Castelvecchio, the ruin of a hill castle near San Paolo in Appiano, is located opposite Guardia Castle.
Image gallery: Castelvecchio Castle
In former times, above the “Paulsner Höhe”, a moraine hill from the last Ice Age on the way to the Val Guardia valley beneath San Paolo, the castle of Castelvecchio (Altenburg, in German) was once enthroned. The exact origin or meaning of the name - not to be confused with the eponymous locality in Caldaro - is still unclear. Lord Egno I of Appiano began to build the castle in 1189, and the Archdiocese of Trento finished it some years later. Opposite it there’s Guardia Castle, which dates back to the same period of time and was also in the hands of the Lords of Appiano.
Castelvecchio Castle was planned to protect the way into the Val Guardia valley, but until 1525 AD it served as the seat of the Altenburg Court (Castelvecchio Court), which included large parts of the current municipal area of Appiano. The castle accommodated also the single judges, called “richter zu Altennburg ze Eppann” under the Lords of Appiano and later on under the Lords of Tyrol. From the 16th century, when the court hearings were moved to Gandegg Castle, the complex became visibly dilapidated.
In 1910, the Palas, the main residential building of the castle complex, was converted into a small house. Nowadays, only some remains of Castelvecchio Castle are left, which are privately owned and cannot be visited. By the way: A hill castle is a castle built on a natural elevation.