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Title: Sterzing  
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Subject: South Tyrol, Pfitsch, Freienfeld, Serie A (ice hockey), List of castles in South Tyrol
Collection: Municipalities of South Tyrol
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Stadtgemeinde Sterzing
Comune di Vipiteno
The Zwölferturm in Sterzing
The Zwölferturm in Sterzing
Sterzing is located in Italy
Location of Sterzing in Italy
Country Italy
Region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Province South Tyrol (BZ)
Frazioni Ried (Novale), Thuins (Tunes), Tschöfs (Ceves)
 • Mayor Fritz Karl Messner
 • Total 33 km2 (13 sq mi)
Elevation 950 m (3,120 ft)
Population (Nov. 2010)[1]
 • Total 6,412
 • Density 190/km2 (500/sq mi)
Demonym(s) German: Sterzinger
Italian: vipitenesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 39049
Dialing code 0472
Website Official website

Sterzing (German pronunciation: ; Italian: Vipiteno ) is a comune in South Tyrol in northern Italy. It is the main village of the southern Wipptal, and the Eisack River flows through the medieval town.


  • History 1
    • Origin 1.1
    • Coat of arms 1.2
  • Main sights 2
    • Religious architecture 2.1
      • Parish of "Our Lady of Marsh" 2.1.1
      • Holy Spirit Church 2.1.2
      • Saint Elisabeth Chapel 2.1.3
      • Kapuzinerkirche 2.1.4
      • Saint Margaret Church 2.1.5
    • Civil architecture 2.2
      • Zwölferturm 2.2.1
      • Town Hall 2.2.2
      • New Town (Neustadt) 2.2.3
    • Military architecture 2.3
      • Reifenstein Castle 2.3.1
  • Notable people associated with Sterzing 3
  • Society 4
    • Linguistic distribution 4.1
  • Economy 5
    • Industry 5.1
  • International relations 6
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 6.1
  • Gallery 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


(Aug 1912) - Sterzing - A.E.Hasse


The town traces its roots to 14 B.C., when Nero Claudius Drusus founded a military camp called "Vipitenum" along the road between what are now Italy and Germany. Ancient ruins found nearby include a sepulchral monument dedicated to Postumia Vittorina, a milestone of the Imperator Septimius Severus period and a stone altar dedicated to Lord Mithras. In 550, following an invasion of Bavarii, the town of Sterzing take place, the first mention of a town called Wibitina dates back to the years between 985 and 990. That name, which is still memorized in Wipptal, is traced back to the nearby Celto-Roman settlement *Vibidina. In 1180, the name Sterzengum appears in a document.

In 1280, Meinhard, Duke of Carinthia, promoted the village to the rank of city. As the region's proximity to the Brenner Pass made it a frequent trade route, the Fugger of Augsburg opened a branch to sort the products of the nearby silver mines in Ridnaun Valley and Pfleres Valley. Sterzing knew its magnificence in the 15th and 16th centuries after the 1443 fire which destroyed part of the town. New embattled houses were built, some late gothic style, in Neustadt (New Town) as: Town and Regional Trial House (1450), Hotel "Goldenes Kreuz" (1446), Fugger's Branch (1553), Rafenstein House (former Köchl, 1472), the Town Hall (1473), Geizkofler House (1600) and the Mining District House (1500) all still in use.

In the course of the Italianization of South Tyrol, the modern Italian name of the town Vipiteno - created from the old roman settlement of Vipitenum was made official.[2] Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, a number of wanted Nazis stayed in Sterzing at the Hotel Goldenes Kreuz which still exists today. At different times, people like Erich Priebke, Adolf Eichmann, and Josef Mengele were in transit here as they waited for forged passports for their journey out of Europe and by ship to South America.

Coat of arms

King Henry I, Count of Tyrol, granted a seal, similar to the present, depicting a crippled pilgrim with a stick and the rosary above the Tyrolean eagle, this appeared as a coat of arms August 30, 1328. In 1524, the pilgrim is shown as a monk above the Tyrolean eagle. [3]

Main sights

Religious architecture

Parish of "Our Lady of Marsh"

The Parish is the biggest church between Verona and Munich, was built from 1417 to 1451. The gothic altar, wood-work by Hans Multscher of Ulm, is 12 metres (39 ft) high and was completed in 1458. The church was later enlarged from 1497 to 1525 by Hans Lutz. In 1753, the church was than modified in baroque style, with paintings by Adam Mőlckh and the gothic altar removed; presently the altar is on display at the Multscher Museum.

Holy Spirit Church

The Holy Spirit Church is the oldest gothic church in town. Built in 1399, in the same main building of the old Hospital, is located in the Town Square; the nave is painted in fresco by Giovanni of Bruneck (1402).

Saint Elisabeth Chapel

Saint Elisabeth Chapel is part of the Deutschhaus and was built in Baroque in 1729–33 by Giuseppe Delai. It has an octagonal plan with a rectangular sector concerning the altar and the choir. The dome frescos represent the patron saint and the coat-of-arms of the Teutonic Order were painted by Matthäus Günther.[4]


The church was built in 1636 and was consecrated the following year to Saint Mary Magdalene; it has a rectangular apse and a lateral chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The image in the niche on the façade represent the patron saint and is a work of the 17th century. The altar pieces presumably were painted by Josef Renzler in 1800 circa and represent Saint Mary Magdalene with Saint Francis and Saint Anthony; on the lateral altars are depicted Saint Felix and Saint Anthony of Padua.

Saint Margaret Church

The present church was built on the initiative of the Bishop Paulinus Mayr in early Tyrolean baroque on project of Peter Delai in 1678. The old church, mentioned for the first time in 1337, was restored and enlarged between 1459 and 1463 in gothic. In 1678, it was completely demolished, rebuilt, and consecrated in 1681. The bell tower is detached from the church and it comes from the previous church, in 1624, the Romanic tower was demolished and built the present. The façade was inspired to renaissance with the characteristic Palladian tripartite windows. In the niches are placed the wooden sculptures of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes and above the portal is a fresco showing the Last Supper. The imposing interior has one nave, large windows, and a vaulted ceiling with lunettes. The great high altar has six columns and an altarpiece representing the Coronation of Mary painted by Joseph Renzler in 1822, beside are two wood-carving of the Saints Francis Xavier and John of Nepomuk. Above the altar on the right is placed a statue of the Madonna with Child of 17th century bordered by the Rosary formed by fifteen painted discs presumably by Joseph Mildorfer.

Civil architecture


The Zwölferturm is a 46 m. high tower erected in 1470, it is the symbol of the city that divides the New Town from Old Town. A fire in 1867 destroyed the original spire, which was replaced with the existing embattled roof.

Sterzing (Aug 1912) - Zwölferturm

Town Hall

Built in 1468–72 in late gothic style while, the angular "Erker" was added in 1526. In the patio take place a roman stone altar, dedicated to Lord Mithras and a milestone of the Imperator Septimius Severus; the same period the military road was completed in 200 A.D.

New Town (Neustadt)

Is the main street in the old city centre with buildings erected, after the 1417 fire, between the 14th and 15th centuries when the town was prosperous with the trade and the silver mines in the nearby Ridnaun Valley and Pflersch Valley.

Military architecture

Reifenstein Castle

Outside the city is the Reifenstein Castle, one of the best preserved medieval castles in the province.

Notable people associated with Sterzing


Linguistic distribution

According to the 2011 census, 73.64% of the population speak German, 25.95% Italian and 0.41% Ladin as first language.[5]



Sterzing is home of the Leitner Group, an international industry, a manufacturer of cable systems, snowgroomer, utility tracked vehicles, systems for urban rail called minimetrò, and wind turbines.[6]

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Sterzing is twinned with:



  1. ^ All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)
  2. ^ Egon Kühebacher (1991), Die Ortsnamen Südtirols und ihre Geschichte, Bozen: Athesia, p. 449
  3. ^ Heraldry of the World: Sterzing
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Volkszählung 2011/Censimento della popolazione 2011". astat info (Provincial Statistics Institute of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol) (38): 6–7. June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  6. ^ Leitner Technologies
  7. ^ "Partnerstädte". Stadtgemeinde Kitzbühel (in German). Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  • (Italian) Guide d'Italia, Trentino Alto Adige, Editrice TCI, 1976
  • (Italian) Grande Dizionario Enciclopedico, Unione Tipografico - Editrice Torinese, 1962

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • (German) (Italian) Homepage of the municipality
  • Sterzing Webcam
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