Castelrotto, South Tyrol
Castelrotto is with about 7.000 inhabitants (facts of 12/31/2022: 6.963 inhabitants) the biggest community in the Altipiano dello Sciliar in South Tyrol and includes twelve fractions. Fractions of the community Castelrotto are also the famous resort Siusi allo Sciliar and the Alpe di Siusi – the popular alp und paradise of holidays in the Dolomites. Castelrotto isn´t only the biggest village, it is probably the most popular one at the foot of the Alpe di Siusi.
Castelrotto should be visit, not only because of its excellent location in the Altipiano dello Sciliar in South Tyrol. By car you can reach Castelrotto in nearly one hour from the city of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol. Castelrotto – in German: Kastelruth – is located in the northeast of Bolzano. Arriving Castelrotto, you can see at once the beauty of the village.
The village is located like a picture book at a height of about 1,000 meters above the sea level and the tower of the church is visible all over the place. In the background you can see the Dolomites; the Dolomites give Castelrotto the unique flair.
The history of Castelrotto
Castelrotto has a long history. A document from the 10th Century already has noticed the popular resort. With the document a trade agreement between the bishops of Bressanone and Augsburg was closed. But the foundation of the mountain village itself was already, so the people supposed, in the Roman period.
The name “Castelrotto” belongs to the Latin language group. From "Castellum Reptum" – the translation means "dilapidated castle" – has developed the present name "Castelrotto". Today you can´t find a castle or palace in Castelrotto. Due to the actual name can be thought that in Castelrotto existed a castle or palace. On the Sasso (Calvary) – a hill that can be reached by walking just a few minutes’ from the village square of Castelrotto – you find parts of a chapel. It's recommended – especially for visitors who only residing in the village for a short time – to get up to the Sasso. From there you have a magnificent view of Castelrotto and the surrounding villages (see separate post - Castelrotto, Calvary).
Castelrotto is a beautiful village that has the typical characteristics of a medieval village. The houses are close together and the life is mainly on the village square (the so-called Kraus Square), where you find the church with its imposing bell tower. On Sundays you can watch the inhabitants as they go to church into their traditional costumes. You have the impression that time has stood still and – as well as today - have lived the past generations in the village. The people in Castelrotto and in the Altipiano dello Sciliar make it to combine tradition and modernity with each other and neglecting almost never the Tyrolean style.
You can say that Castelrotto is a beautiful village. During the first visit of Castelrotto you quickly discover in the center of the village beautifully painted houses. It is immediately noticeable the facades was embellished with love and devotion. That this is so, today's village has mainly thanks to Eduard Burgauner. Eduard Burgauner was the son of a baker and was born in the 19th Century. He had set the target in his life that the whole village Castelrotto be a great work of art. And so it was that many facades were painted with different motives and with numerous sayings and homespun philosophies. Therefore, one can say with a clear conscience that Castelrotto is picturesquely beautiful in the true sense of the word.
Castelrotto – Borghi più belli d´Italia
Castelrotto is part of “Borghi più belli d´Italia” since November 2017 and so belongs to the most beautiful villages and place in Italy. The title was official handed over to the leaders of the community during a ceremony on the village square of Castelrotto on 08/21/2018.
"Borghi più belli d'Italia" is a private association founded in 2001. This association has the aim of promoting Italian places of outstanding historical and artistic interest. In addition to places and villages, the title can also awarded to fractions, districts and castles.
Castelrotto received the title "Borghi più belli d'Italia" because of the historic village center, the well-kept farms, the medieval streets and the painted houses. The title also shows the popularity of the community by the numerous holiday guests, who always confirm the beauty and uniqueness after their stay.
Church and bell tower - the Cathedral of the Dolomites
Visiting Castelrotto, it is important to visit the church, which can be finding at the village square. The church was dedicated to San Peter and Paul and the nave isn´t built together with the bell tower.
The 05/24/1753 was a black day for Castelrotto. On this day a great fire destroyed the bell tower. Afterwards the tower has been erected again. It was established so large that it seems oversized now compared to the size of the village. For this reason it is also called the "Cathedral of the Dolomites". This nickname of the bell tower of Castelrotto has a meaning, because it is the highest church tower in South Tyrol.
The bell tower was renovated in 2007. Visitors can visit the tower during a leadership and thereby ascend up to the spire. From here you have a unique view to Castelrotto and the surrounding area.
Known by the Kastelruther Spatzen
The publicity of the village Castelrotto has increased dramatically through the "Spatzen" in the last three decades. The Kastelruther Spatzen are a music-group that characterizes the folk music scene in European languages area. Castelrotto is well known because they have the name of the village in the group name.
Highlights during the year are surely the open-air concerts in her home-village in June and the festival (Spatzenfest) that takes place on the second weekend of October. Thousands of fans take the concerts as an opportunity to connect them with a holiday in the Altipiano dello Sciliar. Especially when the “Kastelruther Spatzen” give their concerts, the village is full of fans. A big South Tyrolean newspaper has asked years ago whether South Tyrol is located in Castelrotto. So if you want to spend your vacation in Altipiano dello Sciliar quieter, you should not choose the times in which the concerts of the "Dolomite Beatles" (headline of a major German tabloid) are given.
Fans and followers of the Kastelruther Spatzen can consider the awards, honors and fans gifts in a Museum, which is located near the center of Castelrotto. The museum is combined with a shop where you can buy souvenirs of the Kastelruther Spatzen.
Good traffic connections
Castelrotto has a good traffic connection to the Alpe di Siusi. The Alpe di Siusi is the almost daily destination for vacationers and offers for vacationers, hikers and sport fans in every season an inexhaustible field of activity. Either you can reach the Alpe di Siusi directly by bus or you can easily drive to the valley station of the aerial cableway. From there it is about 20 minutes away from Compaccio, which can be designated as the "Gateway to the Alpe di Siusi".
The tourist facilities of Castelrotto are exemplary and make every stay pleasant for visitors.
Data to Castelrotto
Castelrotto include the twelve fractions (villages), Siusi allo Sciliar, Alpe di Siusi, S. Osvaldo, S. Vigilio, S. Valentino, S. Michele, Tisana, Tagusa, Oltretorrente (Sureghes), Roncadizza (Runggaditsch or Runcadic) and Bulla. The last three enumerated fractions are Ladin fractions, where the majority of the inhabitants speak the Ladin language. Castelrotto itself is located in the South Tyrol District Salto-Sciliar.
Of the nearly 6,500 inhabitants of Castelrotto have, according to the last census in 2001, 81.8 percent German, 3.4 percent Italian and 14.7 percent Ladin as their mother language.
The district of the municipality of Castelrotto extends from an altitude of 400 meters above sea level and has its highest point at an altitude of 2,958 meters above sea level. The village center of Castelrotto is located at an altitude of about 1,000 meters above sea level.
The partnership communities of Castelrotto are Matrei (Austria) and Rottach-Egern (Germany).