An unpublished collection of 47th vintage postcards of Cortina and surroundings, from the 20's to the 50's .
The castle of Botestagno
Tinkhauser. Innsbruck, Museum Ferdinandeum Images taken from “Il castello di Botestagno in Ampezzo”, by G.Richebuono, Regole d’Ampezzo, 1994
Chapter 12 - Joseph II against the autonomy
We have already said that the four centuries of Ampezzo were a happy period of freedom, though different from one century to the other. The autonomies that Maximilian had granted to Ampezzo, for whose recognition the Ampezzani had had to fight at every new change on the throne of Vienna, knew a first halt around 1780, under emperor Joseph II. During his short reign he gave the monarchy more jolts than any other king, overcoming any sort of difficulties, clashing against the church and the other so called "strong powers", which led him to a premature death. Over the centuries, thousands of monasteries and other religious sites had been erected in Austria. But there no longer was anything religious about them. His first reform provided for the shutting down of all the structures dealing with (or allegedly doing it) charity, public relief, education, and decided that all these tasks were to be left to the State. In Cortina were closed the church of St Catherine whose sexton was also the teacher of the children of St Nicholas at Ospitale because the bureaucracy read that name as a synonym for "hospital", which wasn't true and the so called "school of the beaten" which had been taking care of pilgrims for centuries and with them used to pray in the church of the Defence which was consequently shut down. Public relief was given to the Commune and also the educational tasks were taken away from the clergy and given to the secular world. At the same time, religious processions outside the parish were forbidden. For instance, every year the people of Cortina used to go with the crosses to the Virgin of the Graces at Dobbiaco, the Trinity at Andraz, and to San Canciano at Borca.
The first (or second?) measure was the introduction of the penal code, already planned by his mother Maria Theresa, throughout the monarchy. Soon the civil code would follow. This marked the end of the glorious Statutes of Ampezzo and of the attached privileges, like monopoly of transportation, exemption from military service, penal and civil jurisdiction, appeals in Udine, tax-exemption, etc.
Finally, a large number of fortresses, damaged by artillery fire, were no longer used by the defensive system of the empire. As a consequence, on the 28th March, 1782, the castle of Botestagno, with his nine ten centuries of glory, was put for auction.
The history of Ampezzo was turning another page, losing ancient exclusive rights but taking a step forward to modern times.