Giovo Castle in San Leonardo in Passiria reminds of the time when the Lords of Passiria were still guarding the valley.
Above San Leonardo in Passiria an ancient ruin is rising from the grounds. This is Giovo Castle, still watching over the beautiful Val Passiria. Known as "Jaufenburg" in German, the castle was built in the 13th and 14th century by the Lords of Passiria to secure the way from Tirolo Castle via the Passo Giovo to Vipiteno. The mighty donjon was first mentioned in 1320 as "turn under Jauven". The Counts Fuchs von Fuchsberg let the site rebuild into a castle later. In the 18th century it was abandoned, and in the 19th century the castle and the related Pfistrad mountain hut were auctioned.
The five-storied donjon with its frescos was restored in 2000, and in 2003 it became part of the MuseumPasseier and was thus opened to the public. Besides a number of information panels about the castle's past, the renowned Shield Farms and the Lords of Passiria, it features some valuable 16th century Renaissance frescoes from Bartlme Dill Riemenschneider and a stunning view of the entire valley. Several potsherds and coins from the time of the Roman Emperor Traian found near to the castle suggest that first settlements were living in this area already in prehistoric and Roman times.
Those visiting Giovo Castle might head for a little walk (approx. 20 minutes), across the wooden bridge of San Leonardo and along a trail named "Gerichtsweg" or following the beautiful "Sonnenrundgang" path. Worth watching is also the below the castle located late Gothic Church to the Holy Cross. It was built by the Counts Fuchs von Fuchsberg and shows frescoes from the time around 1550 with the oldest depiction of Giovo Castle.
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Giovo Castle is open only during the summer months from June to September: Mondays from 10 am to 1 pm. Guided tours for groups on request.