Bound by Tradition

Short History of the Spa and Family

With the donation of her “Predium Razze” in Siusi allo Sciliar to Kloster Neustift (Novacella Abbey) the pious Omenia ensured the first documented evidence of Bad Ratzes in 1191.
In the 16th century the healing effect of a few Tyrolean springs was recognized. These were the so-called nature baths, thus named because they often had their source where civilization had not come too close to nature yet. This resulted in the custom of enjoying a few days of summer vacation to escape from the hard labour and the heat in the valleys. Therefore many watering place inns and guest-houses were established close to the springs, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Already in 1722, the barber and surgeon Anton Schledler from Castelrotto / Kastelruth applied for permission to build a public baths in Siusi allo Sciliar and therefore laid the foundation for the ‘Wildbad Ratzes’ (nature bath Ratzes). He also acquired a wonderful meadow, and received a license to cater for his spa guests as well as permission for the erection of a chapel dedicated to Cosmas and Damian, patron saints of doctors and pharmacists. To cover the need of firewood for heating water he acquired two forested areas in 1737 and later another piece of land. The stage for a flourishing spa business was set.

Family, Siusi allo Sciliar

Following a series of changes in ownership in the 18th century, Joseph Proßliner acquired the “Mineral-Wildbad” (mineral nature bath) in 1804. This was the beginning of a period of great splendour for Bad Ratzes. His son Johann and his wife Anna managed to lead the spa to new levels of fame and even to win over the so-called ‘upper classes’ as their regular guests. Doctors and physicians of that time praised the healing effect of the chalybeate and sulphur spring, and water from both was piped to the spa house. They also heralded the relaxing surroundings and the pleasant and buoyant atmosphere of the health spa business. It’s not surprising that artists were also attracted by the place, who then immortalized their stay at Bad Ratzes in their literature and painting. The surviving guest books of that period contain numerous illustrious names. Nowadays the altarpiece in the private chapel, painted by Carl Henrici in 1770, reminds us of that time. Henrici hailed from Silesia (Schlesien) and came to Bolzano / Bozen on his peregrinations, where he became a famous Baroque painter.

The spa remained in the possession of the same family for more than a century until the surviving great-grandson Ludwig Proßliner and his wife died childless in 1931 and 1932. Bad Ratzes was subsequently inherited by Ludwig’s sister-in-law, Maria Burgauner, widow of the famous painter Eduard Burgauner, until her daughter Erna took over the business in 1934. Her son Walter Burgauner then took over  the native Villa Felseck in Castelrotto.

The Burgauner family continued to run the house as a hotel. After the First World War, Bad Ratzes recovered very slowly, as many of the regular guests from Central, Northern and Eastern Europe stayed away, due to South Tyrol’s separation from Austria. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II in 1938, the public bath closed down and served as a spruce needle bath until 1958.
Erna Burgauner married Richard Scherlin in 1941, the youngest of 19 children from the ‘Tanötzer Hof’ farm in Castelrotto. From this marriage resulted four daughters, all of whom learned the hospitality business, working their way up from the bottom, and who are largely responsible for Bad Ratzes’ present reputation for homeliness and hospitality. Erna Scherlin Burgauner passed away in 1994 aged 84, and Richard Scherlin in 1997, aged 87.
Their daughters Eva and Waltraud continue to run the Hotel Bad Ratzes in the spirit of their parents. The two other daughters manage the Residence Dolomitenhof and the Hotel Schwarzer Adler in Siusi allo Sciliar.

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