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Alpine Road of Romanesque Art - Stairways to Heaven

Explore treasures remaining from the Romanesque period in South Tyrol

In the Middle Ages, a variety of cultural centres such as towns, forts, castles, churches, chapels and monasteries were built along important trade and pilgrimage routes that led across the Alps. By exploring 31 special sites along the Alpine Road of Romanesque Art - Stairways to Heaven between South Tyrol and the Canton of Grisons, it is still possible to discover the special features of the art and culture of that time including its characteristic symbols and building elements. Marvel at small, unknown cultural sites as well as larger, better-known places such as the Schloss Tirol castle, the Convent of St. John in Müstair and the Marienberg Benedictine abbey .

More than a mere artistic style, the Romanesque was a spiritual idea as expressed by a building, painting or sculpture. The architecture and the cosmos of images were designed like a shrine, each inspiring the other in their monumentality. In churches, discover mythical creatures, mermaids, centaurs and column-eating demons. According to the world view of the time, these creatures populated the fringe zones of the flat disc earth and illustrated the contrast between divine order and human chaos. Marvel at frescoes by painters who were unknown craftsmen at the time. Such craftsmen laboured in service of something beyond themselves and created an illustrated theological cosmos for their employers.


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