This date is carved in stone in the coat of arms located above the former entrance to the oldest inn in the heart of Siusi, the Schwarzer Adler (black eagle) used to be called "Unterwirt" (lower inn).
This is 73 years after the famous Minnesinger Oswald von Wolkenstein had left his castle Hauenstein, located below the sheer rock walls of the Sciliar, and had died in Merano. At that time, Siusi was barely more than a small cluster of farmhouses around a village tower. Next to the farms, there was a considerable industrial estate on the Rio Freddo brook. There were blacksmiths producing bells, knives, weapons, and horseshoes. The documents also mention several mills and sawmills, even a tannery and loden factory. However, the settlement was not big enough to deserve its own church, which was built over 100 years later than the house with the year 1518 in its coat of arms.
In 1996/97 and 2011 the building was completely refurbished to bring all the modern comforts into the old building, without disturbing the original harmony of walls and vaults. The warm and cosy atmosphere of the traditional rural mansions was preserved. The old cellar with its earthen floor is still used to store noble wines, schnapps, speck, vegetables, preserves and pickles to be used for the preparation of delicious South Tyrolean specialities.
THE EARLY BEGINNINGS
A dramatic event in the history of the village led to the Unterwirt playing a special role in the development of Siusi. It is one of the first buildings that was erected after the destruction of the entire settlement by a big landslide around 1270. At the time the building was in the shape of a tower and called Arlass. It was probably used by the knights serving the Hauenstein family as their seat. These knights included a Michel Seiser and a Heinrich Seiser (b. 1299 and 1305), one of the former owners of the Unterwirt. In the 15th century at the latest, one of the Trucchsess, who already owned many estates at the edge of the village, took over the massive Arlass building. The first known owners were the wealthy Weber family. With a contract dated 1546 a certain Hans Weber transferred the entire property to his son Wolfgang: the Truchsess farm - that was also an inn - with dwelling, farmhouse, two gardens and the publican's license.
The following episode shows that, at times, the inn could become quite lively very much to the annoyance of the authorities: "Perhaps at the suggestion of the priest, who was concerned about the souls of his flock, at the beginning of 1546 Judge Sigmund Freidnsprung of Castelrotto issued an ordinance that prohibited all innkeepers of his district from serving wine after the ninth hour of the evening. Any offence carried a fine of 10 marks, which corresponded approximately to the value of three cows. The aim was to put a stop to the idle drinking and gambling in public houses. But the severe judge probably knew his fellow countrymen quite well and started patrolling the inns in Siusi and Castelrotto with his bailiff. And lo! On the evening of the 25 January 1546 he found a noisy crowd drinking and playing at the tables of Peter Weber's inn in Siusi. The judge decided to set an example and not only fined the innkeeper, but also put him under arrest for a few days. When he was released, the innkeeper had to promise in front of the Court that he would never serve wine agian after nine o'clock in the evening."
The inn was at the same time a farm with barn and stable and had extensive property including goods, fields, meadows, woods and a large mountain pasture and hut. Inheritance disputes, purchases and sales changed the large property over the centuries. For example, around 1550, the innkeeper at the Unterwirt also owned the Heissbäck farm, the Kreuzschuster (Hotel Seiserhof) and the Visian farm (today Hotel Enzian). At times, he therefore ws one of the largest property owners in Siusi. Also the other village inn called Oberwirt (from 17th century, today Pizzeria Poststube) was built and repeatedly managed by one of the previous owners of the Unterwirt - Schwarzer Adler.
The name 'Adler-Wirt' (innkeeper of the Eagle Inn) appeared for the first time in 1841 in a document listing the inheritance of 26-year-old Katharina Mulser.
A year later, the young innkeeper married Anton Gasser. The Schwarzer Adler, commonly known as Unterwirt, remained in the possesion of the Gasser family for almost 150 years. The tourism industry in Siusi began in the 18th century when the rich citizens of Bolzano started spending their summer holidays in the village. The opening of the first road to Castelrotto and Siusi in 1887 marked the beginning of a real tourist boom. In those times only noble and wealty bourgeois families could afford a stay in a summer resort. Therefore, the guests of the inn were well-off members of the Russian and Italian aristocracy as well as high-ranking diplomats.
When Mussolini came to power in Italy, the Schwarzer Adler - Unterwirt was renamed 'Aquila Nera' or 'Trattoria di sotto' . The years after World War I were a period of rapid growth, because the breathtaking mountain panorama and Anna Rauch's culinary skills, who had married the young innkeeper Josef Gasser in 1919, attracted many guests. Among them were the Polish pianist Ignaz Friedman, the local historian Leo Santifaller, the German writer Carl Zuckmayer, the South Tyrolean artist Willy Valier from Bolzano.
After World War II, tourism changed completely. The so-called economic miracle and the beginning of tourist activities during the winter sesason allowed the inn to be open throughout the year, so that the business was expanded and modernised. In 1966 the old barn was taken down and the building raised by one floor. Every room now had its own bathroom. A few years later Josef Gasser had a swimming pool built, among the first ones ever in Siusi!
In 1987 the property was acquired by the Mutschlechner family. Josef Mutschlechner (1940-2012) originally came from Stegona near Brunico in Pusteria valley, while his wife Ilse Scherlin was born in Siusi. Her parents were the innkeepers of the Bad Ratzes hotel. Her grandfather was the artist Eduard Burgauner, who had set himself the task of embellishing Castelrotto with his paintings. In 2001 Ilse and Josef Mutschlechner handed over the management to the second generation. Their daughter Patrizia now runs the hotel with the help of her sister Claudia. In 1966 and 2011 the Schwarzer Adler was converted into the modern hotel it is today, an important step for the oldest inn in Siusi and one of the most ancient buildings in the village. However, the stone archway with the coat of arms and the year 1518 still remains.
An important chapter in the village history
The landslide in the 13th century had destroyed the old village church. The new Maria Hilf church was built in 1648 and gave the village its new spiritual centre. The innkeeper of the Unterwirt played an important role in redefining the village location. The new place of worship was constructed near the Pflanzelt farm (new Folta Pub) and the Unterwirt inn, since the Pflanzelt farmer had donated the plot of land and the innkeeper 100 guilders as capital for the church. Both also helped to build the church.
With the church, the Unterwirt, the Visian farm (the same owner as the inn), the Pflanzelt Farm and the Pray farm (owned by the Pflanzelt farmer until 1662;today, Stefan'sButcher shop) Suisi had formed its first proper village centre - including a village well. There it remained until over three centuries later, when the village centre started moving towards the lower square with completion of the school building in 1934 (today the nature park visitor centre).
Starting from the last quarter of the 19th century, new hotels were built in the near and far surroundings of Siusi, while the new infrastructure continued to be concentrated in the village centre, especially nearby the Schwarzer Adler. In 1926 the first branch of the Raiffeisen bank was established at the inn. On the opposite side (where the ABC Tobbacconist's is now) the first photographer (originally at the Unterwirt), the first hairdresser, the first dentist and th tourist office opened. In 1892 the first summer post office in Siusi was set up at the Hotel Seiserhof.