Gaiano Castle

Gaiano Castle is located at Maia Alta and is one of the oldest castles of Merano and surroundings.

Gaiano Castle, or Goyen in German, is recognisable from its massive donjon boasting slits and the relief of an elephant on one of the quoins. A high circular wall surrounds the tower. According to a legend dating back to ancient times, the castle used to be inhabited by a Roman called Gaius, who also gave the name to the castle. Also the donjon, called “Roman Tower”, took its name from this legend.

The building at the entrance of Val di Nova, as it appears today, dates back to the 12th century. In the 14th century it was owned by the Milser family, which sold it In 1384 to Hans von Starkenberg. A struggle between Frederick IV “of the Empty Pockets”, Duke of Further Austria, and the Elephant’s league brought along the besiegement of Gaiano Castle. In 1422 the Starkenberg family surrendered possession and the Campan family took over the castle. When this family became extinct, the Botsch Lords owned the castle.

When the last Botsch died in 1647, the Stachelberg family purchased the castle complex. The last of them died in the battle at the Bergisel. From this point of time the castle repeatedly changed hands. The last one, a certain van Heek, a Dutch merchant, had the castle thoroughly restored in the 20th century. Still today the grand hall of the castle is inhabited. The castle complex can’t be visited.

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