- To see
Since the Middle Ages, the heart of the town has had a character of a markedly dualised nature: in the north, in the business area of Lauben, Graben and Altenmarkt and in Stufels to the east, the bourgeois character of Brixen predominates; moving south from the Domplatz, the spiritual side of the town is more in evidence. The hum of business in the north and contemplative peace in the south make an attractive contrast.
Our tour begins in the Domplatz square, redeveloped in 1998, with the imposing façades of the Cathedral and St Michaels parish church on the east side, the town hall on the north side and public buildings on the west side. Towards the southwest the square opens out on to the Hofburg, where the Diocesan Museum can be found.
The interior of the Dom (cathedral), reworked in the Baroque style between 1745-1758, is a monumental experience. Its broad vaulted nave is richly decorated with marble and stucco, the high altar by Teodoro Benedetti includes an expressive altar print by Michelangelo Unterberger. The high point of the artistic work is the ceiling fresco, the "Adoration of the Lamb" by Paul Troger.
Immediately to the south of the cathedral is the Kreuzgang (cloister), which represents the stylistic richness of form in the late Gothic style as found in the Tyrol. Excellent artists from the Brixen and Bruneck art schools painted 15 of the 20 archways in the ambulatory between about 1370 and 1510. The usually closed Johanneskapelle at the southwest of the cloister is a showpiece of early Romanesque painting.
From the cloister it is only a short distance to Seminarplatz. The priests' seminary, reworked in the Baroque style circa 1750, today serves as the Theology College. Immediately to the south of this is the Cusanus-Akademie, a busy college. Behind the seminary is spread the panorama of the Brixen hinterland with the low mountain range St. André, and the villages of St. Leonhard, St. André, Mellaun and Klerant. Above the low mountain range stands the Plose (approx. 2500 m).
Just a short distance away from the seminary, past the back of the cathedral and the parish church, is the Michaelstor. Turn right here and the roads will take you via Adlerbraeckengasse to the attractive district of Stufels. The road goes via the Pfarrplatz, see the prestigious Pfaundlerhaus, directly to the shopping street: Grosse and Kleine Lauben. The Lauben came into being at the beginning of the 1400s; the sheltered alleyways protected passers-by from the rain and the sun.
Moving southwards from here, the Kleine Lauben leads towards the Hofburg, the residence and administrative headquarters of the bishop until 1964 and, since 1974, the Diocesan Museum. Surrounded by a moat, the Hofburg is simultaneously an architectural jewel and a treasure chamber: the inner courtyard with Renaissance archways directs you to the display rooms in the house. They contain sacred works of art from the Romanesque period to the modern era and the Kaisertrakt offers a glimpse of the sophisticated Rococo culture.
Images and contents are courtesy of the Tourist Office Brixen