Buonconsiglio Castle – Art and History

Buonconsiglio Castle - Art and History

The Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento, Italy has been the principal residence for the Prince Bishop during the 13th to late 16th centuries. This vast complex consists of multiple buildings, immaculate gardens, gorgeous rose gardens, towers, and rooms decorated with frescoes, and an incredible art museum. When visiting Trento, definitely take a few hours to come and explore the art and history at Buonconsiglio Castle.

Getting There and InformationBuonconsiglio Castle Entrance

Buonconsiglio Castle was built between the north and east gates of the ancient city walls during 1200-1220. The walls in Trento are mostly gone, but the castle remains. You can reach the castle by walking anywhere from within the city, located at Via Bernardo Clesio, 5. Open hours are from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Admission is 10€ but is 50% off with the Trentino Guest Card. If you want to see the medieval frescoes of the Circle of Months in Torre Aquila, there is an additional 3€ fee for a guided fixed time tour.

Rose GardenRose Garden Trellis at Buonconsiglio Castle

The Rose Garden trellis at the castle is a great photo opportunity. Pink, red, and multicolored roses grow up and over the trellis that you can walk under next to the castle walls. I would recommend coming to visit the castle in the morning to get photos of no people in your shots. Plus, the morning light makes the roses look so vibrant against the blue sky and castle walls.

CastelvecchioCastelvecchio

Castelvecchio is the oldest section of Buonconsiglio Castle built in the first half of the 1200s. It was used as a military stronghold along the River Adige until it passed to the church in 1277. The entrance into the interior of the castle has you going through an intimidating Gothic door over an ancient drawbridge. Then you have multiple choices for which direction you want to explore first.

Magno PalazzoMagno Palazzo

This section of Buonconsiglio Castle is from the 16th century and connects the medieval portion to the Torre Aquila by a suspended walkway. There are four wings to the Magno Palazzo around the Courtyard of the Lions. It doesn’t matter which wing you explore first; they all are amazing. Every stairway has marvelous frescoes, and each room has them on the walls. Buonconsiglio Castle has one of the better collections of Italian frescoes that I have seen. They are so well-preserved and largely intact.  Courtyard of the Lions in Magno Palazzo

Sala Grande room in Buonconsiglio Castle

Loggia del RomaninoLoggia del Romanino

This loggia, which is a gallery with an open side to the garden has amazing views of Trento. Along with the fabulous views of the town and mountains, the Romanino’s frescoes on the vaulted ceilings are breathtaking. The intricate details are so well preserved that it looks like it was painted recently. Heather in the Loggia del Romanino

Torre del FalcoTorre del Falco

Part of the guided tour to the Torre Aquila has you going through the Torre del Falco. The frescoes that cover the upper part of these walls depict hunting and outdoor scenes from 1530-1532. One of the scenes even shows the city of Salzburg. These paintings were done by Hans Bocksberger, the Elder.

Torre AquilaCycle of Months in the Torre Aquila

The Torre Aquila is the highlight of the Buonconsiglio Castle. The extra admission you pay to see the Circle of Months frescoes on the tower walls are so worth it. The frescoes display an accurate portrayal of the middle ages economic, political, and social life of peasants and nobles through a typical year. Although one of the frescoes, March, was lost in a fire. The remaining eleven are intact and show the amazing detail of what it was like to live back then and how they adapted to the seasons changing within the year. An artist painted these frescoes from Bohemia around the year 1400.Hallway toward Torre Aquila

Views from the TowersView of the Castle grounds from the hallway toward the Torre Aquila

When walking along to the towers, you can see quite a lot of Trento from high above the city. You can also get great views of the castle grounds and gardens from the windows and open loggias. You might not get a lot of time to capture these shots, so be ready with your camera and be quick. View of Trento from the hallway toward the Torre AquilaBack gardens at Buonconsiglio Castle

The ChapelChapel in Magno Palazzo at Buonconsiglio Castle

Walking down one of the hallways on the first floor of Magno Palazzo, I came across the chapel. I had to go in and see the stunning ceiling. The terracotta decorated vaulted ceiling has figures of the Apostles and spiritual leaders of the Church. The center has God among the angels represented. Zaccaria Zacchi created the ceiling.Vaulted ceiling in the Chapel of Magno Palazzo at Buonconsiglio Castle

Giunta AlbertianaGiunta Albertiana

Giunta Albertiana is between the medieval and Renaissance sections of the castle. This portion of the castle was built in the late 17th century and has an internal courtyard with tiered open galleries and a small loggia. The newest and smallest part of Buonconsiglio Castle has some exciting places to explore. There are multiple floors, stairways, arches, frescoes, and gorgeous art to admire. This place has so many areas that you could actually get lost exploring the entire castle.

Art and ArtifactsLibrary at Buonconsiglio Castle

Walking through the many rooms of Buonconsiglio Castle, you will come across portraits of the prince bishops that resided here. The artwork is placed in galleries throughout the castle, but the frescoes on the walls and the wooden decorated vaulted ceilings will try to capture your attention away from the art. Do make some time to browse through the art galleries. There is also a museum on the lower floors of Castelvecchio that displays Roman artifacts and other items.

PrisonHallways in the Prison

Buonconsiglio Castle was used as a jail by the Austrian government. During World War I, many Trentino irredentists were imprisoned and convicted by Austria because of their Italian ideologies. It was in 1916, when Damiano Chiesa, Cesare Battisti, and Fabio Filzi were executed here at the castle after being imprisoned in these cells. There are plaques and memorials for these men in the cells.Remembrance form executed prisoners at Buonconsiglio Castle

SummaryMagno Palazzo

Spend a morning at Buonconsiglio Castle, and you will be immersed in the art and history of Trento. The frescoes are magnificent and the Cycle of Months is an absolute must-see activity for you to add to your list of things to do in Trento, Italy. Come and wander around and explore the multiple floors, beautiful galleries, and magnificent gardens of Buonconsiglio Castle. You will definitely enjoy your time exploring this castle!

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Further Reading

If you are coming to Italy for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:

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