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 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
The beginnings of the Schwarzer Adler (Black Eagle), originally called Arlas and later also Unterwirt (Lower Inn), are hidden in the dark of history. It is not recorded exactly when the farmstead became an inn, presumably in the first half of the 16th century. In 1546, the inn was mentioned for the first time in a document: the steward’s farm with dwelling, farmhouses, two gardens, and publican’s license were inherited from father to son. This farm, which was also an inn, can be identified with what was later called Arlas Inn.
Originally, it was probably the house of a baker: the guild sign placed as a coat of arms on the lintel of the original entrance to the house shows a pretzel, two bun-shaped objects, and the letters PP, which stand for ‘Päckerpfister’, i.e. baker. These images are surrounded by the number 1518.
THE UPPER AND LOWER INN (OBERWIRT AND UNTERWIRT)
The old documents also reveal that, at the time, the village of Siusi even had a second inn. It was called Gebhard’s Inn or, more often, the Oberwirt (Upper Inn). Both establishments were economically successful: apparently the local craftsmen and farmers were quite fond of drinking, very much to the annoyance of the authorities. This is proven by the written account of an episode dating back to 1546. In that year, the judge of Castelrotto issued a decree forbidding all innkeepers of his district to serve wine after the ninth hour of the evening. Any breach of the law was to be punished with a fine of 10 marks (which corresponded approximately to the value of three cows). During a patrol, the judge found a noisy crowd who was drinking and playing at the tables of the Unterwirt in Siusi. He decided to set an example and not only fined the innkeeper, but also put him under arrest for a few days.
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 possession of the Gasser family for almost 150 years. In 1987 it was acquired by the Mutschlechner family. Josef Mutschlechner originally comes from Brunico in the 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.
From our visitor’s book
Amongst our regular guests are the author Karl Zuckmayr, the South Tyrolean historian Prof. Leo Santifaller, the South Tyrolean artist and painter Willi Valier, the painters Filippo de Pisis and Alfredo Beltrame, the German textile manufacturer Benno Geiger, the South Tyrolean author, actor and producer Luis Trenker, the ambassador to the Vatican Rudolf Graf von Strachwitz, the politician Rocco Buttiglione and the journalist Nello Ajello.
Johann Santner was born in Eastern Tyrol and lived in Bolzano. He was a passionate mountaineer who gained everlasting fame by completing the first ascent of the Santner Peak, which is named after him. His account of his ascent of the great Sciliar peak begins with the following words: “On 1 July 1880, coming from Bolzano, I arrived at the ‘Unterer Wirt’ in Siusi, where some summer holidaymakers had joined with local people for a merry chat on the terrace of the house. My arrival immediately led the conversation to mountaineering and to the nearest peak of the Sciliar, which rises straight and wild from Siusi, and whose sight surely remains in the memory of everyone who has stayed in Siusi at least once.”
Among the inhabitants of the Sciliar area, the big peak was considered inaccessible. The next day Santner left in the early morning hours to climb the mountain. He indeed managed to reach the top of the mountain, or rather of the rock of clossal dimensions, as he himself called it. At first, many could not believe that Santner had actually made it, but after two more climbers had reached the summit on the route opened by him, the great sciliar peak received his name. Today the locals simply call it 'the Santner'.