of the order that can be dated to between the XVI and the XIX century.
St. John's Church
Consecrated in 1180, this small church is the jewel of the town. The simple architecture of the main body is embellished by the church bell with mullioned windows with three and two lights dating back to the first half of 1300.
The interior pictorial decoration is exceptional: travelling artists of the Giotto School introduced a new plastic style and an excellent fresco technique revealing extraordinary artistic and interpretative skills.