Castel Firmian

Ai piedi della Corona di S. Gottardo, in posizione suggestiva, affacciata sui vigneti del Piano Rotaliano, troneggia la nobile residenza dei conti Firmian.
Col soprastante maniero forma un pittoresco nesso, un celebre scorcio di paesaggio ravvivato dalle immani rupi sovrastanti, dalla timida striscia di bosco e dalla distesa vitata.

Fotografia autunnale del castel Firmian


The noble residence of the Counts Firmian is located at the foot of the Corona di S. Gottardo in a breath-taking position, looking onto the vineyards of the Rotaliana Plain.

Together with the manor house above, it forms a renowned view of the local landscape, rendered even more striking by the huge cliffs above, the sparse strip of woodland and the plain covered in vines below.

The castle was built in 1480 by Nicolò I di Firmian, a resolute captain of the Valle di Non and Val Giudicarie, who had married Dorotea, the last descendant of the Kronmetz Family.

The S. Gottardo Castle was built in a cave but was no longer in keeping with the tastes of the period: it was too uncomfortable and ordinary; besides, it belonged in part to the Wolkenstein family, one of whom was Dorotea’s first husband.

Nicolò demolished the old walled house near the Roman road, which may have been the bishop’s “canipa” (old wine cellar and barn), and built the square tower on the south side, embellished with a slender balcony; a small but comfortable dwelling was added to the north-eastern side. A crenelated bailey was built all around it, protected by deep ditches towards the mountains and the village. From the complex departed a walled ravelin that made it possible to keep watch over the public road below, the so-called “Roman road” that was certainly an ancient communication route to the Valle di Non and the nearby ford over the Noce River.

This allowed Nicolò to watch over the traffic from a short distance and at his will.

Over the pointed portal, he had a large stone walled into the watchtower, bearing the crest of his own family together with that of the Kronmetz family.

In the second half of the 18th century, a floor was added to the palace, the 15th-century windows were replaced with some wider ones, a new wing was built on the south-eastern side to join the tower with the balcony to the watchtower, a two-floor hall was opened and the ditches were filled in. In the following century, the livery stables were built on the side facing the mount, near the watchtower, and some other buildings, such as the “Casa del servo” (servant’s house), were added. The original entrance to the residence is the beautiful portal bearing the original crest of the Firmian Family. The hallway leads on to the stairs up to the noble floors and the portico, a striking vaulted passage supported by a thick pillar.

It is watched over by the southern tower, also called “Torre di Mezzo”, and is connected with the Roman road below through a communication trench that is effectively the ancient ravelin.

The building, outside the original residence, which today hosts the stairwell, dates back to the 18th century.

In this castle, after the Mez Family, the Firmians exercised the (Tyrolean) right of jurisdiction through an “estate judge” and a “dynasty captain” until 1824.

Especially in the hall, with the tower containing the chapel to S. Giovanni Nepomuceno with the ancient wooden statue of San Gottardo from the castle on the cliff, there is a remarkable collection of portraits of members of the Firmian Family that offers a broad overview of the history of this powerful family.

The family appears to descend from a knight called Leopoldo, who, according to the inscription on the painting in the hall, “in the year 933 was sent by the Emperor Henry I with 400 (or 4000?) men on horseback to fight the heathens”.

Genealogists refer to some Firmians who lived in 1090 and 1220 and are believed to be the ancestors of the family. Corrado I de Formigaro is mentioned in 1135 and Corrado II in the second half of the century.

In the chapel there is a portrait of the knight Corrado, who took part in the famous Costanza joust (12th century): in the background some knights are fighting before the Firmian Castle, on the banks of the Adige River. There are also a number of portraits of married couples.

However, the most renowned member of the family was Carlo G. Firmian, born in 1716 († 1782) in the Firmian palace in Trento (now head office of the Cassa di Risparmio - savings bank): he was the Austrian governor of Lombardy, patron of men of letters and poets and among the admirers of the young Mozart, who was his guest in Milan.


A. Gorfer: Guida dei castelli del Trentino, Trento 1967


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Mercoledì, 22 Aprile 2015 - Ultima modifica: Lunedì, 20 Marzo 2017