Gothic arches, copper gargoyles, a bronze fountain – you won’t find many Austrian courtyards prettier than this one.
You can thank the Italian architect Domenico dell’Allio for its existence. Regarded as a fortress specialist, dell’Allio came to Austria to help defend the Empire from the Turks.
He did a good job. Appointed as the Imperial Master Builder of Inner Austria, dell’Allio traveled from Vienna to Croatia and beyond, introducing modern improvements to fortifications along the way. He even imported his buddies from Como and Lugano to help in the new construction boom. (Some things never change.)
But dell’Allio had his peace-loving side as well. It was while he was in Graz to supervise construction on the Schlossberg that he began work on the three-tiered, Renaissance-style courtyard you see here. Built in 1557, it is known as a place for pleasure (and innumerable tourists).
In 1558, Emperor Ferdinand I granted dell’Allio a patent of nobility as architector et artifex insignis, Edler des Königreiches Böhmen (“architect and famous artist, Noble of the Kingdom of Bohemia”).
Unfortunately, he did not have much time to enjoy his fame. Dell’Allio disappeared on an inspection tour of the Croatian-Windisch military frontier in 1563.