The Architectural History of the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

Creating a modern, vibrant and innovative garden in northern Italy

The Gardens or Trauttmansdorff Castle ranks among Italy’s most beautiful gardens. It was no coincidence that Trauttmansdorff was named Parco Bello piú d'Italia in 2005 by the international company Briggs & Stratton, in collaboration with the Grandi Giardini Italiani association. It is Trauttmansdorff’s extraordinary fusion of botanical garden and recreational attraction that makes it so hands-on and dynamic for visitors of all ages.

The idea of build a botanical garden in Merano came forth in 1988. It was 13 years after Dr. Luis Durnwalder declared his intention to build such a botanical garden that the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle opened its doors. From the very outset, the Trauttmansdorff project was characterized by a strikingly innovative spirit and by quality that could be seen even in the details. The perception was of a botanical garden that was somewhat different, that was easily distinguishable from traditional gardens in Italy. Today a number of Artists Pavilions, Experience Stations and interactive sensory attractions ensure that the botanical gardens remain topical, appealing and vibrant.

Shortly after Trauttmansdorff’s official opening, the botanical garden could cover its running costs through receipts. Numerous contributors – from architects to gardeners, from South Tyrol’s governor to the administrative staff – kept the gardens continually “in motion” and managed to quickly transform the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle into South Tyrol’s No. 1 destination.

1988

While taking a trip together, Merano civil engineer Manfred Ebner and a few other garden enthusiasts have the idea of building a botanical garden in Merano. In October, Ebner presents a feasibility study about the establishment of a botanical garden on the grounds around Trauttmansdorff Castle to then Minister for Agriculture Dr. Luis Durnwalder, South Tyrolean parliament member Toni Kiem, Merano Mayor Franz Alber, Klaus Platter, the director of Laimburg Estate Management, and journalist Robert Asam at the gate of the castle. Durnwalder, who would later become governor of South Tyrol, makes use of this occasion to issue a political statement pledging to see the botanical garden through to completion.

Visual inspection

1989

Laimburg Estate Management takes over the Trauttmansdorff Castle fruit and wine estate

The province government decides to approve the space allocation plan.

Architectural History 1989

1991

The province government issues the planning order to Manfred Ebner.

1992

South Tyrol’s Technical Advisory Council approves the pilot project.

Pilot project map

1994

Construction begins under the supervision of the province administration’s Construction and Technical Services Department, the department’s director, Josef March, and managing director Lukas Lantschner. Surveyor Stefan Canale oversees the project; Ebner is he site manager. The Department of Hydraulic Engineering is responsible for the terracing and terrain restructuring, under the guidance of the head of the department, Rudolf Pollinger.

Area before start of work

1995

Laimburg Estate Management, under the direction of Klaus Platter, takes over the direction of the botanical gardens and immediately started planting and developing the gardens.

Director Klaus Platter

1996-97

Planting of the Sun Gardens

Planting of the Sun Gardens

1997

The second stage of construction begins (nursery, steelwork and foundation).

The province government approves Otto Jolias Steiner’s communications concept.

Commissioning of various landscape designers with the planning of individual plant areas; awarding of contract for the implementation of the communication concept to architect Wolfram Pardatscher

Planting of the Water and Terraced Gardens

Architectural History

1999

Completion of plantings in the parking area

Approval of name: The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The concept for the South Tyrol Province Museum of Tourism – the Touriseum – receives approval.

Renovation and modifications of Trauttmansdorff Castle begin.

In autumn, the area now occupied by Forests of the World suffers from severe erosion due to heavy rainfall.

2001

In spring, planting at Forests of the World begins.

The gardens open on 16 June.

Completion