Holiday planning
Dachmarke Suedtirol
Holiday planning
telephone-white Call us email-white Write us whatsapp-white WhatsApp arrow-white 360° View

"Trostburg Tresl" tells us her story

Is anyone home?

Terese Gröber has lived in Trostburg Castle all her life. She takes visitors on tours within its historic walls, telling stories of the past when knights and counts still resided here.

Sometimes Terese Gröber, or "Trostburg Tresl" as she is affectionately known, stands at the window of the magnificent Renaissance hall gazing down across the Eisacktal valley. It’s like looking from the past into the modern day. The stucco figures of the counts of Wolkenstein silently surround the old woman as she takes in the sweeping view across the villages of Barbian/Barbiano, Lajen/Laion and Villanders/Villandro. Nestled among woodland and meadows, the clusters of buildings seem to be clinging on to the steep slope. Down in the valley, the hustle and bustle of modern life continues. Cars streak by and lights flash. It’s a frenzied world. But here, high above Waidbruck/Ponte Gardena, behind the thick castle walls of Trostburg everything is silent and pleasantly calm.

Aged 73, she has spent her whole life here. Her family once took care of the castle’s upkeep for the Counts of Wolkenstein. Today, Terese takes visitors on tours within its historic walls, recounting stories from the past when knights, barons and counts still lived here. She also tells them about how difficult life in the castle can be today, but why this won’t make her leave – the castle is, after all, her home. And would probably turn to ruin if she weren’t around.
"I feel so happy and grateful to live up here."
She then tells us stories from her childhood, recalling how she and her siblings used to play in the woods and help in the stables. "We had to whisper in the mornings because children’s voices echo so loudly around the castle and the countess always liked to sleep late," she remembers. The countess used to tell the children all about the world, about Italy, about the sea. Places that Terese has never seen, and has only ever dreamed of visiting.

"I’ve just always loved staying here," she says simply. However, there was once a time when it seemed impossible to stop the castle from falling into disrepair. The counts left, Terese’s parents died and her siblings all moved into the valley. Only Terese wanted to stay. But how? In 1967, members of the South Tyrolean Castles Association founded a private company to save Trostburg Castle from ruin. A few years later, Trostburg was turned into a museum and became the official seat of the association. Terese was allowed to stay on to take care of the castle. "Because I’m part of the castle and the castle is part of me," she says.
Her very own world

In the decades since, she’s been showing visitors around her castle. When she isn’t giving tours, she keeps herself busy by cleaning, scrubbing the floors with a brush and hard soap and looking after a mare and her foal, chickens and three cats. Years ago, she explains, she used to walk down the steep, slippery stone path into the village every few days and, in any case, always on Sunday to attend the early morning mass. Now she only leaves the castle once every two weeks to go shopping for staples like bread, butter and milk. Does she ever get lonely? "Bah," she shrugs dismissively. "Enough people come up to see me," she says. The walk is enough to leave some would-be mountaineers out of breath and sweating by the time they reach the castle gate. Terese grins and tells us how she used to make it up and down the hill in high-heeled shoes. But now a new road is being built and plans are in place to connect the castle to the internet. "The internet, here?" she laughs.

She invites us into her living room, which is to the immediate left of the castle entrance. Here, there’s an array of religious icons and family photos as well as a ceramic stove, an old-fashioned telephone with a rotary dial and an old television set. Sometimes when the weather is particularly stormy, the power cuts out and she has to dig out a torch. And if the batteries die, she lights candles. "The internet," she repeats, chuckling, a twinkle in her eye. One of her cats wraps herself around her legs. "I guess people are reliant on it these days. I can do perfectly without it," she adds. When she watches the news in the evening and hears about all the troublesome things happening "down below", she says she feels very happy to be up here. Away from it all in her very own world.

From: COR 2 - The Local Magazine
Interview: Lenz Koppelstätter
Editorial: Ex Libris, Bozen
Year of publishing: 2019
The courtyard of Trostburg Castle