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Rosegg castle

Birgit Stegbauer

 

Rosegg is a popular destination for a family outing in the vicinity of Velden: for small children there is a little zoo and a playground. Once your children are a little bit older, you can walk the circuit of the wildlife park and marvel at the ibex that you will come across on the way to the castle ruin. Another attraction in late summer is the maze. Not to forget Schloss Rosegg itself, with the wax figures that tell the story of the castle and its owners. It is one of the few 18th century Carinthian castles with public access and its interiors are decorated in the most beautiful rococo style.

 

Baroque architecture as a symbol of power which reflects the high social rank of its owner but is rarely to be found in Carinthia. Although nominally there was a Duke of Carinthia, this was merely one of numerous titles of each Habsburg sovereign who resided - as is well known - in Vienna. However, Carinthia was too far away from the imperial court and was economically too weak to be of importance given the history of architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries.

 

Rosegg castle is among the few exceptions to this observation and one of the outstanding palaces built in Carinthia during the baroque era. Builder Franz Xaver Wolf, Count of Orsini-Rosenberg (1723-1796) descended from an influential Carinthian noble family and was vested with various important offices during the reigns of Maria-Theresia and Joseph II. In 1790, he was even elevated to the status of a hereditary Imperial Count (Reichsfürst). Here in the Rosental he built a summer residence, also named Villa Lucrezia after his Italian mistress Madam Lucrezia.

 

In truth, the castle building with its intimate and private character corresponds more closely to our concept of a villa than to a castle or palace. The villa's exterior simplicity evokes classicism rather than late baroque. The construction started in the year of Count Orsini-Rosenberg's return from a long-term assignment to the Duchy of Tuscany in 1772. Although the architect is unknown, the Italian influences on the Villa Lucrezia are evident. The 'villa suburbana', built on the outskirts of the city walls, a typical phenomenon in Tuscany and the Veneto, surely set the model for Rosegg. After only five years of construction the villa was completed.

 

The interior of the summer residence, however, was influenced by the extravagance of the rococo and is centred on the oval central room and the hexagonal garden room. The white lacquered paneling with strapwork decoration, the mirrors, fireplaces and ovens, the supra-portals with Roman veduta paintings as well as some piece of antique furniture are all part of the original decoration and that makes a visit to Schloss Rosegg worthwhile, at least in my opinion. The Liechtenstein family has been responsible for the preservation of this cultural heritage since 1831.

 

Schloss und Tierpark Rosegg, 9232 Schloss Rosegg 1. Tel: 04274 - 52357. The website with opening hours (under Info) and prices is available in German here. Admission to the wildlife park is free with the Kärnten Card.

 

 

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