Buonconsiglio Castle (Castello del
Buonconsiglio) is a vast monumental complex built between the north and east
gates of the ancient city walls (around 1200–1220) of Trent, the capital of Trentino province
It has three main points: the Castelvecchio, the
Magno Palazzo and the Giunta Albertiana.
Castello del Buonconsiglio History
The oldest part, Castelvecchio, was built between 1239 and
1255 around the strong donjon, the Torre d’Augusto, by the Imperial Podestà of Trent, Sodegerio
da Tito, who took up office in 1238.
Its function was predominantly military. In 1277 it passed to the Church and
became the residence of the prince–bishop of Trent. In subsequent centuries a series of
modifications and extensions have brought the castle to its present form.
Of fundamental importance were the works completed in 1475 by Giovanni
Hinderbach with the aid of Venetian craftsmen, who built the Renaissance Gothic internal court
with tiered open galleries and the small loggia on the third floor.
At that time the walls of the upper loggia were frescoed with portraits of
the bishops of Trent from the city’s origin to the year 1000; the series was completed in the
adjoining room with portraits of the bishops since the millennium.
The frescoed festoons (1476) on the outside of the galleries were the work
of Bartolomeo Sacchetto of Verona. The appearance of the castle in the 15th century is known
from a watercolour by Albrecht Dürer.
Between 1528 and 1536 the Castel Nuovo built beside the
medieval structure; it was called the Magno Palazzo by Pietro Andrea
Mattioli. This new residence was built according to the dictates of Renaissance architecture,
enriched by extensive decorations based on humanist themes, following the example of other
Documents provide the names of a few architects, including Lodovico Zaffran
and Alessio Longhi, as well as those of craftsmen who took part in the building of the palace.
It became a great Renaissance princely residence.
The painters Gerolamo Romanino, Dosso Dossi, Battista Dossi, Marcello
Fogolino, Matteo Fogolino and Bartholomäus Dill Riemenschneider worked on the decorations from
1531, creating some of their masterpieces there. Sculptors included Vincenzo Grandi, Alessio
Longhi and Zaccaria Zacchi.
Prince–Bishop Francesco Alberti Poja added the Giunta Albertiana to the
Buonconsiglio castle, linking the two preceding structures. Externally it resembles the
Magno Palazzo, while the interior is decorated in splendid Baroque style.
In the two first-floor salons, frescoed by Giuseppe Alberti, exuberant
stucco decoration surrounds historical and allegorical paintings celebrating the victory over
the Turks in 1683, while the second floor has richly carved and gilded wooden ceilings.
The Torre Aquila is an ancient watch-tower overlooking the
east gate of the city. Prince–Bishop Georg von Liechtenstein (1390–1416) turned it into an
elegant private residence, accessible from the castle via the path running along the city
Around 1400 George had the salon on the middle floor of the tower frescoed
with the famous Late Gothic Twelve Months cycle. There are other frescoes on secular themes in
the Torre del Falco, with scenes of hunting and outdoor life (1530–1532) that
are attributable to Bartholomäus Dill Riemenschneider.
With the Napoleonic Wars the principality was suppressed, and
Buonconsiglio Castle entered a period of decline. It was occupied in turn by
the Austrians, the French and the Bavarians, then converted into a barracks for the Austrians.
The Trent Irredentists Cesare Battisti, Damiano Chiesa and Fabio Filzi died there.
Visit Castello del Buonconsiglio
The Castello del Buonconsiglio later became the seat of the
Museo Nazionale and the Museo Trentino del Risorgimento e della Lotta per la
Libertà. In 1973 it came under the control of the autonomous province of Trento, and in
1975 it became theMuseo Provinciale d’Arte. At the same time important restoration
work began, together with the reorganization of the collections.
The Buonconsiglio museum has been very active in
conservation, cataloguing and restoration, as well as in producing exhibitions and
Buonconsiglio Castle Map&Location
Castello del Buonconsiglio Address: Via Bernardo Clesio, 5, 38122 Trento,
Italy. Get help with directions using the map provided bellow:
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