13th Century: ‘Finsterwirt‘(lit: host in the dark) is one of the oldest houses in Bressanone/Brixen, with origins dating back to the 13th Century. The long, two-storey building with facade oriels was the property of the cathedral comittee and served as residence for the canons.
from 1743 The canons stopped using the building as a residence but it served the so-called ‘Zehentwein’ (lit: duty wine), which had to be handed over to them. In order to ensure that the local parish and provost got enough sleep, it was only possible to serve wine until nightfall and it was prohibited to light any candles. This regulation was often ignored and wine was enjoyed in the dark. For this reason, the ‘Kapitelschenke‘ (lit: committee counter) developed into ‘Finsterwirt/ Oste Scuro’.
1770 The cathedral committee sold the building for 1,000 guilders. During the following years, the proprietor changed several times.
1881 Anton Mayr Senior bought the ‘Finsterwirt’. He continued the pub business and turned the stables into a joinery business.
1904 Anton Mayr Junior (who is the great-uncle of the current owner called Hermann) loved art and took over the enterprise from his father. Then, it was called the ‘Domherrenhaus‘ (canons‘ house). He used his great taste and artistic gift, as well as the knowledge gained as the founder of the Brixen Museum, to furnish the Künstlerstübele (lit: artists‘ lounge). In a short time, the Brixen ‘Finsterwirt‘ became renowned and enlisted many a monarch’s name in its guestbook. It includes names such as Archduke Eugene, the Heir Apparent Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Countess Sophie of Hohenberg, Archduchess Mary Josephine, the mother of the Emperor Charles, as well as artists such as Francis of Defregger, Koster and Riss, scholars, scientists and researchers. The ‘Finsterwirt‘ became an ‘institution‘.
since 1970 Hermann Mayr has been the proprietor of the ‘Finsterwirt/Oste Scuro’. It was his and his family’s desire to further enhance the Finsterwirt for the local people, as well as guests and to keep running the business. For this reason …..
1986 ….. the family reopened the former joinery area on the ground floor under the name ‘Kapitelschenke Finsterwirt’. In the idyllic courtyard underneath the wine pergola, the Finsterwirt offers some special types of beer, as well as South Tyrolean national wines and delicacies.
The Mayr family remain very attached to the traditions of their business , keeping old traditions with a lot of passion while incorporating them into the future. In the ‘Künstlerstübele‘, the wall panels, original paintings, historic weapons and valuable glass windows are totally untouched.
2008 In this year, the courtyard terrace was added with a very contemporary feel. The modern extension fits in harmoniously with the older structure, which is full of history. The transition is smooth and adds great prestige to the hotel, particularly in the courtyard area.
It is not only due to its history, but also because of its exquisite cuisine which has been received numerous awards, that well-known personalities such as the previous Italian State President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, his Holiness the Dalai Lama with his mountaineering friends Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander, the Pope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger (while he still was still Cardinal and spent his annual summer holidays in Bressanone/Brixen), Otto of Habsburg the German Minister, President Roland Koch, the notorious Italian restaurant critic Guido Raspelli, the Ministers Frattini and La Loggia, the German star chef Heinz Winkler (who was born in South Tyrol) and many other people love to visit the ‘Finsterwirt’.