Museums in South Tyrol – a visit to Ötzi & Co

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology with Ötzi, the Man from the Ice

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is located in Bozen’s old town: it documents the entire history of South Tyrol from the Palaeolithic age (15,000 B.C.) to the Carolingian era (around 800 A.D.). In this historical framework Ötzi, the glacier mummy with his associated finds have a central position in the exhibition area. More than 5,000 years ago a man climbed up onto the icy heights of the Schnalstal glacier and died there. He was found by chance in 1991, together with his clothes and equipment, mummified and frozen – an archaeological sensation and a unique snapshot of a man from the Copper Age who was travelling up in the high mountains. As well as Ötzi the Iceman, the South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology displays outstanding finds from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman times and the Carolingian era on a display area of 1,200 m², showing the southern Alpine region as an important area for settlement and transit in prehistory and early history. Closed Mondays.

MMM - Messner Mountain Museum

Reinhold Messner’s museum project has involved choosing five unusual locations in the magnificent Alpine landscape and dedicating them to the mountains and their culture:

MMM Firmian, the centrepiece, at Sigmundskron castle addresses the theme of the “Enchanted Mountain”.

MMM Ortles, at an altitude of 1900 metres in Sulden am Ortler, shows the “Terrors of Ice and Darkness”.

MMM Juval, at Juval Castle, the summer residence of the Messner family, has the theme of the “Myth of the Mountain”.

MMM Ripa, in Bruneck Castle, revolves around mountain peoples and the “Mountain Heritage”.

MMM Dolomites, on Monte Rite (2,181 m), has the theme “Rock” and offers a 360° panorama over the Dolomite summits.

Neustift Monastery

Visitors to the monastery can view fascinating historic items and interesting aspects of the history of art: the collegiate church, flooded with natural light, is the southernmost occurrence of the Southern German late baroque style and offers a place for spending time and quiet prayer. Attached is the cloister with its Gothic vaults and frescoes by various artists.

The art gallery contains a series of Gothic panels and altars by Friedrich Pacher and his school, valuable manuscripts and other precious liturgical items, as well as scientific apparatus and historical instruments. The final jewel is the library, with some 92,000 volumes and its large room in rococo style.

Guided tours (for 10+ persons) are on Mondays to Saturdays at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. (closed Sundays and on religious holidays). Guided tours may also be possible for fewer than 10 persons at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. There are additional tours at 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. from mid-July to mid-September.

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