“The Castle was about to be turned into a feudal farmhouse had not been for the luck of having happened to become prpoperty of Count Antonio and his wife, the Countess Maria, who fell in love with it at first sight and chose it for her summer vacations ordering such many and beautiful works that it became a delightfully princely estate. In those years, many were the famous guests, among whom composer Ricard Wagner and actress Eleonora Duse”.
By Guido Suster
Antonio Maria Wolkenstein (1832-1913)
Descendant of the Tyrolian family Wolkenstein–Trostburg, the landlords of the Castel Ivano from 1750 through 1923, he was born on August 2, 1832 in Bohemia. He studied law in Prague and was granted important missions by the government in Vienna. He was Ambassador in Mosow, Paris and Rome. When in Berlin, he met and married Countess Maria von Buch, ten years younger than him, the widow of Count Alexander von Schleinitz, the Home Minister of the Kindom of Prussia. In 1893, the then Count Antonio inherited from his brother Leopold, the Castle of Toblino and the Castel Ivano where he died in 1913.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
In 1882, the famous German composer moved to Venice with his wife Cosima, Franz Litz’s daughter. From there, he went to Valsugana and was often a guest at Castel Ivano. In the painting titled “Solitudine” by Eugenio Prati, a painter from Valsugana, and now at the MART, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Wagner is in a wonderful beechwood: a tribute by the artist to the composer after his death. One of the rooms of the Castle is named after him.
Eleonora Duse (1858-1924)
Theatrical actress fro the Venetian region who used to frequently go to the Roncegno Spa in Valsugana, and loved to stay at Count Antonio and Maria’s beautiful manor. There is still a room named after her in the “Old Archives” aisle.
Eugenio Prati (1842-1907)
A renown painter from Caldonazzo, he was regarded to be one of the best interpreters of the late 19th c. painting art in the Trentino region. Eugenio Prati used to often be a guest at the Castle and used to be very close to Antonio and Maria Wolkenstein. He loved being at the manor and painted it in many of his works and sketches. One of his first paintings – Golden Anniversary – that went to the National Exhibition of Milano in 1881 features the Castle on the background, seen from the village of Strigno, while in a painting called Inverno, the Castle is seen from the hill of Agnedo, the village where Prati used to live with his wife and children. The precision of his painting which had been made at the end of the 19th c., and the detailed visual description of its layout as seen from the village of Ivano Fracena in Castel Ivano left a precious historical testimony of the manor which had hugely been damaged during the First World War.
Don Giuseppe Grazioli (1808-1891)
A priest born in Lavis. In 1842, he was appointed the parish priest of Ivano Fracena upon request of Count Leopold Wolkenstein, and remained there for 27 years. He used to perform religious services in both the parish church and chapel of the Castle. He became known mainly because of his many trips to Asia to buy healthy silkworms to be brought back to his homeland in the attempt to fight against a disease that was killing off the local ones. At the end of his career, he retired in his home in Villa Agnedo.
Ermanno Olmi (1931-2018)
He was an italian film director, screen writer, director of photography and stage designer.
He shot his famous Venice Leone winning film “Lunga vita alla Signora” at Castel Ivano.
Castel Ivano became a venue fot international events and conferences since the Eighties and hosted many famous guests, among whom
Generale Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa (1920-1982)
Sottotenente dei carabinieri durante la Seconda guerra mondiale, partecipò alla guerra di Liberazione. Comandante della legione di Palermo (1966-73), generale di brigata a Torino (1973-77), nel maggio 1977 assunse le funzioni di coordinatore del servizio di sicurezza degli istituti di prevenzione e pena e nel settembre 1978 quelle di coordinamento tra le forze di polizia per la lotta contro il terrorismo, Nucleo Speciale Antiterrorismo, in cui colse significativi successi. Generale di divisione a Milano (1979-81), vicecomandante dell’Arma (1981-82), nel maggio 1982 fu nominato prefetto di Palermo per combattervi la mafia. Nel settembre dello stesso anno fu ucciso in un agguato mafioso assieme alla moglie e ad un agente di scorta. Il 10 luglio si era sposato nella Cappella di Castel Ivano con la giovane crocerossina Emanuela Setti Carraro.
Molti altri personaggi famosi sono stati recentemente a Castel Ivano, che fin dall’inizio degli anni ’80 è sede di convegni internazionali, solo per citarne alcuni: prof. D.C. Gajdusek (Premio Nobel per la medicina nel 1976), il prof. K. Bloch (Premio Nobel per la medicina nel 1964), Carlo Rubbia (Premio Nobel per la fisica nel 1984) e anche la prof.ssa Rita Levi Montalcini (Premio Nobel per la medicina nel 1986).