In 1806, two sons of the Italian-born Frankfurt merchant Pietro Antonio (Peter Anton) Brentano, Franz (1765-1844) and Georg (1775-1851), acquired the two-storey building with mansard roof along with a plot of land extending to the Rhine. Since Georg ceded his share, Franz and his wife Antonia (1780-1869) with their children and Franz's half-siblings used the house as a summer retreat and a social meeting place. It was also open to other family members and many acquaintances. The property, built in 1751, remained in the possession of the Brentanos for over 200 years until it was purchased by the State of Hesse.

The Most Famous Guest Was Goethe

Winkel began to shine with its famous guest, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who visited in 1814. Numerous anecdotes circulate about the poet prince. He drank an awful lot of the 1811 “Hasensprung” wine, walked the pergolas in the garden in his flannel dressing gown in the morning and was stingy about speaking because he was supposedly afraid that someone would misuse his golden words.

It is a fact that Goethe went on many excursions and that these were later reflected in the diary “Im Rheingau Herbsttage” (Autumn Days in the Rheingau). In it he thanked the family who “gave him many happy hours on their estate at Winkel”. The rooms he occupied were reverently left in their condition – they are now a real time capsule in the museum-like residential building.

Brentano House, Goethe's study

The Brentanos’ private sanctuary: one of two rooms in which the revered Goethe lived

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2020

Bettina von Arnim, née Brentano, elevated the house to the memorial of Romanticism. Decades later, she poetically re-modelled her summer sojourns in unique epistolary works. There, the nights were blackened, gliding on the Rhine in the glow of the moon and singing with an exultant heart.

Subsequent Romanticisation of the Site

She edited old correspondences, fictionalised events and reflections, and held up Goethe, her friend Karoline von Günderrode (1780-1806) or her brother Clemens (1778-1842) as mirrors of her eccentric personality. Thus she romanticised her youth and its setting. The image of an idyll was also carried on by other authors, and so the Brentano House became an attraction.


Weingut Fritz Allendorf
Am Lindenplatz 2
65375 Oestrich-Winkel
Tel.: +49(0)6723 885 40 70

Guided Tours

Information on guided tours can be found on the website of the Brentano House