Buonconsiglio Castle – Trento
A symbol of the city of Trento
The Buonconsiglio Castle is the largest and most important monumental building in Trentino Alto Adige and the symbol of the city of Trento. Residence of the bishops of Trento from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century, after a careful restoration in 1924 it became the seat of the National Museum of Trento.
The Castle is part of a network of Trentino castles and is made up of a series of buildings built in different eras and enclosed in a wall in a slightly elevated position compared to the city.
Castelvecchio (Old Castle), the oldest part of the building, was built in the first half of 1200 on a rocky rise near the Adige river, along the eastern stretch of the city walls. The castle initially was meant to be a military stronghold dominated by a mighty cylindrical tower made of large limestone ashlars.
The façade was built with squared stones and there are still several defensive architectural elements such as the loopholes, the Gothic iron gate and the entrance above the ancient drawbridge.
The Guelph cross windows and the Venetian loggia make the style of the building more elegant and underline the transition from a military stronghold to a residential home. The fourth floor of Castelvecchio includes several halls and the bishop’s apartment. The castle opens onto a courtyard with superimposed arcades.
Magno Palazzo (Great Palace) is the sixteenth-century extension of the castle, in the Italian Renaissance style.
Located on the medieval walls and connected to Torre Aquila, it communicates with the oldest part of the Castle through a suspended passage. It is divided into four wings around the Courtyard of the Lions, and opens onto the Venetian loggia. In this part of the castle visitors can admire various decorations from allegorical themes to moralizing subjects, from examples of courage and virtue drawn from ancient history and myth, to scenes of everyday life. Of great importance are the frescoes by the Dossi Brothers (Dosso Dossi and Battista Dossi), by Romanino and by Fogolino that adorn the halls of the palace.
The loggia, overlooking the city, is supported by eight pink stone columns, with white stone capitals carved with leaves and figurative motifs supporting nine trefoil arches. From the Venetian loggia of the Buonconsiglio Castle, visitors can see and recognize the main monuments of Trento: the Cathedral, the Palazzo Pretorio, the embattled Civic Tower, the Romanesque bell tower of Santa Maria Maggiore church, the bell tower of San Pietro church and the bell tower of San Marco church.
Walking along the eastern walls of the castle, visitors can enter Torre Aquila(Eagle Tower), located at the southern end of the building. It was extensively renovated at the end of the 1300s and emplyed for private use.
In the main room, on the second floor, the walls are decorated with the famous Cycle of the Months, one of the most fascinating profane pictorial cycles of the late Middle Ages. The seasons are depicted in squares separated by thin columns with an extraordinary attention to detail even in the clothes that faithfully represent the uses and customs of the time.
Hall of the Bishops
The Sala dei Vescovi (Hall of the Bishops) is located on the same floor as the Loggia. The walls are frescoed with portraits of Trentino bishops from the year 1000, the beginning of the episcopal principality, up to the last Prince-Bishop of Trento, Pietro Vigilio Thun (1776-1800).
In the upper part the names of the popes are also shown, while below are the contemporary emperors, to underline the strong reliance of the Trentino principality on both powers.
On the walls of the chapel are painted some frescoes depicting the Evangelists, the Doctors of the Church and on the vault, the coat of arms of the Bishopric of Trento is painted.
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Entrance with a fee
It is mandatory to present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate, wear a safety mask and keep the interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter.
Photos from wikipedia and from the Facebook page of the Buonconsiglio Castle