A cultured but choleric ruler
He built Mirabell Castle for his mistress, Salome Alt
A member of a south German aristocratic family
Wolf was born in Hofen Castle (near Lochau on Lake Constance) on 26 March 1559. He was a member of the family of von Raitenau, who were minor nobility.
His mother Helene von Hohenems was the niece of Giovanni Angelo Medici, later Pope Pius IV. He died in the Fortress Hohensalzburg on 16 January 1617.
A sovereign prince
Wolf studied in Pavia and Rome. Although well-educated, as archbishop he could often be volatile and short-tempered. He corresponded with Tycho Brahe and was an adherent of Niccolò Machiavelli’s concept of the ideal Renaissance prince. He had Mirabell Castle constructed for his mistress, Salome Alt. With her, he had 15 children.
His influence on Salzburg
In May 1587, at the age of 28 years, he was elected archbishop as compromise candidate shortly after being ordained as a priest.
He very soon introduced reforms in the liturgy, the education system and the administration.
He had all Protestants expelled from the city in 1589. He invited Franciscan and Augustinian friars to his principality in order to continue the harsh measures of the Counter-Reformation. However, it was not long before he exhibited much more religious tolerance.
Foreign policy and the “Salt War”
In 1606, Wolf issued the “Eternal Statute”. This was intended to ensure that no member of the House of Habsburg (the rulers of Austria) or of the House of Wittelsbach (the rulers of Bavaria) could ever be appointed Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
His rule was brought down by a conflict with Bavaria – the so-called “Salt War” of 1611. Wolf fled but was captured and was imprisoned in strict solitary confinement for life in the Fortress Hohenwerfen and subsequently in the Fortress Hohensalzburg by his cousin and successor, Marcus Sitticus Graf von Hohenems. It is claimed that Wolf admitted that he alone took the blame for his own overthrow but that he would have liked to “have his own dear children around him”. This wish was not to be granted.
- Schloss Altenau – das heutige Schloss Mirabell
- Old Residenz Palace
- New Residenz Palace
- Hofmarstall – das heutige Festspielhaus
- Residenzplatz Square
- Mozartplatz Square
- Bad Dürrnberg: Pilgrimage church “Zu Unserer Lieben Frau Maria Himmelfahrt”
He began the construction of the New Residence in 1588 to the east of the cathedral and then the building of the actual archiepiscopal residence to the west of the cathedral. After Salzburg Cathedral was devastated by fire in 1598, he had the ruins together with 55 neighbouring town houses pulled down to make space for a lavish reconstruction that was only begun under his successor. The plans were drawn up by the Venetian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi who also designed the Residenzplatz and what is today known as the Mozartplatz.