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Bolzano

  • Description
  • What to See
  • What to Do
  • What to Taste

The Province of Bolzano is situated in the northernmost part of Italy on the border with Switzerland and Austria, and is part of the Alto-Adige Region. The eastern part of the territory includes the spectacular Dolomites Mountain Range and the district of Val Gardena Alpe di Siusi. The Dolomites and their valleys offer some of the most beautiful scenery in Italy and are a real paradise for skiing enthusiasts. 

The western side is also characterized by mountain panoramas of the Venoste Alps and Mounts Cevedale and Ortles, near the National Park of Stelvio that encompasses conifer woods, grasslands, lakes, valleys and a pathway leading to the Stelvio Pass, one of the highest passes in Europe. 
The Province of Bolzano is dominated by its majestic scenery formed of nature in its purest state, and its picturesque small towns typical of a border area, where three cultures and languages live together in harmony: Italian, German and Ladin. 

So many artistic treasures can be found immersed within this pristine natural environmental, particularly the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria and the Medieval Castel Coira, struck upon the rocky surface jof the Venoste Alps.
This area also boasts rich folkloric events year-round, culminating in some of the best Christmas traditions at the end of each year: think magical Christmas markets that are highly-original in the communities of BolzanoVipitenoMeranoBrunico, and Bressanone (the so-called "Five Stars").
Finally, the typical gastronomic specialties, paired with excellent local wines, are just some of the other surprises this territory holds in store for its visitors. 

Surrounded by mountains and built in a natural basin, Bolzano is a charming city with a blend of German and Mediterranean traditions, traditions that are also visible in its architecture. Among the most important monuments are the Cathedral with its Gothic bell tower, considered one of the most beautiful monuments in the Region. Nearby, Piazza Walther is known for hosting Bolzano's Christmas Market, with its characteristic wooden houses offering amazing decorations, typical specialties, and many products from the local craftsmen. The Archaeological Museum of Alto-Adige is a must-see, with its finds and documentation of the area's history from its origins to the early Middle Ages. The main attraction here is Otzi, a mummy of a 5,000-year-old man found in the Similaun glacier near the Italy-Austria border.

Merano is famous for its thermal baths and monuments, such as the Castello Principesco built in the 15th Century; and the sumptuous Trauttmansdorff Castle on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by colorful gardens with exotic Mediterranean plants.
 In the neighborhood we also find Castel Tirolo (11th-13th Century), famous for its decor and its chapel's amazing frescoes, today it is the Museum of History and Culture of the Province of Bolzano.

Bressanone is a very important arts city; its buildings are a fusion of Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo. The city center possesses a remarkable artistic legacy, including the Cathedral with its frescoed cloister; the magnificent Palace of the Prince-Bishop, hosting the Diocesan Museum of the Nativity; and the Abbey of Novacella. Amongst the castles, the most striking are Castello Velturno, still as it was originally- decorated and furnished, and Castel Rodengo, overlooking the River Rienza. 
Vipiteno is home to the beautiful Palazzo Comunale, the Torre delle Dodici and, not far off, the Stanghe Waterfalls in Racines

Val Pusteria 
is another gem, location of the picturesque village of Brunico, with its Castle that is set to be a component of the Messner Mountain Museum, established by mountaineer Reinhold Messner. Finally, be sure to visit the Provincial Museum of Customs and Traditions in Teodone. 

The Province of Bolzano offers many modern, fully-equipped ski resorts with miles and miles of slopes, from the Dolomites to Val Venosta, including many well-loved skiing and winter sports areas such as  Val Gardena, Val Badia, Plan de Corones, the Plose, Alta Pusteria, Solda, and Obereggen; a real heaven for people who love skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowshoeing. 

In addition, thanks to the high-altitude glaciers of Val Senales, ydie-hards can even ski in summer. 
The entire area, of course, is highly-adapted to hiking and climbing, cycling and mountain biking, trekking, and various other types of nature excursions. Other options are shopping for artisan and culinary products; for example, the territory of Bolzano boasts the Alto Adige Wine Route, along which travelers can stop at wineries and vineyards to taste and buy delicious wines. 
For a relaxing vacation dedicated to well-being, the thermal baths of Merano or the Cron4 center in Riscone (near Brunico) are ideal. 

Typical events and festivals include the original Alto Adige-Sudtirol Christmas Markets of Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Vipiteno, and Brunico (the "Five Stars"); expect unique toys and other handcrafted wares, live and lively music, mulled wine with typical Christmas treats, and marvelous atmospheres filled with wonder and excitement.

Not only, but be sure to check out the Wine Fair (Mostra Vini) in Bolzano (March), the Oswald von Wolkenstein Ride (Cavalcata) of the Siusi Alps, usually in May-June, the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige (June to July), the Dolomites Marathon in Alta Badia (early July), Dolomiti Superbike in Alta Pusteria in July, Gustav Mahler Musical Weeks in Dobbiaco (July to August), the Merano Festival between August and September, the Gran Premio Ippico Merano Forst (a horse show, every late September), the Merano WineFestival in early November, the World Ski Cup in Val Gardena and in Alta Badia (December), and the San Silvestro ”Boclassic” Run in Bolzano every December 31st.

The culinary traditions of Bolzano Province, like so much else, are influenced by Austria, resulting in unusual dishes and flavors. Typical dishes include: knödel or canederli, ravioli alla pusterese, minestra di farinascottata, and polenta with venison. Tyrolean dishes are also Schlutzkrapfen (ravioli with various fillings), Spatzler, venison goulash, carre of pork with sauerkraut, and also fish straight from the rivers and lakes. 

Ready for dessert? Take your pick from apple StrudelKaiserschmarren, chocolate cakes, crème cakes, ricotta cakes, Zelten of Bolzano (a Christmas cake made of dried fruits and raisins). The area is also well known for its production of good wines, particularly LagreinSchiava and Gewurtztraminer