Bressanone – by wheelchair through the bishop’s town

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The municipality of Brixen im Eisacktal

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

When people in South Tyrol speak of Bressanone (Italian: Brixen), they can be referring to both the town itself and the municipality. The municipality of Bressanone is literally located in the heart of South Tyrol - nestled in a wide valley hollow of the Eisack Valley. In addition to the town, the municipality includes the surrounding villages on the Pfefferberg, Sankt Andrä on the slope of the local mountain with the interesting name "Plose", as well as the villages of Albeins, Elvas, Milland, Afers and Sarns. By the way, Brixen is considered the oldest town in Tyrol.

Around the municipality you will find many apple orchards, chestnut groves and vineyards, which grow excellently thanks to the mild climate in the Eisacktal. This is also one of the reasons why Bressanone is doubly fascinating - the historic bishop's town presents visitors with a wide range of cultural activities, while the surrounding villages offer opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the wonderful nature of the Valle Isarco. For this, the inhabitants of Bressanone mostly use their local mountain - the Plose - or the Pfefferberg, which can be found on the other side of the valley opposite.

Bressanone - general

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

The bishop's town of Bressanone combines medieval-baroque flair with modern lifestyle and a fascinating mountain world. Already in the Middle Ages many traders, artists and travellers stopped here on their way between the south and the north. In addition to the old town, there are the districts of Kranebitt, Stufels, Milland, Zinggen and Rosslauf. For North German ears quite interesting names.
Geographically, Bressanone is located at the confluence of the rivers Eisack and Rienz at an altitude of 559 m and is the third largest city in South Tyrol after Bolzano and Merano.

Bressanone - historical

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

In addition to popes and emperors, even an elephant stopped off in Bressanone in 1552. Soliman, as the elephant was called, was on his way to Vienna. A highlight that even today is gladly highlighted in the history of the city.
For almost 800 years prince-bishops resided in Brixen, who possessed both spiritual and secular power and had a decisive influence on the townscape of Brixen.

About 10,000 years ago people already lived in the "Brixner Becken". Archaeological finds bear witness to this. The year 901 is considered to be the year of the town's foundation, as Bressanone is mentioned for the first time in a deed of donation from this year. According to this document, the Carolingian Louis IV gave the bishop Zacharias of Säben the farm "Prichsna".

In the second half of the 10th century, the bishop's seat is transferred from Säben to Brixen. From 1027 to 1803 the bishops of Brixen are also German imperial princes. Around the cathedral and the bishop's palace, Brixen grows into a town, which is surrounded by a wall in the middle of the 12th century. Since 1964 the bishop has lived in Bolzano, but the cathedra and the cathedral chapter remained in Bressanone.

Bressanone - cultural

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

The most striking building in the city is the Bressanone Cathedral, which is located directly on the Cathedral Square. Here it is worthwhile to enjoy an espresso in one of the numerous cafés and to let the view wander over the buildings.

From the Romanesque frescoes in St. John's Chapel to the Gothic frescoes in the cloister of the cathedral and the Baroque ceiling frescoes by Paul Troger - in and around the cathedral there are many treasures from past centuries to discover.

From the cathedral square you can also take a tour of the Hofburg, which is not far away. The Hofburg combines Renaissance and Baroque elements to create a magnificent building and the parish church of St. Michael impresses with the "White Tower", a landmark of Bressanone. Also worthwhile is a detour to the Diocesan Museum or the Pharmacy Museum. A stroll through the "Kleine und Große Lauben" is also recommended: They house traditional inns, cool bars and exclusive boutiques. Unlike the Lauben in Bolzano and Merano, they are very winding, as they were built around the already existing cathedral quarter and the city wall.

The city has many houses with colourful and ornate facades and it is worth stopping every now and then to look at them.

Imperial Palace & Diocesan Museum Brixen

The Hofburg in the centre of Bressanone is one of the most important castle courtyards in South Tyrol and was originally a medieval town castle built in the 13th century. In its current form, the castle is a Renaissance and Baroque building that houses the Diocesan Museum and is also used as a venue for various events. During the Christmas season, for example, breathtaking light and music shows take place in the picturesque courtyard of the Hofburg, which captivate numerous visitors every year and can be perfectly combined with a visit to the Brixen Christmas market.

Until 1973, the Hofburg was the residence of the bishops of the diocese of Brixen, who also held secular power until around 1800. Thus Bressanone was in possession of a princely court, to which the name "Hofburg" goes back. In 1973 the bishop's seat was moved to Bolzano and the Hofburg was used for other purposes.

On the outside, the Hofburg in Brixen is a closed palace building with four wings, three storeys as well as two tower-like porches and a fortified moat on the south side. Today a brick bridge leads over the moat. Visitors enter the magnificent inner courtyard via a stuccoed entrance hall.

The collection of the Diocesan Museum contains sacred works of art from the Romanesque period to the modern age. It also houses the Bressanone Cathedral treasury, which is one of the most important in the Alpine region and includes numerous liturgical utensils, vestments and reliquaries.

accessibility

Access to the Hofburg is via a level but bumpy path of natural stone paving. The visitor tour first leads through the ground floor. The starting point is a crib exhibition, which can be reached via 2 short connecting ramps with a gradient of 18 %.
The picturesque inner courtyard leads to the spacious elevator (260 × 110 cm), which takes you up to the upper floor. There the Hofratstube, the cathedral treasury, the court church and the exhibition area can be visited. There are high thresholds between the individual rooms, partly in the area of the double doors.

On the ground floor, right next to the elevator, there is a barrier-free WC.

The adjacent courtyard garden is accessible via a short steep ramp with a bumpy natural stone surface.

Pharmacy Museum

The museum documents more than 400 years of pharmaceutical history with a wealth of equipment, medicines, vessels and packaging. The exhibition area is 150 m² and is divided into four rooms. The work in the pharmaceutical laboratory and the instruments of the pharmacist are presented. Furthermore, an insight is given into the life of a family that has practised the profession of pharmacist over many generations.

The museum has a library with pharmaceutical works from several centuries. In addition to the mere contemplation of the exhibited objects, the museum relies on interactivity.

accessibility

The museum entrance on the second floor is accessible by lift (140 × 90 cm) but has six high steps in the doorway. Internally, the collection is spread over 4 rooms connected by large wooden doors (10 cm high thresholds). There is a barrier-free toilet on the ground floor.

Bressanone Cathedral and Cloister

The construction of the cathedral of Bressanone began in 980. After a great fire in 1174, the cathedral was rebuilt and extended with three naves and two Romanesque towers. Subsequently, the cathedral was completed in the Gothic style. In the 18th century the cathedral was rebuilt again and got its present baroque appearance. The adjacent cathedral cloister with its frescoes is particularly worth seeing. The cathedral cloister is known for its wonderful wall paintings. Arcades were painted in different epochs from Romanesque to Gothic.

accessibility

The main entrance to the cathedral church on Cathedral Square has a 6 cm high threshold. Internally, the cathedral has sufficient manoeuvring space and the marble flooring does not cause any difficulty in moving around.

There are two options for access to the adjacent cathedral cloister: The entrance portal on the right side from the cathedral has 2 steps (20 cm and 12 cm), which is why we recommend visitors in wheelchairs to use the side entrance in the Albuingasse (house number 2) (6 cm high threshold). Internally, the picturesque cathedral cloister is designed without steps.

Bressanone - relaxed

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

Acquarena Bressanone

In order to offer water fun and a feel-good ambience for the whole family, nowadays it takes more than just an ordinary swimming pool with a children's pool. One adventure pool that set new standards in South Tyrol and has found many imitators in recent years is the Acquarena in Brixen.

The Acquarena's pioneering role is no coincidence: its numerous pools and water basins, the generous sauna landscape, the comprehensive wellness and fitness area and the excellent restaurant make it a true showpiece swimming pool in South Tyrol. It is open 365 days a year and offers a sports pool for water rats, a fun pool, a children's pool, a whirlpool as well as a brine pool and various saunas.
You can find out more in our article "barrier-free bathing fun in South Tyrol" or directly at the Homepage of the Acquarena.

Bressanone - Parking & Toilets

Barrier-free on the way in Brixen

The city is well equipped with handicapped parking spaces and public, barrier-free toilets.

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Around Bressanone

On the way in the Eisack Valley

The surrounding villages in the municipality of Brixen also have a lot to offer. So you can make various hikes in all directions of the municipality. In the north you will find the Vahrner See lake and the Neustift monastery. To the east lies the local mountain Plose, which can be reached by cable car. In the south you can cycle through apple orchards along the Eisack river and on the left mountain range you can enjoy the view in chestnut groves or start one or the other hike. So there is something for everyone.
But let's start up north:

Neustift Monastery

A detour to the Neustift monastery, founded in 1142 by Bishop Hartmann, 3 km away, is worthwhile for culture and wine lovers alike.
The Augustinian Canons' Monastery of Neustift was founded as early as 1142 by the then Bishop Hartmann of Brixen.
During the baroque period and in the 16th century during the threat from the Turks, the monastery in the Eisack valley was repeatedly extended and rebuilt and over the years became increasingly rich in art-historical gems.
These include, for example, the late Baroque collegiate church "Zu Unserer Lieben Frau", the Gothic cloister, the extensive library and the Pinakothek. Worth seeing are, among other things, the miracle fountain in the inner courtyard, which, in addition to the seven wonders of the world, represents the monastery itself as the eighth, as well as the grave of the famous South Tyrolean minnesinger Oswald von Wolkenstein.

However, Neustift is not only an attractive address for art and culture lovers, but also for wine connoisseurs. After all, Neustift is one of the most important wineries that even owns some vineyards in the area of Girlan in the south of South Tyrol and is particularly appreciated for its Sylvaner, Müller-Thurgau and Kerner. A corresponding offer can be found in the Stiftkellerei and in the Weinschenke.

Fun fact: The Neustift monastery has always had a dormitory, which in the past and still today is only open to boys. Baumi was also allowed to visit this dormitory and he often tells stories about the sometimes exciting, sometimes exhausting times in the Neustift monastery.

A hike from Brixen along the Eisack river to the Neustift monastery is also beautiful.
(Attention - the described hiking trail is not barrier-free)

Lake Vahrner

The beautiful Vahrner See is the ideal destination for all connoisseurs and hikers. Around the lake you can take wonderful walks through cherry trees, chestnuts and apple trees.

The adjacent biotope has been under protection since 1977 and provides a habitat for many different dragonflies as well as other animal and plant species. All those who want to take a refreshing dip in the lake can do so on the northern shore and then enjoy the sun on the sunbathing lawn.

The hiking trail around the lake is not strenuous at all and can therefore be mastered with the whole family. The numerous cosy spots invite you to have a picnic in the most beautiful nature. From time to time the hiking trail is closed due to military operations. It is therefore worth asking at the inn beforehand.

We have already undertaken a hike from Vahrn to Lake Vahrn ourselves and documented everything.

Plose - Brixen's "local mountain

The Plose is a mountain range in the Lüsner mountains near Brixen. On it there are several peaks: Telegraph (2486 m s.l.m.), Pfannspitze (2547 m s.l.m.) and Gabler (2576 m s.l.m.). The Plose is bordered by the Eisack valley to the west, the Lüsner valley to the north and east and the Afer valley to the south.

Due to the gentle crests, the Plose is suitable for skiing and is accessible by numerous lifts. The Plose cable car leads from St. Andrä below directly into the ski area. The Trametsch slope is particularly well known and, with a total length of 9 km, is considered the longest downhill run in South Tyrol. The Plose is also an extensive hiking area with a remarkable panorama. Just south of the Telegraph and west of the Pfannspitze and Gabler is the Plosehütte.

We have not yet done any hikes on the Plose. However, the so-called Woodywalk is suitable for prams. Possibly this is also passable with a wheelchair.
If you have ever been on the Plose, please feel free to share your experiences with us. Best via the Form: Maybe we will soon be able to publish wheelchair accessible tours on the Plose.

accessibility

The Plose cable cars have a large visitor car park with two reserved parking spaces for passengers with disabilities. A level access path leads to the barrier-free entrance and ticket office area, where there is a catering outlet and a barrier-free toilet. For subsequent boarding of the circulating train cabins, the system is stopped for passengers with wheelchairs: Staff provide trained assistance to overcome the existing height difference of around 35 cm. As the cabin door and the interior cabin have a width of 58 cm, it is recommended that wheelchairs can be folded up if necessary. Once you have arrived at the Kreuztal top station, you get off in the same way. There is a barrier-free toilet in the exit area of the mountain station. A ramp with a gradient of 15 % takes you to the adjacent mountain restaurant with sun terrace.

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The Eisacktaler cycle path

The cycle path between Bressanone and Bolzano runs through the wildly rugged Valle Isarco - where it widens, wineries and settlements stretch out.

The narrow Eisack valley has to make room for three main traffic arteries in addition to the river: The Brenner road, the motorway and the railway. The latter has been largely relocated in tunnels under the mountain in recent years - the cycle path now runs in its place. The route starts in Brixen and heads south along the Eisack. Here the valley is wide, apples thrive and on the sunny western slope vines. In a short time we reach the medieval town of Klausen, dominated by the Säben Monastery and Branzoll Castle. After an obligatory break in the town centre, the route continues to Waidbruck, with the villages of Villanders and Barbian on the slope to the right.

The valley becomes narrower: from Kollmann we cycle along the former railway line to Kardaun: bridges and above all tunnels make the cycle path interesting. At Blumau, along the cycle path, the "eye journey" begins: works of art, installations and paintings accompany us as far as Bolzano. The valley widens and we find ourselves in a wine landscape. The path runs directly into the Bolzano R4 cycle route on the banks of the Eisack river and offers connection to the urban cycle path network.

We have done this tour many times, it is our handbike training route. If there are questions about the bike path, always here with it.

The Pepper Mountain

The slopes on the west side of the Brixen valley basin in the Eisacktal valley in South Tyrol are known as the Pfeffersberg. These slope down from the Hundskopf in the Sarntal Alps to the Eisacktal.
The villages of Tils, Gereuth, Pairdorf, Pinzagen, Tötschling, Tschötsch, Untereben and Mahr nestle on its slopes. Those who spend their holidays here benefit from the mild low mountain climate of the Eisacktal.
The surroundings of the Pfeffersberg offer numerous opportunities to recharge your batteries in the greenery. A detour to the romantically situated Cyrill church in Pinzagen is worthwhile.
In autumn, by the way, a typical Eisacktaler Törggele evening should not be missed here - Buschenschänke such as the Villscheiderhof or Plonerhof spoil the palates of every visitor.
The Musikkapelle Peter Mayr Pfeffersberg, which looks back on a long tradition, is one of the most outstanding music bands in South Tyrol. Perhaps you will come to enjoy a musical treat.
The 7-church path is supposed to be beautiful. Since we have not yet tried this ourselves, we can unfortunately say nothing about accessibility. Also here the offer: Whoever wants to, can share their experiences with us.

Outlook

The cities of South Tyrol

The next town we take a closer look at is Bruneck in the Pustertal valley.

Stay tuned!

To travel is to live - to live is to travel.​

Jean Paul
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