Visting Brixen (Bressanone)

Published on:  | Last updated: 23 April 2018

Brixen (Bressanone) was the capital of the Prince-Bishopric of Brixen. It was a more-or-less independent state for almost eight centuries. The Prince-Bishop ruled much of the area around Brixen and neigh­bouring Bruneck (Brunico).

The city has a charming centro storico. The star sights are the Dom (cathedral) (in particular don't miss the frescoes in the cloister) and the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella).

The Dom (Duomo)

The interior of the Dom is a baroque extra­vaganza. The ceiling of the nave has a 200 m2 fresco by Paul Troger. For me though, the highlight is the cloister. Work started in 1390, and a number of artists worked on it over the next century or so, decor­ating fifteen of the twenty arcades with frescoes that have been beauti­fully restored.

If you enjoy the cloister, one of the artists, Leonhard von Brixen, painted a fantastic fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin (Krönung Mariens) on the south façade of the parish church (Pfarrkirche Sankt Georg) in nearby Vahrn (Varna) which defin­itely looks worth a short detour.

According to valleisarco.info there are free guided tours of the cathedral and cloister on weekdays at 10:30 and 15:00 between Easter and the end of October (although it doesn't say whether these are also offered in English.

Frescoes in the cloister of the Brixner Dom (Brixen cathedral)

Frescoes in the cloister of the Brixner Dom (Brixen cathedral)

The Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)

The Kloster Neustift is surrounded by terraced vineyards. It has been making wine since 1142 and is of the oldest active wineries in the world, and the Stiftskellerei is the area's major wine producer. TheStiftskeller (wine cellar-bar) is, literally, a cool place to enjoy a glass of wine on a hot summer afternoon. The wine is very reasonably priced. Opening hours: 10:00 - 19:00. Closed on Sundays and religious holidays. The stift­skeller also offer guided wine tastings for groups of 10 or more.

Autumn vineyards around the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella). Photo by 'Uoaei1' CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The stift­skirche (monastery church) is another fabulous baroque extra­vaganza. You can get a good view of the interior of the church through wrought-iron gates, but you can only go inside, as part of the organised tours of the abbey.

The church of the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)

The church of the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)

You can, however, wander round the cloister. According to wikipedia the frescoes are by the artist Michael Pacher, although according to the abbey's website the artist was Friedrich Pacher. Either way, they are worth a look, even if they aren't as extensive or as well-preserved as the frescoes in the cathedral cloister. Michael Pacher was also commis­sioned by the abbey to pain the Kirchenväteraltar (altarpiece of the Church fathers) which is now in the Alte Pinakothek in München.

Frescoes on the ceiling of the cloister of the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella). Artist Friedrich Pacher or Michael Pacher

Frescoes on the ceiling of the cloister of the Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella). Artist Friedrich Pacher or Michael Pacher

Also look out for the engelsburg (Angel Castle) by the entrance to the monastery complex. The (little) castle gets its name from the figure of Saint Michael the Archangel holding a pair of scales in which there are two human figures. There's also the Brunnen der Wunder an eight-sided well decorated with pictures of the seven wonders of the world, plus, of course, a picture of the abbey itself.

The Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella): figure of Sain Michael on the Engelsburg (Castel Sant'Angelo)

The Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella): figure of Saint Michael on the Engelsburg (Castel Sant'Angelo)

More information

Places to stay

The Brixen Card

Many hotels and other accom­mod­ation providers in and around Brixen are part of the BrixenCard scheme. The benefits of the (free) card offers include free bus and cable car rides as well as one free admission to the swimming pool. See also: brixencard.info.

Hotels etc

suedtirol.info: Valle Isarco Eisacktal (de/​​it/​​en/​​nl/​​cs/​​pl/​​fr/​​ru) is the section of the main regional tourist inform­ation site suedtirol.info has an accom­mod­ation search facility

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:

Brixen (Bressanone) | Natz-Schabs (Naz-Sciaves)

About these links

If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accom­mod­ation.

I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.

Hostels

There's a hostel in Brixen: the Jugendherberge Brixen.

Campsites

There are a couple of campsites near to Brixen. I stayed at the Löwenhof hotel/​​campsite which is conveni­ently located for both Brixen and the Kloster Neustift, but it is on a road which means that parts of the site are affected by traffic noise (and there's an electricity substation that makes a very quiet humming noise). There's also the Camping Vahrner See, which promises a more peaceful but more out-of-the-way location.

Transport and services

Bike shops

Resources

Tourist information websites

Places and attractions

Dom (Duomo)

If you're inter­ested in the frescoes in the cloister there are useful articles on Wikipedia. They are only available in the German, but they are worth running through Google Translate.

Acquarena swimming pool
Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)
Festung Franzensfeste (Franzensfeste fortress)

Cycling-related websites


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