Brixen (Italian: Bressanone; Ladin: Porsenù or Persenon; Latin: Brixino; also known as Pressena (827 AD), Prichsna, Brixina) is a town in the province of Bolzano-Bozen in the Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
The third largest city in the province, Brixen is an old (founded 901) town, the artistic and cultural capital of the valley of the Isarco River. It is located at the confluence of the Isarco and Rienz rivers, 40 km north of Bolzano and 45 km south of the Brenner Pass, on the Italy-Austrian border. It is surrounded at east by Plose and Monte Telegrafo (2,504 m), at west by Cima Cane and Monte Pascolo (2,439 m).
The majority of the population speaks German as first language. The remainder of the inhabitants speak Italian and Ladin as first languages, with percentages of 27% and 1%, respectively.
Brixen is especially known as a major skiing resort (the Plose). Other activities include hydroelectric power, wool, orchards and vineyards.
The area of Brixen was settled since the Middle Stone Age
(8th millennium BC
). Other settlements from the late Stone Age have been found, until, in 15 BC, the area was conquered by the Romans
, who had their main settlement in the nearby Sabiona
(Säben). They held it until around 590s, when it was occupied by Bavarians
The first mention of Brixen dates to 901 in a document issued by the King of Germany Louis III the Child: in it, a territory called Maso Prihsna is assigned to Zacharia, bishop of Sabiona. As time passed, "Prihsna" turned into the current name of Brixen. The bishops moved here from Sabiona in 992, after the Cathedral had been finished.
In 1039 the Bishop of Brixen, Pappo, was elevated to Pope by emperor Henry III. However, his reign lasted only for 23 days.
In the 11th century, Brixen became the seat of an ecclesiastical principate which, in the following years, struggled for existence against the neighbouring county of Tyrol.
In 1115 a first line of walls encircling Brixen was completed.
The bishopric was secularized in 1803, annexed to the Austrian Empire.
After the end of the First World War Brixen was annexed to Italy.
- The Cathedral (10th century), was rebuilt in the 13th century and again in 1745-1754 along Baroque lines. The ceiling of the nave has a large fresco by Paul Troger portraying the Adoration of the Lamb.
- The Renaissance Bishop's Palace (13th century), one of the main noble residences in the province of Bolzano-Bozen. The Diocesan Museum has several artworks, including a presepe with 5,000 figures created for Bishop Karl Franz Lodron.
- The round Parish church of San Michele (11th century). The Gothic choir and the bell tower are from the 15th century, while the nave is from the 16th. The main artwork is a wooden Cireneus from the 15th century.
- The "Pharmacy Museum" Pharmaziemuseum Brixen, located in a nearly 500 year old townhouse, shows the development and changes of the "City - Pharmacy". Since 1787 the family Peer runs (now in the 7th generation) this Pharmacy, always in the same location. In the museum you can view in carefully restored rooms the development of the pharmaceutical profession over the centuries and the changes in remedies used, starting from the testicles of a beaver or the pieces of an ancient Egyptian mummy and coming to modern plasters and lyophilisates. All the objects and medicines on display were in use in the run of the centuries. The Museum offers also a library for historical research and the archive of the Peer family. In a separate room the history of the family itself is shown by a multimedia application.
Outside the city is the Rodengo Castle, one of the most powerful of its time. It has precious frescoes from the early 13th century. Also important are Reifenstein Castle and the Castel Forte at Ponte Gardena. In the latter lived the famous adventurer and minstrel Oswald von Wolkenstein.
Brixen is provided with an efficient railway station on the Brenner Line leading from Verona
, Italy to Tyrol
, Austria. There are two gates for the Brenner Highway, following the same path.
Brixen will host the 2009 World Youth Championships in Athletics
/ incorporated villages:
Albes (Albeins), Caredo (Karneid), Cleran (Klerant), Cornale (Korneid), Elvas, Eores (Afers), La Mara (Mahr), Meluno (Mellaun), Perara (Pairdorf), Pinzago (Pinzagen), S.Andrea (St. Andrä), Scezze (Tschötsch), S.Leonardo (St. Leonhard), Tecelinga (Tötschling), Tiles (Tils), Costa d'Elvas (Kranebitt), Monte Ruzzo (Schrambach), Sarnes (Sarns).