Founded in 1901, the Diocesan Museum has been situated in the Bishop's Palace in Brixen (Bressanone) since 1976.
Hofburg Palace in Brixen
Diocesan and Nativity Museum
Hofburg, which was the medieval city palace of the bishops of Brixen, was built in the thirteenth century. Its magnificent inner courtyard ranks it amongst Tyrol’s most impressive Renaissance buildings. It was redone in the Baroque style in the eighteenth century under Prince-Bishop Kaspar Ignaz Graf Künigl, who also had the rooms of the prince-bishopric and the imperial living quarters redesigned. In 1973, the seat of the bishop was moved to Bolzano. Today Hofburg Palace houses the Diocesan Museum, a collection of nativity scenes, and the diocesan archives.
The Diocesan Museum offers a representative cross-section of South Tyrol’s sacred art, ranging from precious medieval sculptures and panel paintings all the way to more recent art of the Baroque, Classicism and Romanticism. Arts and crafts objects such as precious gold-work, stained glass and furniture also form part of the collection, together with works of nineteenth-century Tyrolean artists. Parts of the Brixen Cathedral Treasury, including the noted Eagle Chasuble (Adlerkasel), are also housed in the Diocesan Museum.
At Christmastime, the collection of nativity scenes features intricately detailed scenes specially designed each year alongside its permanent crèche exhibit. The museum also presents various special exhibitions throughout the course of the entire year.
The Hofburg Castle, residence of the prince-bishops from 1250, was the bishop's seat until 1964.