Venerable library with ceiling fresco and Rococo elements at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg (c) photo Helge Kirchberger

Culture and History

A timeless spring journey to 6 magnificent Schlosshotels

As the first delicate blossoms of spring transform the landscapes of Austria and Italy into a kaleidoscope of colors, a seasonal spectacle begins that awakens both nature and the tales of long-past eras. In art, culture, and literature, spring has always marked a time of renewal and inspiration. From the vibrant paintings of the Renaissance to the poetic verses that celebrate nature’s rebirth, this season has fascinated and moved artists and thinkers through the centuries.
This phase of new beginnings finds its parallels in the expanses of gentle hills and historic cities which are home, not only to architectural marvels, but also the vivid stories and cultures embedded within the walls of castles, fortresses, and manors. These ancient witnesses of history open their gates wide to welcome those in search of an experience beyond the ordinary stay - refuges where luxury, tradition, and hospitality bond with the freshness and vitality of springtime.
In every corner of these historic residences, behind every artfully carved door, each paving stone has a story to tell that is waiting to be discovered. These places are not merely backdrops for fleeting moments or transient stays but vibrant stages where the past continues to live and breathe in the present. They are bearers and heirs of culture that preserve and pass on the legacy of an ages-old yet ever reburgeoning Europe.
This spring, our journey through Austria and Italy leads to some of the most significant and enchanting Schlosshotels and estates – from proud Burg Bernstein, to picturesque Schloss Englar in South Tyrol, the enchanted Villa Le Barone in Tuscany, historic Hotel Richard Löwenherz in the Wachau, mystical Burg Feistritz, to majestic Schloss Hotel Korb, also in South Tyrol. Let yourself be enchanted by the unparalleled atmosphere of these historic sites, blooming anew in the light of spring.

Perched on a wooded hill with grazing Highland cattle on a lush green meadow in the foreground (c) photo Matthias Kronfuss
The lord of Burg Bernstein, Erasmus Almásy, baking strudel (c) Matthias Kronfuss

Guests of the Almásy Family - Burg Bernstein

Burg Bernstein, situated amid the idyllic landscape of Central Burgenland, has close ties to the Almásy family. For over six generations, their family has guarded this historical gem and shared their deep passion for adventure, discovery, and the past with every guest who crosses its threshold.

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A Historical Hideaway

The castle offers nine meticulously restored guest rooms, distinguished by the absence of televisions, underscoring the historical character of the place and ensuring a peaceful, undisturbed atmosphere. The special nature of this retreat lies in the combination of medieval charm and the authenticity of a life that unfolds far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern everyday life.

László E. Almásy: The Real Life Behind 'The English Patient'

The story of Burg Bernstein is inseparably linked with its most famous inhabitant, László E. Almásy. Inspiration for the multi-award-winning novel and movie "The English Patient," the castle offers a fascinating backdrop for those wishing to follow in the footsteps of this extraordinary adventurer and explorer. Tours of the castle, which are offered from May to October, immerse visitors in Almásy's world and provide insights into the actual facts behind the fictional narrative.

A Castle Prevails Across the Centuries

From those first chronicles dating back to the 13th century to the present day, Burg Bernstein has managed to withstand numerous historical events. This rich past is brought to life through personal tours led by the lord of the castle, Erasmus Almásy, with particular emphasis on factual accounts of family and castle history.

A Refuge with a Personal Touch

The hospitality of the Almásy family, also reflected in personal preparation of meals by the castle hosts themselves, gives each stay a very special note. Their personal care and insights into the historical events affecting the castle make a visit to Burg Bernstein a unique experience.

Burg Bernstein is a place that not only preserves history but also makes it tangible. Guests appreciate the opportunity to immerse themselves in a bygone era while enjoying the heartfelt hospitality that makes this historic setting so extraordinary.

Schloss Englar with its chapel, surrounded by vineyards and with mountains in the background (c) photo Schloss Englar

Schloss Englar: Vines and Rilke

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque cultural landscape of Überetsch, amid sun-drenched, terraced vineyards, stands Gothic Schloss Englar. A place where the beauty of the countryside, historical architecture, and fertile soils meld into an incomparable whole. This castle, swathed in an almost Mediterranean atmosphere, has a story to tell that is deeply anchored in the very roots of South Tyrol, reaching all the way back to the Late Middle Ages.

A Gothic Jewel

Owned by the Counts of Khuen-Belasi for nearly 400 years, Schloss Englar is justly regarded as one of the best-preserved Gothic castles in South Tyrol. Its location on a charming hill at the foot of the Mendel mountains, surrounded by ancient trees, a serene chapel, and an extensive estate, preserves its special allure to this very day. The features of South Tyrolean Late Gothic are clearly apparent in the castle’s appearance, with its cozy bay windows and hidden nooks inviting guests to linger and relax

Culture and Wine Growing United

Aside from its impressive architecture, Schloss Englar is renowned for its winery, distinguished by organically cultivated vineyards and the production of excellent vintages. The soils of the vineyards, containing volcanic porphyry and limestone compounds, provide the perfect foundation for cultivation of high-quality grapes. The castle truly exemplifies how nature's gifts can be transformed into fine wines that reflect the unique ambiance of the location. Trust us when we say, their Pinot Noir is a dream come true.

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Rilke’s Inspiration: Schloss Englar in Eppan

A notable moment in the castle’s history occurred with the visit of poet Rainer Maria Rilke. At the end of the 19th century, the then somewhat dilapidated west wing of the castle provided lodgings for many renowned artists, including Rilke, who came to Englar at the invitation of Otto Julius Bierbaum, a German journalist and writer. Rilke’s stay here inspired one of his poems:

"Englar im Eppan
Später Weg. Die Hütten kauern,
und das dumpfe Dorf schläft ein.
Ernste Türme seh ich dauern,
weit aus weißen Blütenschauern
wächst ihr Weltverlorensein.

Abendbrand in brachen Zinnen,
und der Wind fährt durch den Saal.
Und für wen im Burghof drinnen
immer noch die Brunnen rinnen -
keiner weiß es dort im Tal."
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1897

Schloss Englar is not only a testament to Gothic architecture but also a place that has inspired artists and visitors alike throughout the centuries. The story of Rainer Maria Rilke's visit and the ongoing cultivation of its wine-growing tradition are just two examples of how Schloss Englar uniquely connects past and present. It invites its guests to become part of its rich history and appreciate the beauty and tranquility that this historic gem exudes.


Gardener in the monastery garden of Hotel Richard Löwenherz in Dürnstein, picking rose petals under a blooming rose trellis (c) photo Chris Saupper
Old recipe book with historical recipes at Hotel Richard Löwenherz in Dürnstein, Wachau (c) photo Chris Saupper

Hotel Richard Löwenherz: A Journey Through Time in the Heart of the Wachau

Situated in the unique Wachau region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Hotel Richard Löwenherz invites guests on a journey deep into the history of this unique European riverscape. Where once the legendary English Kind Richard I, "The Lionheart," resided against his will, today’s panorama is practically unchanged: a breathtakingly majestic river flanked by the forests of the Waldviertel and Dunkelsteinerwald.

A Castle Town Full of History

Dürnstein, with its distinctive silhouette, has captivated not only kings and princes but also the common folk since the early Middle Ages. The picturesque lanes, the imposing ruins of Dürnstein Castle, and the extraordinary location on the Danube make Dürnstein a fascinating destination indeed. Here, visitors are able to experience the history and beauty of the small town and immerse themselves in times long past.

The Cultural Heritage of Viticulture in the Wachau

The Wachau, famous for its natural beauty, also cherishes a rich cultural heritage, especially when it comes to wines. This long tradition is nurtured at Hotel Richard Löwenherz and lovingly introduced to guests. Surrounded by the renowned vineyards of Dürnstein, the hotel offers unparalleled insights into the wine-growing traditions of the region, producing vintages that are appreciated for their elegance and complexity.

Spring Awakening in the Wachau

With spring comes a time of renewal in the Wachau. The valley awakens in a sea of colors, and the nature around Hotel Richard Löwenherz shows us its most beautiful side. In turn, this provides the ideal backdrop for exploring the cultural heritage of the region in all its glory, from medieval architecture to wine growing.

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The History of Hotel Richard Löwenherz

The hotel has a rich history dating back to 1289 when the Hager House and the Schenking estate were donated by powerful Leuthold I of Kuenring to the Clarissan abbey. After a tumultuous history, punctuated by the Reformation and war tributes, the property eventually came into private hands and was transformed in 1880 by the Thiery family into an inn of European standing, named after the English king Richard the Lionheart, who was actually held captive in Dürnstein from 1192 to 1193.

The Legend of Richard the Lionheart

The story of King Richard the Lionheart, who was captured on his return from the Third Crusade and held in Dürnstein, is legendary. The story of the minstrel Blondel, who discovered Richard by singing a song familiar to his monarch, adds a romantic note to the tale. Although not historically proven, this does demonstrate the deep connection of the people here with Richard the Lionheart, further contributing to the mystical aura of Dürnstein and of Hotel Richard Löwenherz.

Hotel Richard Löwenherz is not only a witness to the unparalleled beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Wachau but also a place where history comes alive. From wine-growing traditions to the glories of springtime and the legendary figure of Richard the Lionheart, this hotel offers guests an unforgettable journey through one of Europe's most beloved landscapes.

View across the garden of Villa Le Barone towards the nearby Tuscan village and the hilly landscape (c) photo Villa Le Barone

Villa Le Barone: Elegance and History in the Heart of Chianti

Nestled in the gentle hills of Tuscany amid the pristine landscapes of Chianti, Villa Le Barone, a historic estate with a rich past, stands majestically. Originally built in the Middle Ages as a baronial seat, this villa served as the summer residence for renowned Florentine ceramicist and sculptor Luca della Robbia during the Renaissance. Today, Villa Le Barone offers its guests an unmatched experience of beauty, tranquility, and natural luxury.

The Renaissance of Wine and Olive Oil

After World War I, Marchesa Maria Bianca Viviani della Robbia, née de Larderel, utilized the estate to cultivate wine and olive oil. Her daughter, Duchess Franca Visconti, later transformed the villa into one of the region's first boutique hotels, blending the refined, elegant atmosphere of a private home with the creature comforts of a modern hotel.

A Sanctuary of Peace and Culture

Villa Le Barone is surrounded by the romantic, gently undulating hills of Tuscany, providing beauty, authenticity, and natural luxury in a timeless and sheltered setting where guests are able to rejuvenate and recharge completely. The broad gardens, lovingly maintained rose beds, surrounding olive groves, and vineyards create the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable stay.

Art, Culture, and Nature in Harmony

Guests of Villa Le Barone can unwind in various lounges and living spaces, relaxing, reading, writing, or painting. On cooler autumn days, three fireplaces offer the ideal spot to enjoy a good book and a glass of local wine, reflecting on the day's experiences. The restaurant, located in the old wine cellar, serves Tuscan specialties and renowned local Chianti wines.

Chianti: Art and Wine Growing Go Hand-in-Hand

The Chianti region, famous for its picturesque landscapes and exceptional wines, also boasts a rich cultural spectrum that excites art lovers and wine connoisseurs alike. A prime example of the fusion of art and viticulture is the Castello di Ama winery. This acclaimed winery not only dedicates itself to producing high-quality wines but also houses an ambitious program of contemporary art. Artists from around the world are invited to exhibit their works in the winery’s unique setting, making Castello di Ama a true hub for art and culture in the heart of Chianti. Their commitment to contemporary art further underscores the cultural depth of the region and offers visitors a fascinating blend of artistic innovation and traditional winemaking.

View of the courtyard and arcaded walkways of Burg Feistritz in Lower Austria (c) photo
View of the full concert hall during a concert by Harriet and Friends at Burg Feistritz (c) Burg Feistritz

Burg Feistritz: A Cultural Jewel Through the Ages

Burg Feistritz, dating back deep into the Middle Ages, narrates a story of change and cultural richness. Originally designed as a fortified knight's castle, it has evolved over the centuries into a welcoming chateau that greets its music-loving guests with a mix of historical ambiance and modern comforts.

A Castle Full of Life and History

Painstaking renovations and cultural diversity have transformed the former fortress into a Schloss that impresses both with its architecture and its wide-ranging cultural program. From the arcaded courtyard, old stone staircases lead to the treasures of the castle: the Knight's Hall with a Bösendorfer grand piano, the castle chapel, terraces, studios, and seminar rooms. Individually designed guest rooms and dining areas for up to 60 people add the finishing touches.

Cultural Diversity and Special Events

Burg Feistritz is known for its broad spectrum of cultural events. The "Old Riding School," a majestic space built in the 19th century on a former tournament ground, serves as the venue for summer festivals, workshops, exhibitions, and concerts. Equipped with a large stage and catering facilities, it hosts the annual Summer Music Festival, drawing visitors from near and far.

The musical offerings at Burg Feistritz are particularly rich and diverse. The "Spring Classics" and the "harriet&friends Music Festival" are just two examples of the high-caliber concerts that take place throughout the year. From classical music to modern sounds, the castle offers something for every taste, attracting music lovers from around the world.

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Echo of Time: A Homage to Infinity

Burg Feistritz, nestled amid the timelessness of its walls, is a place where history and culture perform a dance duet. Every stone, every corner of this proud fortress whispers stories from past epochs, while the melodic sounds of music waft through the halls and touch the soul. It is a magical spot that invites visitors on a journey through time, where dreams and reality intertwine, and everyday life finds its boundaries in the beauty of art and nature. In the silence of the historical park or in the warm glow of candlelight during a concert in the Knight's Hall—Burg Feistritz is a refuge for those who seek the poetry in life and hope to discover a story in every moment. Here, in the embrace of history, lies a timeless space for inspiration, contemplation, and the pure joy of being.

Aerial view of Schloss Hotel Korb in Eppan, surrounded by vineyards (c) photo Social Ventures

Schloss Hotel Korb: Gateway to Another World

Imagine stepping through wrought iron gates and leaving the everyday behind. A winding pathway, flanked by gently swaying vines, leads you up to Schloss Hotel Korb. Here, amidst countless roses, a world unfolds where time speaks a different language.

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Welcome to a Family Establishment

At Schloss Hotel Korb, run by the Dellago family and their 32 affectionately nicknamed "castle spirits," hospitality is paramount. Luxury here is defined by attention to detail and a commitment to ensuring guests an unforgettable stay. Stepping into this castle is stepping into a world where the smallest gestures bring immense joy.

A Historical Jewel

Surrounded by the majestic Alps and kissed by a Mediterranean climate, Schloss Hotel Korb offers spectacular views and an atmosphere of timeless elegance. Owned by the family for generations, every corner of the estate speaks to the strength of its heritage and a penchant for the extraordinary.

A Fairytale Hideaway

Each of the 50 individually designed rooms at the castle tells its own story. Modern luxury meets the elegance of bygone eras, creating a space where history and the present come together. The panoramic infinity pool, wellness areas, and exquisite dining rooms offer an oasis of peace and indulgence.

Culinary Journey through Time at Burg Boymont

Just above Schloss Hotel Korb, Burg Boymont transports visitors back to the High Middle Ages. Here, where the past comes alive, freshly prepared dishes blend medieval tradition with contemporary culinary artistry. The castle, a witness to prehistoric settlement and medieval prosperity, stands today in its full glory thanks to the loving restoration undertaken by Fritz Dellago. A visit to the castle tavern, accessible via a scenic walkway, promises an experience beyond compare.

Echo of the Past

Schloss Hotel Korb and Burg Boymont are more than just places to stay; they are time capsules that take their visitors on a journey through the centuries. Here, history, culture, and nature merge into an experience that touches the soul and inspires the mind. In the harmony of these oases, a retreat from time emerges, where the here and now becomes an invitation to discover and enjoy the unique.


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