One of the most famous people in South Tyrol: Reinhold Messner. He gained his fame as a rock climber, expedition mountaineer, polar and desert traverser and repeatedly broke taboos. For four decades, he gathered experience at the extreme edges of the earth, which today enables him to create a museum chain on the subject of mountains. Messner himself calls this project his “15th eight-thousander”.
The Messner Mountain Museum, initiated by Reinhold Messner, comprises a six-part museum structure, whereby each house, like a satellite, is dedicated to a sub-theme. We will introduce you to all the museums here one by one. You can find information on the MMM Ortles, the MMM Ripa and the MMM Juval as well as the MMM Dolomites by clicking on the names. Today we take you to the enchanted mountain, the MMM Firmian
The Enchanted Mountain: Permanent Exhibition at MMM Firmian
Man – mountain confrontation
Sigmundskron Castle is home to the MMM Firmian, whose core theme is the confrontation between man and mountain. Between the Sciliar and the Texel Group outside – art, installations, relics inside – the spacious facility sets a course. The paths, stairs and towers lead you from the depths of the mountains, where the origins and exploitation of the mountains become comprehensible, to the religious significance of the peaks as an orientation aid and bridge to the beyond, to the history of mountaineering and the alpine tourism of our day.
The history of Siegmundskron Castle
The castle is enthroned on a porphyry spur of the Mitterberg above the confluence of the Adige and Eisack rivers. Sigmundskron has always been a special castle: one of the oldest in South Tyrol, with its walls up to five metres thick, an early testimony to the art of fortification. The first historical references under the name “Formicaria” (later “Formigar”) date back to 945. Emperor Konrad II gave the complex to the Bishop of Trento in 1027. In the 12th century, the castle was given to ministers, who from then on called themselves “von Firmian”.
Around 1473 the Prince of Tyrol, Duke Sigmund der Münzreiche, bought the castle, had it converted into a fortress and renamed it Sigmundskron Castle. Only modest remains of the old Formigar Castle remain, most of which are located on the highest point of the fortress terrain. Due to financial difficulties, Sigmund soon had to pawn the castle. As a result, the complex deteriorated more and more. At the end of the 18th century the castle belonged to the Counts of Wolkenstein, from 1807 to 1870 to the Counts of Sarnthein, then until 1994 to the Counts of Toggenburg.
The castle is an important political symbol for the South Tyroleans: in 1957 the largest protest rally in the history of the country took place here under the leadership of Silvius Magnago. Over 30,000 South Tyroleans gathered in the castle complex to protest against the non-observance of the Treaty of Paris and to demand independent autonomy (“Los of Trento”). In 1996 the ruins were acquired by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano. The White Tower of the castle houses a permanent exhibition on the history of Sigmundskron.
In the architect Werner Tscholl, Messner has found a brother in spirit for the castle restoration and the exhibition concept. Tscholl, who specialises in the restoration of castles, sees himself as a preserver of the original. At Sigmundskron Castle he succeeds in meeting a special challenge: to preserve the historic walls, but to proceed in such a way that all interventions can be reversed at any time.
The new architecture remains in the background and serves as a stage. The glass roofs on the towers, for example, are not visible from the outside, nor are pipes, electricity and water lines. Tscholl used only steel, glass and iron as materials, modern and at the same time timeless materials that stand out against the old walls.
MMM Firmian opening hours & contact
The MMM Firmian is open from the third Sunday in March to the second Sunday in November from 10 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5 pm. Thursdays are a day of rest.
Via Castel Firmiano 53
Tel. +39 0471 631264
We wish you much joy with the enchanted mountain!