It's the early 13th century. King John has signed Magna Carta, Genghis Khan has just conquered China and mainland Europe is gearing up for another pointless Crusade.

 

In Habsburg ruled Tirol the situation is calm. The locals are prospering and the gentry are busy building themselves fancy fortified residences in dramatic locations. Karneid Castle near Bozen is an early example.

The core of the building is built around 1200 CE, probably by the Greifenstein family, cadets of the Counts of Eppan. In the following 150 years several other prominent local families own the fief and extend the building by adding a chapel, generous living quarters & extensive fortifications.

 

In 1386 a local landowner named Heinrich von Liechtenstein takes possession of Karneid. Not long after a civil war breaks out in the region between the ruling Habsburgs and the local nobility. The Liechtensteins side with the latter and Karneid is besieged. Heinrich is taken prisoner but after some smooth talking and the payment of a large ransom he is released and allowed to return to Karneid

 

In 1580 a fire destroys much of the castle. Extensive rebuilding work by Heinrich's descendant Bartholomäus von Liechtenstein restores the house but nearly bankrupts the family and for the next 200 years Karneid remains largely untouched. After the death in 1761 of the last Tirolean Liechtenstein Count Anton, his heirs sell Karneid to the city of Bozen. Over the next hundred years the estate changes hands numerous times and falls into disrepair.

 

In 1884 Baron Ferdinand von Miller, a wealthy Munich artisan & entrepreneur buys and restores Karneid. Today it is owned by his descendants and is one of the last intact, privately owned medieval fortresses in South Tirol. The castle plays an important role in the life of the local community and is available in the summer months for rent as a holiday retreat.