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South Tyrol

Sterzing, between Alpine landscapes and centuries-old monuments

Elegant palaces in perfect rows welcome tourists entering Italy's northernmost city.

14 October 2022

2 minutes

There it is in the background: Torre delle Dodici, or the Tower of Twelve, the famous tower and symbol of Sterzing. The town is also excellent for visiting the surrounding area, as it is located only 57 km from Innsbruck, Austria, which means that as you stroll through narrow streets laden with shops, you’re also almost at the border.

1. Full immersion in centuries-old charm

Not everyone knows that Sterzing has Roman origins, of which almost nothing remains, but as soon as you reach this town in the province of Bozen, you’ll be enchanted by the perfect balance of magnificent views, culture and art.

The setting is a gorgeous alternation of colourful houses, Gothic churches, mountain alleys and the ideal embrace of a landscape that seems almost painted on the perfect canvas of the sky. If you’re ready to bask in extreme beauty, you’ve chosen the right place. 

2. One of the most beautiful villages in Italy

Sterzing’s main street runs through both the Old Town and the New Town: although it’s lined with small shops, take advantage of that shy ray of sunshine to start your visit before indulging in some shopping.

Take note: a slice of strudel and excellent Trentino speck are both imperatives here. But this town in the Eisack Valley has more than one ace up its sleeve, as it still splendours in that late medieval light that tells of its long history. 

3. Torre delle Dodici

Don’t miss the Tower of Twelve, earning its name from the tolling of its bell that called citizens to their midday break. At 46 metres in height, it dominates the city centre and dates back to the late 15th century, although it was rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire, directly over the site where the entrance gate to the city centre once stood, and was enriched with a sundial. 

4. The Town Hall and its art collection

Your second stop in Sterzing is the 15th-century town hall to see the Gothic-style council chamber. The wooden walls and beamed ceiling make the room the most beautiful of its kind in all of Tyrol. Before leaving, make sure to visit the collection of artwork inside, then off to the next discovery. 

5. Civic Museum and Multscher Museum

Cross the threshold to go straight towards the precious late-Gothic altar panels made by Hans Multscher of Ulm for the parish church. Together with other parts preserved here, they represent what was once one of the largest and most expensive altars in the entire Alpine region. The Civic Museum is in the same building, located within the Commendam of the Teutonic Order. 

6. Castel Tasso

Castel Tasso is one of the best-preserved castles in the whole of South Tyrol, but it’s actually the interior that you can’t miss. The guided tour will bring you to the original kitchen, the WC, the medieval dormitories in the old palace, the halls richly panelled in wood, the green room with the Gothic portal and many other details that will pique the curiosity of adults and children alike. 

7. Castel Pietra

This castle can only be seen from the outside, but is worth a visit for its proud beauty. This is your last stop on this part of our itinerary. The castle belonged to the Trautson family and consists of a lower fortress and an upper fortress with a keep and palace. Damaged during the Second World War, it was later thoroughly restored.

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