The history of Kematen/Caminata


The word Kematen reaches back to the Middle Ages: a Kemater is someone with a fireplace in either a living room, a bedroom, a ladies chamber or a court room.

Indeed near Kematen in the early summer of 1027 an important event took place. Emperor Konrad II, with a very strong army, paused on his way back to the North from his coronation in Rome. On 1 June he distributed a document “in monte Rittena in loco qui dicitur Fontana frigid” (in other words in a place called Cold Fountain on the Ritten) and gave therewith the Earldoms of Vinschgau and Bozen together with the Forest on the Ritten to the Bishop of Trient.

Still today above Lengmoos and near Kematen there is a field called “the cold fountain field” – and that the Emperor rested here shows that Lengmoos, even before the handing over of the Hospice to the German Order of Knights (which was later the Kommende in Lengmoos and the high point of the so-called Ulrich Pass) was an important station on the way over the Brenner. This, until the end of the 15th century, and which we today know as the Brenner road through the canyon of the Eisack River, was only a miserable narrow mule track, which caused the exhausting detour from Kollman to Bozen over the Ritten.

“Whoever ruled the Ritten controlled the traffic between Bavaria and Italy” stated the Munich historian Irmgard Heitmeier in her study of the Ritten in the early Middle Ages, in which she also declared that the “forest” on the Ritten was not only a wood but also a Royal Domain forming part of the highly organised Carolingian style court.


However not only the Brenner road but also the way past Wangen and through the Sarntal to Bozen led over the Ritten. And still today it leads straight past Kematen, not surprisingly as in the late 13th century Kematen was a seat of the powerful noble family from Wangen (see the Wangen-Bellermont castle on the west side of the Ritten over the Talfer gorge). From that family Friedrich was Prince Bishop of Trient in the early 13th century. This completed the surroundings of Kematen which already had its own church, in the Middle Ages.

Various changes of ownership brought Kematen to the families of the Barons von Eyrl, of von Mayrl and finally to that of the von Zallinger-Stillendorfs.

Franz von Zallinger-Stillendorf, an official of the Imperial Diet in Vienna and his wife Lydia who came from a noble family in East Prussia, arranged for the architect Johann Bittner, who came from Bohemia, to build a neo-gothic church on the site, as a copy of the Walsburg church in Gὂflan in the

Vinschgau. The massive barn and manor house, which both date from an earlier period, are in the Black Forest and Tyrolean style.

Kematen was converted in the 1970s into a hotel and restaurant. Since 2014 the Bozen businessman Klaus Wojnar has been the proprietor. The family of Alois Untermarzoner have leased the property since 1979 with a brief interruption from 1983-89.