South Tyrol wine tourism: the Wine Route
1. Wine and architecture: the Three Castles Walk
The Wine Route offers the chance to admire a fusion of styles, with constructions that blend Gothic and Renaissance elements. This is the typical “Oltradige style” visible in the many castles overlooking the valley and the picturesque villages with crenellated buildings. Mullioned windows, ornate portals and flowering bay windows will encourage you to walk around with your head up.
Bearing witness to ancient noble families are 180 fortresses, ruins and manor houses, sprouting up amidst the vineyards that populate the surrounding hillsides.
If you follow the route known as the Three Castles Walk, first you’ll come across the majestic Eppan Castle, one of the most important in the region, imposingly rising atop a steep rock face, then Boymont Castle, a rectangular building with atypical straight lines, and finally Corba Castle with its quadrangular keep.
Photogenic Salorno Castle, also called Haderburg due to the fact that it is perched atop a rocky outcrop in Bassa Atesina, lies on the border with Trentino.
In addition to these historical residences, you will also come across what were originally modest farmhouses that have been transformed over time into stately homes with inner courtyards, arched windows and external staircases.
Tradition merges with contemporaneity thanks to the local designers' choice to preserve the authentic character of the wine-growing area and combine it with a new architectural language based on sustainable materials and the use of cutting-edge technologies.
2. Fun and adventure: exploratory tours
The Wine Route is the ideal destination if you decide to go on a family trip. You can choose among numerous hikes, such as the one to the Rastenbach Gorge offering beautiful panoramic views of Lake Caldaro and the surrounding vineyards, characterised by its small waterfalls, shady slopes, streams and ivy-covered trees.
Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the Ice Holes, a protected natural area at the foot of Mount Ganda, which will welcome you with a special climate that’s cool even in summer. If, on the other hand, you want to take advantage of the lakes for a dip, you’re spoilt for choice here. The area is home to the warmest swimming lakes in South Tyrol.
Motorbike enthusiasts can also organise tours on two wheels and ride along the easy bike paths such as the “Via Claudia Augusta”, which winds along the Adige River past vineyards and apple orchards.
Don’t forget all the amusement parks and museums: children will love discovering how Ötzi the ice mummy lived, a prehistoric man whose story is told at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.
3. Culinary art: almost everything is zero-kilometre
Your tour along the Wine Route can only end with a taste of the local food and wine products. The offer is quite varied: Alpine dishes welcome Mediterranean influences, with very particular results.
In historic wine cellars, typical “Gasthaus” inns, modern bistros or castle taverns, you not only indulge in South Tyrolean specialities based on asparagus, wild garlic, seasonal vegetables and chestnuts, all prepared with zero-kilometre ingredients, but you can accompany each dish with good wine, first and foremost Pinot Noir.