Day trip destination
Messner Mountain Museum Firmian
Man and mountain, mountain and man - this recent relationship is the theme of the main seat of the Messner Mountain Museums near Bozen.
MMM Firmian is located at Sigmundskron Castle, one of the oldest castle sites in South Tyrol. It was first mentioned in records in the 10th century by the name of ‘Formicaria’, which is Latin for ‘anthill’. This description arose because of the shape of the castle. MMM Firmian not only displays mountaineering history, but also a part of the history of South Tyrol's autonomy. In 1957, over 30,000 South Tyroleans came here to protest against violations of the Paris Treaty and for South Tyrol to be granted more independence.
The fascination of the mountains
Mountaineering as we know it has only existed for around 250 years. Before this, mountains were viewed as hostile territory, and were avoided whenever possible. This has since changed, and points of contact with mountains range from conserving nature, conquering mountain peaks and the cult of mountain climbing and mass tourism, to research into the Alpine area. For a long time, the classic sport of mountain climbing was believed to bring religious enhancement, in that God may be said to be found at the summit cross.
Firmian castle site perches around 80 metres above the confluence of the Etsch and Eisack rivers. Like an anthill, the castle grounds are marked by large differences in level and feature rocks, lots of green spaces, towers and steps. But where do today’s names of ‘Firmian‘ and ’Sigmundskron‘ come from? After Formigar castle was presented to Udalrich II, the Bishop of Trent, by Emperor Conrad II in 1027, it was looked after in the 12th century by high-ranking civil servants who called themselves ‘von Firmian’, and the name was transferred to the castle site. Three hundred years later, Duke Sigmund the Wealthy, Prince Bishop of Tyrol, bought it, had it extended and gave it the name of Sigmundskron Castle. It is interesting to note that only ruins remain of the original fortress, which are located at the highest point of the castle grounds. Its owners changed a few times over the subsequent years, and it has belonged to the Province of Bozen since 1996. Sigmundskron Castle has seen several conversions so far, including a refurbishment that allowed the ruin to be visited. The architect Werner Tscholl took measures to ensure that its historical features were preserved as best as possible, and hardly any changes are visible from the outside.
All roads lead to Firmian
MMM Firmian is host to regular exhibitions and events, where Reinhold Messner is sometimes even present in person.
Take note: you have to be confident on your feet to visit this museum! The inner courtyard of the castle needs sturdy shoes. MMM Firmian may be accessed by means of a path from Dorf Sigmundskron, which can be reached by several train and bus connections. The castle may also be reached by bicycle.