A restless prince-archbishop who loved pomp
In a reign of just seven years, Marcus Sitticus left an indelible mark on Salzburg
From a good family
Marcus Sitticus was born in Hohenems on 24 June 1574. He was a member of the family of the Lords of Ems and the fourth child of Jakob Hannibal I of Hohenems and his wife, Hortensia, née Borromeo.
Even though his relatives consistently encouraged him, he felt his older brother Kaspar was being favoured over him.
A lover of pomp but not a well man
He was appointed a canon of the Bishopric of Constance at the age of just 13 years by his uncle, Marco Sittico Altemps – a post that his cousin Wolf Dietrich had to relinquish on being elected Archbishop of Salzburg. He subsequently joined the cathedral chapter in Salzburg and later in Augsburg.
It seems that as archbishop, Marcus Sitticus suffered from haemorrhoids and other bowel disorders. This prince, with his love of display, died at the age of 45 on 9 October 1619.
A ruler with his own mind
The then 38-year-old Mark Sittich owed his elevation to Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg to major intervention in the election process by the Roman Curia. He took over from his imprisoned cousin, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau.
He received the Holy Orders from the hands of the Bishop of Chiemsee on 7 October 1612. He kept his cousin imprisoned until the latter died.
Despite the circumstances of his appointment, Mark Sittich had no intention of becoming the puppet of Bavaria or Austria and continued the enlightened policies of his predecessor, Wolf Dietrich. He also refused to join the Catholic League, something that was fully in opposition to the policies of Bavaria. As a result, he was able to keep Salzburg out of involvement in the Thirty Years’ War.
In 1613, Marcus Sitticus commissioned a comprehensive survey of the holdings of his archdiocese.
Meetings in Hellbrunn Palace
Marcus Sitticus had a particular predilection for establishing new religious fraternities. Clad in their red habits, the members of his “Corpus Christi” fraternity paraded through the streets of the city every month.
On 16 July 1619, he was able to play host to Archduke Ferdinand who was on his way to Frankfurt am Main where he was subsequently to be elected Holy Roman Emperor. As Marcus Sitticus modestly began to take a place at the table for the midday meal opposite Ferdinand, the archduke asked him to sit next to him, where the two apparently chatted together “cheerfully and happily”. They were later joined by James Hay, the envoy of James I of England. In the afternoon, Marcus Sitticus gave his guest a tour of Hellbrunn and its spectacular fountains. The crowning event of the day was a performance of L’Orfeo von Monteverdi.
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Hellbrunn Palace and its fountains
- Erzbischöfliche Residenz
- Franciscan Church
- Chapel of St. Borromeo (Hellbrunn)
- Chapel of St. Mark and hospital
- Old University and Sacellum
- Gstättentor and Klausentor
- Sebastianstor (Linzergasse)
- Renovation of Townhall
Marcus Sitticus most important building project was the reconstruction of Salzburg Cathedral. For this purpose, he summoned Santino Solari to Salzburg in 1613 who worked as court architect in the city until his death in 1646.He also commissioned Santino Solari to construct Hellbrunn Palace (at the time considered a very contemporary villa rustica in the Italianate style) as his country seat, together with its park and the world-famous fountains.