In the Castle of Brunico, located on the hill south of the capital of the Val Pusteria, Reinhold Messner has set up the penultimate of his six museums dedicated to the mountains. Surrounded by farms, the castle houses the museum of mountain peoples. From the MMM Ripa museum (in Tibetan language "ri" stands for mountain and "pa" for man) you can enjoy a splendid view of Plan de Corones, a place of strong tourist attraction, the rural landscape of the Aurina valley and the Alps of the Valle di Zillertal. Modern mountaineering was born 250 years ago, but man has lived and frequented the mountain ranges for more than 10,000 years. At first he went there to hunt, then to lead herds and flocks from pasture to pasture, then he settled there to work the land and raise livestock. Settled between the depths of the valleys and summer pastures, the mountain peoples have been able to develop their own art of survival, a culture that, unlike urban culture, is based on personal responsibility, on the renunciation of consumption, on mutual help. It is to this way of life, which only to the superficial observer can appear different from place to place, that Reinhold Messner dedicates the MMM Ripa museum.
The first mention, with the name of "castrum Bruneke", dates back to 1271. The city of Brunico was built later, in the second half of the 13th century, and is mentioned for the first time in 1333. Under the rule of Prince Bishop Albert von Enn (1324-1336), the castle and the fortifications were enlarged and connected to each other, while the four gates, the walls and the moat were erected on the city territory. Other important works were carried out by the prince-bishop Ulrich Putsch (1427-1737): the battifredo was raised and equipped with a pointed roof and also the section of the lodgings was enlarged, since the bishop had moved there from Bressanone to escape the plague . Cardinal Nicolò Cusano (1450-1464), Prince Bishop of Bressanone from 1450, often stayed in the Castle of Brunico. In 1460, on the occasion of one of these stays, the manor was besieged by the Prince of Tyrol Sigismund the Rich, at the time lord of Sigmundskron (today Castel Firmiano, seat of the WMM Firmian) and Cusano was taken prisoner. The siege caused considerable damage to the manor. Bishop Golser (1464-1488) tried to remedy this by consolidating the fortification, also in consideration of the Turkish threat. Over the centuries, the castle of Brunico continued to be used as a temporary residence for the bishops. In 1825, the premises were temporarily ceded to the city, which used them as housing for its troops and as a prison. At that time, the maintenance of the castle was neglected, so much so that the building seemed to be on the way to decay. To order the recovery was the prince-bishop Simon Aichner (1884-1904). Following a rehabilitation started in 1969, the premises of the castle were transformed into classrooms. In 2004 the castle was taken over by the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation, which ceded its use to the Municipality of Brunico.
ph. credit: Gerhard Hagen - Magdalena Messner - Albert Gruber