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CYCLING GUIDE

From Passo Resia to Bolzano Sights, history, wining and dining tips, useful information

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From Resia Pass to Bolzano


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Oswald Stimpfl, the author of this Guide, is a passionate cyclist. He has published more than 25 books on various Italian regions and territories for publishers of the calibre of MairDumont, Folio Editore Bolzano/Vienna and the Italian Touring Club Association. When he’s not travelling the country observing, photographing and describing lands, peoples, foods and wines, he lives and works in the bilingual city of Bolzano.

Photos: Girolibero and no.parking: cover, p. 10, 52, 53, 58, 60 Eva Nardulli: p. 20, 48 Frieder Blickle: p. 55 all others: Oswald Stimpfl. Š Girolibero, Vicenza 2014 Maps, concept and design: no.parking, Vicenza Translations: Alphaville. Traduzioni e servizi editoriali, Vicenza Printed in Italy www.girolibero.com


OSWALD STIMPFL

From Resia Pass to Bolzano

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This guide will help you discover the western region of South Tyrol, particularly the Adige valley from the Resia Pass to Bolzano. Here, you will find valuable information about the history, the artistic heritage and the beautiful landscape of the areas on route, not to mention also recommended places to stop along each stage and advice on the not-to-be-missed food and wines, with some names and addresses of restaurants and shops.


Index From Resia Pass to Bolzano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 South Tyrol.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 A potted history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 South Tyrol on the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Val Venosta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A potted history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 From Resia to Silandro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Silandro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Eating and drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 From Silandro to Merano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 The Merano region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 A few historical notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Merano. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 The best in brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Museums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Eating and drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Shopping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60


From Merano to Bolzano.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bolzano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . History of the city . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The best in brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eating and drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . glance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bolzano at a glance Events.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Events

61 72 73 75 78 79 80

Useful information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

MAPS OVERVIEW OF THE TOUR . . . .8 STAGES OF THE TOUR From Resia to Silandro . . . . . . . 18 From Silandro to Merano . . . . . . 38 From Merano to Bolzano . . . . . . 62

CITYMAPS Silandro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Merano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Bolzano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70


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From Resia Pass to Bolzano

Congratulations! If you have this Guide in front of you this probably means you are exploring one of the most beautiful parts of Italy and South Tyrol by bike. The route along the Adige River meanders through the diversified cultural landscape of the Adige valley, from Resia through Val Venosta, the Burgraviate region (the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol), past Merano to Bolzano and beyond, along the Adige River towards the south. The tour through the extensive plain at the bottom of the valley is ideal for leisure cyclists and families. The thing that makes the landscape of South Tyrol so magnificent is its diversity and on our way we will pass through one extreme after another: green meadows and Alpine pastures below the giant ice-capped peaks of the Ortles mountain range, the fertile soil in the valley with its cultivated fields and fruit orchards and the wooded south-western slope which contrasts the steppe vegetation on the south-facing, barren side of the Monte di MezzodĂŹ mountain. In addition to its towns with historical cultural treasures and sophisticated flair, this stunning scenery is dotted here and there with peaceful, secluded little mountain villages. The elongated Val Venosta, which stretches from Resia to Merano, lures visitors with its diversified attractions. The Adige River winds its way through the valley and then continues further south, passing through Bolzano and Trento until it finally reaches the plain of the Po valley. The entire landscape is dotted with fortresses, castles and ruins of


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military fortifications which are perched on mountain ledges and other strategically favourable spots. The Adige cycle path starts at the Resia Pass, which is the water divide, and for the last 100 years or so, has also formed the border between Austria and Italy. After the Brenner this is the most important gateway into North Tyrol. Our itinerary broadly follows along Via Claudia Augusta, the ancient Roman road built almost 2,000 years ago which linked the Adriatic and the Danube. Emperor Claudius used this road to bring his soldiers and tradesman through the Alps into the north. Throughout history, it has helped to develop a strong cultural exchange between populations and many interesting sights still remain to this day with a great number of historical remains, ancient settlements and architectural gems. For a detailed description of your route, refer to your Roadbook and maps provided in a scale of 1:50,000. This Guide contains a presentation of the most important sights along the way, together with background information on the land and the people, as well as amusing anecdotes for a better understanding of the way of life in this region. For more detailed information on specific aspects, we advise you to refer to the many travel guides available in bookshops. So now we wish you a lot of fun on your bike trips along this wonderful itinerary!


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Overview of the tour

The route The cycle route from Resia Pass to Bolzano is 114 km in length. The first stage (Resia Pass–Silandro) is 46 km, the second (Silandro–Merano) 38 km, and lastly the third (Merano–Bolzano) about 30 km. It starts at an altitude of 1,507 m, descending to the 370 m of Merano and again to the 260 m of Bolzano – a considerable drop. The busy cycle path was built in recent years and basically follows the main road. Some stretches are surrounded by countryside, are dirt tracks or sometimes have a grit surface, therefore not suitable for racing bikes. In the first stage, the cycle path links the main towns; the second and final stage take you through the middle of the valley, along the Adige River with a few detours (always well signposted) to reach the points of interest on the edges of the valley.


South Tyrol South Tyrol lies on the sunny, AUSTRIA ÖSTERREICH SÜDTIROL/ climatically blessed southern ALTO ADIGE Bolzano slopes of the Alps and is one of Bozen Europe’s favourite holiday desI TA L I A tinations. Small wonder, considering what is on offer: lively towns with fascinating historical centres, a landscape comprising woods, lakes, gentle vineyard-covered hills and the striking Dolomite peaks, all inflected with Italian grace coupled with German thoroughness. And it is this variety that makes the difference!

SOUTH TYROL IN FIGURES AREA: 7,400 square kilometers INHABITANTS: 508,000 THE SIX LARGEST TOWNS (IN TERMS OF POPULATION) ARE: Bolzano: 105,000; Merano: 38,300; Bressanone: 20,900; Laives: 17,300; Brunico: 15,700; Appiano: 14,300.


A potted history 12000–5000 BCE Evidence uncovered of prehistoric hunters. 5000–3000 BCE The glacier-embedded “Ötzi” mummy and other other remains in Similaun provide proof of permanent settlements in the Alpine region. 15 BCE Romans conquer Tyrol during Drusus’ campaign. 4th and 5th centuries CE Spread of Christianity throughout area. 8th century Tyrol becomes part of Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne. 11th century Prince-Bishops of Brixen and Trent entrust bailiffs with administration of their lands. 13th–14th Meran becomes capital of Tyrol. 14th century Margarethe Maultasch, the last Countess of Tyrol, dies without issue; Tyrol taken over by the Habsburgs. 1499 Swabian War between Swiss Confederacy and the House of Habsburg: Swiss troops enter the Val Venosta through the Val Monastero. 1525/26 Peasant revolt led by Michael Gaismair. 1632–1646 Regency of Claudia de’ Medici, widow of Archduke Leopold.


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1740–1790 The reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph II reduce the power of the nobles and clergy. 1805 Peace of Pressburg: after losing several wars, Austria forced to cede Tyrol to France’s ally, Bavaria. 1809–1813 Uprising led by Andreas Hofer against Napoleon’s troops crushed. 1915–1918 World War I: Italy declares war on Austria and is rewarded with South Tyrol. 1922–1943 Fascists come to power in Italy. Policy of Italianisation rigorously pursued in South Tyrol. 1943–45 After the fall of Mussolini, German troops occupy South Tyrol until Allies’ arrival (May 1945). 1946 Paris Agreement aims to protect minorities in South Tyrol. 1956–58 and 1961 Italy fails to fully enforce Paris Agreement, leading to protest bombings in South Tyrol; Austria brings “South Tyrol question” before the Council of Europe and UN. 1972 New Statute of Autonomy gives South Tyrol minorities special rights. 1998 Border controls between Austria and Italy abolished. June 2006 Brenner Base Tunnel begun. This joint Austrian-Italian project is for a passenger and freight rail tunnel through the base of the Brenner massif. 2008 Silvio Berlusconi leads the country with a solid majority and a coalition of right-wing parties. 2011 Berlusconi is forced to resign and a cabinet of experts, headed by Mario Monti, is formed to solve the financial and economic crisis. After one year, Monti is replaced by Enrico Letta following new elections and by Matteo Renzi after the general election of February 2014, the person on whom the hopes of the PD, the left-wing democratic party, are pinned.


SOUTH TYROL ON THE INTERNET The following Internet pages provide all sorts of information about South Tyrol: WWW.SUEDTIROL.INFO The official website of S端dtirol Marketing Gesellschaft KGmbH, also in English.

WWW.PROVINZ.BZ.IT The public administration service portal, also in English.

WWW.SUEDTIROLERWEIN.COM Information about wine growing in South Tyrol, including list of wineries and events, also in English.

WWW.KULTUR.BZ.IT The cultural events calendar, also in English.

, The individual entries in this book will also provide further links to Internet pages.


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Val Venosta A potted history EARLY HISTORY Even before Ă–tzi, the well-preserved 5,000 year-

old mummy was extracted from the ice, it was known that Val Venosta was a settlement area at a very early stage, as proved by important findings on the Ganglegg hill, near Sluderno, and in Col di Tarces, near Malles. THE ROMANS The area then known as Raetia was conquered by the Romans around 15 BCE. Their influence on the lifestyle and language of the local inhabitants lasted for many years and shortly after their conquest they built the first road across the main ridge of the Alps: Via Claudia Augusta, which led from Altino, on the Adriatic coast, through Val Venosta, across the Resia pass, then north up to Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicorum). THE MIDDLE AGES From the Early Middle Ages, the prince-bishop of Coira and the county of Tyrol contended Val Venosta and Val Monastero (the lower part of which, starting from Pieve di Tures, is on Italian soil), that stretches from the Fuorn Pass, in Switzerland, to Glorenza. In the thirteenth century, the counts of Tyrol acquired sovereignty over the Venosta–Bassa Engadina county, although the property (much of which was also in the Upper Val Venosta) and the rights of the diocese of Coira remained untouched. In Malles, under the prince-bishop of Coira,


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a court was set up for the people – known as Gotteshausleute – who lived on land donated to the church and came under its jurisdiction. They were subordinated to an episcopal captain who lived in the prince’s castle (Fürstenburg) in Burgusio. After Tyrol was handed over to the Habsburg dynasty in 1363, Habsburg governors tried again and again to restrict the bishop rights in Bassa Engadina, Val Monastero, and Val Venosta, but were challenged by the Gotteshausleute of the bishop: the people from Coira, Bassa Engadina, Val Monastero, and Upper Val Venosta founded in fact the so-called Gotteshausbund (literally “League of God’s House”) between 1367 and 1415 in order to suppress the Habsburg influence. MODERN TIMES In the late fifteenth century, the Habsburgs acquired more and more power and rights in Prättigau and Schanfigg (now both part of Switzerland), which meant their sovereignty seemed to gradually prevail throughout the entire Swiss Confederation. The Habsburg Emperor Maximilan I attempted to strengthen the power of the central government, but the Swiss rebelled against this and forged an alliance to stop any further expansion of the Habsburg power in Grisons. After 1494, the gain in power of the Habsburgs led to a lengthy conflict with France for supremacy over Italy. Consequently, the control over the Alpine passes, that allowed direct access into Lombardy, gained crucial importance. One of these important crossings over the Alps was the Umbrail Pass, which led from Val Monastero into Valtellina and provided a direct connection between Innsbruck and Milan.


THE SWABIAN WAR AND THE BATTLE OF CALVEN Tyrolean troops attacked Saint John’s monastery – in the appropriately named Val Monastero – and triggered an open conflict which led to the Swabian War, between the Swiss and the Habsburg dynasty, in February 1499. In the Battle of Calven, a narrow strip of land in Val Monastero near to Glorenza, the Habsburgs suffered a crushing defeat in which thousands of people were killed. The Swiss ransacked and pillaged Glorenza and the entire Upper Val Venosta, as far as Silandro. It was the largest, bloodiest dispute that had ever taken place in South Tyrol and is believed to have cost the lives of 5,000 men from Swabia, Tyrol, and Italy compared to a loss of 2,000 amongst the Swiss. The Treaty of Basel put an end to the expansion of the Habsburg power and still defines the Swiss borders to this day. The Upper Val Venosta was the only area to remain in the hands of the Habsburgs, and the Swiss had give up this territory for good in 1618. WORLD WAR I When World War I ended, Val Venosta – together

with the rest of South Tyrol – became part of Italy. PRESENT As the border into Austria loses importance, the north

Tyroleans and the inhabitants of Val Venosta are also growing closer and closer, leading to more and more joint projects in the fields of tourism, industry and culture.


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RESIA 1 This small village is part of the municipality of Curon

and lies two kilometres south of the Austrian border. It is a young village, parts of which were first built in 1949 to replace the homes of farmers whose property was lost when the former village was flooded to create the reservoir known as the Resia lake. Visitors are faced with a magnificent view: south of the large lake – the largest in South Tyrol – the peaks of the Ortles massif, which are covered in ice even in summer, soar to an elevation of almost 4,000 metres above sea level. The water from the lake, which is just under eight kilometres long, is fed through a pressure tunnel until it reaches Sluderno, where it is used to drive the turbines of a power station. In summer, from

TOURIST OFFICE, RESIA PASS www.reschenpass.it/en 61, Hauptstraße, 39027 Curon - tel. 0473 633101

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MEIN DÖRFL 11, Altdorf, Resia, tel. 0473 633183, open daily.

In this small group of wooden chalets directly along the cycle path and bank, there is a terrace café and restaurant.

SHOPPING BÜNDNERFLEISCH, SAUSAGES AND SPECK Butcher Hermann Folie, 39, Hauptstraße, Resia, tel. 0473 633129. The close proximity to Switzerland and the Grisons can also be noticed in the food and drink served in this area, which forms the most western point of South Tyrol. Local butcher Hermann Folie, for example, is well

known in Resia for his home-made Speck, smoked Kaminwurzen (smoked, dry sausages) and excellent Bündnerfleisch (beef that has been cured and left to rest for at least 2–3 months), which alone makes it worth taking a trip to his butcher’s shop, and have a Jause, or typical Tyrolean snack, prepared for a picnic along the way.

FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

From Resia to Silandro


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the cable car station in the valley on the north-western shore of the lake, excursionists can reach the sun-drenched Alps of Belpiano, which in winter come alive with hoards of alpine ski enthusiasts.

THE ADIGE RIVER Resia is also the source of the Adige River, the second longest river of Italy, that crosses through the Alps in a southerly direction, enters the Po valley near Verona and then

empties into the Adriatic sea around Chioggia, after a stretch of 415 kilometres. The Adige continues northwards, flows into the Inn and finally empties into the Black sea.

THE CAMPANILE IN THE LAKE 2 The only thing rising above the water is now a campanile – a suggestive image captured in countless photos and postcards. The reason why the tower went “swimming” gives pause for thought: in 1949 the entire village of Curon Vecchia was sacrificed when the farmhouses and the church were blown up, with the exception of the campanile, to create a reservoir, flooding fertile meadows and fields. Water is accumulated in the lake in the summer months and then used to produce electricity in

winter, when there is a greater need for energy. In spring the water level sinks and the bare earth can be seen once more. The northern winds whirl up dust and dirt through the valley and the idyllic lake landscape is lost until high summer, when it shows its most beautiful side: the area is filled with sailing enthusiasts and surfers, while tourists walk and cycle along its shores. In the old city hall of Curon, a photo exhibition illustrates the story behind this artificial lake. Tel. 0473 633127.

FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

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SURFING AND SAILING In summer, the weather conditions are ideal for surfing and sailing on Resia Lake. The high wind which regularly blows through the valley and is normally so dreaded, warms the heart of all sports enthusiasts. In Curon and Resia there are many large landing stages. Kite surfing (paragliding with the surfer holding onto a tow rope) is particularly popular in Curon, where there is a dedicated area with a special landing stage and school. Info: www.adrenalinakitesurfclub.com

CURON 3 The small village of Curon (2,400 inhabitants) lies at

the gateway to the romantic, lateral Vallelunga valley. Like Resia, Curon was also rebuilt following the construction of the reservoir. Of the sunken village only the church campanile was spared: it rises admonishingly above the waters, providing a popular photo shot. The main parts of the old cemetery were moved, together with the mortal remains, to its new location above the road tunnel. Excursionists can take a trip across the lake in a boat that was brought here from the Bavarian lake Starnbergersee. SAN VALENTINO ALLA MUTA LAKE 4 This is one

of the largest natural lakes in South Tyrol and lies along our cycle path, just a short distance away from the Resia Lake and San Valentino. It is framed by the glaciated peaks of the Ortles mountain range and is known for its abundant fish population. In good weather, the lake is dotted with the colourful rowing boats of anglers. San Valentino is a picturesque village on the banks of the lake. An orbital cable car provides access to the skiing and hiking area of the Haider Alm, or Malga San Valentino, which is 2,150 metres above sea level.

EATING AND DRINKING RESTAURANT AND PIZZERIA CAFÉ ZUM SEE 26, Kirchgasse San Valentino alla Muta (Curon),

tel. 0473 634576, www.zumsee.it The restaurant is part of the nearby campsite and faces directly onto the cycle path.


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The section of the cycle path connecting this area and Burgusio follows the Adige River, which is still young and impetuous at this point, and you will need to use your brakes and watch out for agricultural vehicles or the few residents of the area who share our cycle path. In just a few kilometres we drop just over 200 metres in height! BURGUSIO 5 is a typical scattered village of Val Venosta, with crooked alleys, old yet well restored houses, and significant architectural details such as oriels, archways, frescoes and flights of steps. The traces left on the cobbled streets by the livestock kept here are obvious to the eye and also the nose. The beautiful fountain in the village square is overlooked by the statue of San Michele but for those not so keen on spring water, there are several other places to stop by. MONTE MARIA ABBEY 6 The counts of Tarasp built this Bene-

dictine abbey around the year 1200 on the cliff situated to the west of Burgusio. The mighty, bright white building shows outstanding unity and has impressive high faรงades with many windows, making it look more like a fortress than an abbey. The three-nave church is also worth a visit, with a round-arch portal and the Romanesque crypt featuring marvellous Byzantine-style frescoes portraying long-winged angels. For centuries Monte Maria was considered the cultural

FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

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and spiritual centre of the Upper Val Venosta and it was here that, in 1390, the monk Goswin wrote his chronicles, of important value for the history of Tyrol. Open from March to October, Mondays-Saturdays, 10am–5pm; closed on Sundays. The walk along the footpath from Burgusio takes 20 minutes. Tel. 0473 831306, www.marienberg.it

CASTEL PRINCIPE 7 This dark fortification near Burgusio lies

along the old country road near to our cycle path. During the religious turmoil of the sixteenth century the bishops of Chur lived here to protect themselves from the reformist supporters of Calvin and Zwingli. FĂźrstenburg now houses the regional technical college for agriculture. Guided tours are available in July and August, at 4pm on Mondays and at 10pm on Thursdays (except on August 11 and 14), tel. 0473 831190 (Information office of the Upper Val Venosta).

Sights along the route From Burgusio, our route, which follows the course of the Adige River, leads into the small town of Clusio, which is worthy of a visit. The main route then continues towards Laudes, the walled medieval village of Glorenza, Sluderno, as far as the hamlet of Spondigna, with its pond, lawn, and small restaurant. A stretch of dirt track then takes you through carrot, leek, cauliflower and white cabbage fields as far as Lasa, the marble town. Possible detours: on the left side of the valley is the town of Eyrs, on the right, Cengles.


MALLES 8 This village (5,100 inhabitants) lies at the foot of the alluvial cone known as the Malser Haide, and the mountainside, which acts as a protective barrier. The Val Venosta railway that embarks on its journey in Merano ends in this picturesque village, with its beautiful old houses and churches and the 33 metre-high round tower of the twelfth-century Fröhlichsburg castle, now the symbol of Malles. The business and school complex of the Upper Val Venosta also has its head offices here. CHURCH OF SAN BENEDETTO On the northern edge of the village stands the church of San Benedetto, a true gem dating back to the Carolingian period, with frescoes and portraits of its founder, which are among the oldest mural paintings in the German-speaking world. 1, St. Benediktstraße.

TOURIST OFFICE UPPER VAL VENOSTA www.altavenosta-vacanze.it 1, Benediktstraße, 39024 Malles - tel. 0473 831190


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FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

EATING AND DRINKING ZUM MOHREN & PLAVINA 81, Burgeis, Malles, tel. 0473 830406, open all year round, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, www.mohren-plavina.com A well-established example of hospitality in Val Venosta.

GASTHOF ZUM GOLDENEN ADLER 46, Schleis, tel. 0473 831139, closed Thursdays, www.zum-goldnen-adler.com This inn has old and new Stuben, a good cuisine and an excellent wine list.

GASTHOF GERDA 65, Burgeis, Malles, tel. 0473 831425, closed Mondays, www.gerda-burgeis.it This pleasant inn located in the centre of Burgusio is well-known for its cuisine.

PASTA & STEAKHOUSE 25, district of Laudes tel. 328 293444, www.crazypublaatsch.com A good place for quick dishes, directly on the cycle path, on the corner between the main road and the bridge. With terrace and garden.

SCHLOSSBAR 183, Burgeis, Malles, tel. 0473 831559, closed Tuesdays. Good pasta dishes, one-course meals and snacks.

SHOPPING PALABIRNBROT Bakery Schuster, 139, Laatsch, Malles, tel. 0473 831340 The Palabirne is a pear variety grown in Val Venosta and is similar in shape to the Williams pear, yet with a more intense aroma. These old, knotty pear trees can be found standing next to any farmhouse in the area and even bakers and distillers appreciate these pears for their taste.

To make the Palabirnbrot (rye bread with pears), the juicy fruits are cut into slices and left to dry, and then added to the dough. For its delicious Palabirnbrot, the Schuster bakery was awarded the gold label by the South Tyrol quality control consortium. CHEESE Englhorn dairy. 8, Schleis, Malles, tel. 0473 831664, www.englhorn.com Outstanding cheeses made from unpasteurised milk can be purchased in the spotlessly clean sales outlet of the Englhorn K채serei (dairy).


THE VAL VENOSTA RAILWAY Opened ceremoniously in 1906, shut down in 1991 and fully renovated since 2005 – a model of success: the Merano–Malles railway can look back on an eventful history. A trip through the varied landscape of Val Venosta on the highly modern little train is an experience itself! It stops at eighteen stations along the way – some partly renovated, some newly built, which means the valley can be easily explored by train. At some stations it is possible to hire bikes. www.vinschgerbahn.it/en

THE MALSER HAIDE ALLUVIAL CONE The Malser Haide is a par-

ticular landscape on an immense alluvial cone formed during and after the Ice Age. It is used mainly as a pasture land, with apple trees flourishing only on its southern-most foothills. THE POOR HOUSE OF TYROL Before tourism and fruit-growing co-operatives opened up new sources of income for the inhabitants of the valley, the Val Venosta was perhaps the poorest area in Tyrol. Its inhabitants were so bitterly poor in the last centuries that many were forced either to beg for a living or roam through the countryside to find casual labour wherever they could. As they took all their belongings with them in carts

EVENTS , 2nd Saturday in October: Romanesque festival, Val Venosta In Malles and the surrounding area, numerous Romanesque sites are open to visitors free of charge. Tel. 0473 620480, www.venosta.net/en


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or Karren, they were scornfully referred to as Karrner. Even in the nineteenth century, many minors had to migrate to South Germany as cheap labourers, known as Schwabenkinder (Swabian children).

Sights along the route In the 1930s, before his pact with Nazi Germany, Italy’s Fascist ruler Mussolini considered his enemies to be in the north and between 1936 and 1942 he fortified the border as a defence line in the case of invasion. Some of the easy-to-spot bunkers around the countryside, such as those on the north-western edge of the village of Malles, are open to visitors. One bunker was used as an ageing room for whisky. Our cycle path takes us through the small village of Laudes from where it is also possible to make a detour into Val Monastero. The two-storey church of San Leonardo is interesting: one of the lanes of the narrow village road leads to a tunnel which passes beneath this Gothic church with a precious fifteenth-century winged altar and Gothic frescoes on both the outside and inside. GLORENZA 9 This small town with just under 800 inhabitants

is an architectonic gem and the only town in Tyrol with fully intact city walls. The three quadrangular towered gateways,


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the semicircular defensive towers, the arrow slits and machicolations underline the defensive architecture of this town, which was founded by Meinhard II of Tyrol in an attempt to strengthen his position against the Swiss bishops of Chur. There are also two beautiful porticoed streets that were made to create an urban feel but are so low that you need to duck your head! The most important buildings have information boards explaining their former functions. A guided tour to the town includes visits to Gothic reticulated vaults, courtyards with arcades, frescoes, coat of arms as well as charming door and window stone cornices. A walk along the recently renovated path around the northern wall circuit and a visit to the small museum which tells the town’s history and collects the works of the local painter Paul Flora are also worthwhile.

EATING AND DRINKING GASTHOF ZUR POST 15, Florastraße, Glorenza, tel. 0473 831208, www.hotelpostglorenza.com This hotel is rather plain on the outside but inside it has the charm you might expect of one of the oldest inns in the region, which has survived over the centuries and offers fine cuisine and modern comfort. Garden with a children’s play park. WHISKY DISTILLERY 10, Punistraße, Glorenza, tel. 0473 835500, www.puni.com The first whisky distillery of Italy is located just outside Glorenza’s medieval city walls.

The modern building reflects the common practice of using traditional working methods. It is named after the nearby Puni River, which has its source in the Alps above the Ötztal valley, at an elevation of 3,391 metres, and flows through the Planol valley until it reaches Val Venosta. KIOSK AM TAUFERER STADTTOR Directly on the cycle path, on the doorstep of Glorenza and near the river Adige, with tables, benches, and parasols. It serves hot and cold dishes, ice creams, and drinks.

EVENTS , Mid September: Palabirn-days. In Glorenza and the surrounding area, all eyes are set on the Palabirn, served in various recipes. Visit the farmers’ market. Tel. 0473 831288, www.glurns.eu

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Sights along the route Although our cycle path officially runs along the Adige River, it is worth making a detour to Sluderno, above all for its romantic castle, the well-preserved Churburg or Castel Coira, as well as a visit to this romantic little village itself. SLUDERNO 10 This typical village has just 1,800 inhabitants and

stands at an elevation of 919 metres in the easternmost side of the valley. Sluderno charms tourists with its winding alleyways and beautiful old buildings, including the parish church of Santa Caterina with its tall, slim campanile: a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture in Val Venosta. The church had to give way to a new Gothic building at the end of the fifteenth century. On the inside it has an ornately reticulated vault, a Baroque altar and numerous coats of arms, carved in stone, of the counts of Trapp, from the nearby Castel Coira.

EATING AND DRINKING HOTEL ALTE MĂœHLE 24, Matscher Winkel, Sluderno, tel. 0473 615238, closed Wednesdays, www.hotel-alte-muehle.com

A traditional establishment in the centre of the village, with a successfully integrated modern extension to this solid old inn, with a restaurant, pizzeria, and a beautiful terrace.


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soars high above Sluderno. For a long time it was used by the Habsburgs as a fortress against the powerful, belligerent Swiss armies. Through marriage, around 1500 the castle became the property of the counts of Trapp, who converted it from a fortress into this elegant palace which is still their residence to this day. The exuberant arcades, the castle chapel and the world-famous armour collection are worth seeing. Sluderno, mid March–October, Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–noon, 2–4.30 pm, tel. 0473 615241, www.churburg.com

EVENTS , End of August: Südtiroler Ritterspiele. Against the setting of Castel Coira, knights, jugglers, and minstrels bring the Middle Ages back to life. Tel. 0473 831190, www.ritterspiele.it (in Italian and German only)

ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF GANGLEGG There is a prominent hillock above Sluderno, with the remains of a fortified settlement dating back to the Bronze and Iron age that controlled the entire area of the Upper Val Venosta. Excavations revealed the huge 2.5-metre thick remains of a fortification, the foundations of Rhaetian buildings as well as a site used for burnt offerings. Admission is free to this park, which takes about 45 minutes to visit, with numerous information boards. The Val Venosta museum also organises guided tours around the park, tel. 0473 615590

FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

CASTEL COIRA 11 The mighty crenellated Castel Coira complex


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VAL VENOSTA MUSEUM This museum is housed in a renovated sixteenth-century building and is dedicated to life in the valley, with exhibitions that illustrate the centuries-old history of the territory, including the following topics: Val Venosta in Ancient Times, The Archaeology of a Valley and Wasserwosser (The “Waale” irrigation system in the Val Venosta). Trips to the nearby prehistoric settlement of Ganglegg and the discovery trail along the Quair-Waal irrigation channel are also offered. 1, Meranerstraße, Sluderno, tel. 0473 615590, mid March–October, Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–noon, 3–6pm, www.vintschgermuseum.com (in Italian and German only)

THE HAFLINGER HORSES Did you know that these blondhaired, good-natured Haflinger horses don’t come from Hafling after all but originated in Val Venosta?

In 1874 a foal named Folie was born from a Galician mare and an Arabian stallion, presumably giving rise to the Haflinger breed.

Sights along the route Our cycle path now takes us to Spondigna, a wetland with two beautiful pools, meadows, picnic areas, and a garden café – the Fischerstube – a perfect spot for a break. This really stunning area is kept in perfect condition by the Prato in Venosta sport fishing association.


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PRATO 12 This bustling village (3,350

inhabitants) in the lush green valley at the edge of the Stelvio national park still has a fine historical centre, where alleyways, shops, cafés, and restaurants entice visitors to stop and linger. Its full name, Prato allo Stelvio, describes the position of this extension of fertile land (from the Latin prato or lawn) at the foot of the Stelvio mountain and expresses the importance of this pass road. On the southern edge of the village there is a small Kneipp area, where the health-conscious can “tread water” in a specially created facility along the stream, at the edge of the forest between Cengles and Prato (free admission, with small pools and picnic tables). The famous method was named after the priest Sebastian Kneipp, who founded this tried and tested and above all inexpensive treatment curing circulation problems, weariness, metabolism disorders and the tired limbs of cyclists. How to get there: 1 km detour, first take Via Nittweg, then the Feldweg road, above the Sägemühle campsite. After Prato, our cycle path takes us through cultivated fields where crops such as carrots, leeks, and especially cauliflower and white cabbage thrive. The road to Lasa is swift and flat.

TOURIST OFFICE, PRATO ALLO STELVIO www.prad.info/en 4c, Kreuzweg, 39026 Prato allo Stelvio - tel. 0473 616034

EATING AND DRINKING FISCHERSTUBE 39, Kiefernhainweg, Prato allo Stelvio, (at km 30.9 along our cycle path). Tel. 346 3999629, open daily, www.fischerteich.com This restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating with a garden and large terrace, an ideal stopover for cyclists, hearty grilled meals, appetizers, and simple snacks.

CAFÉ PLATZL 25, Mühlbachgase, Prato allo Stelvio, tel. 334 5948859, Opens at 1pm on Wednesdays, www.johann.it Bar, confectioners and ice cream parlour in the town square, near the Mühlbach River.


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THE STELVIO PASS The panoramic road leading up to the pass is

still one of the most impressive mountain roads in the entire Alpine region. It was built in 1822 in order to create a strategically shorter connection between Lombardy and Tyrol, which at that time were both under Austrian rule, and was even kept open in winter! On the part of the road in South Tyrol there is a difference in height of 1,870 metres reached with 48 hairpin bends. The area south of the pass embraces the Stelvio national park, which covers 952 km2 and was created in 1935. It is home to numerous deer, chamois, steinbocks, and marmots, as well as the occasional golden eagle CASTEL MONTECHIARO Not far away, in the north-west, lies the district of Castel Montechiaro, at the foot of the huge ruins of the thirteenth-century castle after which it was named and which was built as a fortress against the belligerent Swiss confederates. Only a few remains of the original decoration bear witness to its past glory: the most beautiful frescoes, in fact, were removed around 100 years ago and transferred to a museum in Innsbruck to save them from complete ruin. NATUREPARKHAUS AQUAPRAD This indoor nature park with its fourteen aquariums has developed into a first-class attraction. It gives a clear presentation of life in the secret waters of the Stelvio natural park, as well as other particular characteristics of the landscape. Open all year round, closed Mondays, tel. 0473 618212 www.stelviopark.bz.it


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marble is to be found in every nook and cranny – from the street pavement to the grave stones in the cemetery and the Romanesque apsis of the parish church. There are several stone quarries, high up the mountain and at the edge of the forest, where blocks of marble are extracted both on the surface and underground. They are then transported by lorry and then by an electric narrow gauge railway to the inclined plane, the summit station of a sloping cable winch: this then takes them down the Monte Tramontana mountain to the valley below, where they are transported to the processing sites by an electric locomotive. In earlier times the marble from Lasa was valued above all by artists but it is now used predominantly in the building trade or to produce tiles or granulated material. There is a training centre in the village for stonemasons and sculptors.

EATING AND DRINKING GASTHAUS ZUR KRONE 10, Hauptplatz, Lasa, tel. 0473 626533, closed Mondays, www.krone-laas.it Lovely village inn and a popular haunt of the locals: outdoor seating is provided in the village square in summer and indoor in winter, around the characteristic stoves or Stube. Good cakes and small meals.

CAFÉ GRETA 65, Vinschgauer Straße 39023 Lasa, tel. 0473 628080 On the cycle path and on the bridge over the Adige, near the town centre. This bar-pasticceria has a large covered terrace.

FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

LASA, THE MARBLE VILLAGE 13 In this village (3,950 inhabitants)


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FROM RESIA TO SILANDRO

EVENTS , First weekend in August: Marble and Marille. In the centre of Lasa, white marble and Marille (apricots) steal the show at this large village festival.

Sights along the route Our cycle path takes us out of Lasa, along the Adige River. After the weir, the path is immersed in the wood and follows along a gorge for several kilometres, with picnic rest areas, barbecue facilities, and springs. Beyond the slope the river gurgles cheerfully over large rocks in this part of the cycle path, which is one of the most beautiful. This stretch goes through the Stelvio National Park, marked by information charts. In Brugg, an old stone pillar marks what was once the site of an old overpass. We will soon reach Covelano and Silandro, the most important town in the Venosta Valley and one of the stops along the first stage of our route.

WAALWEGE IRRIGATION CHANNELS The landscape in Val Venosta is unique and comprises, in a narrow space, ice-capped mountain peaks next to vineyards in the valleys below, which are protected from bad weather fronts by the surrounding massifs. Due to the shortage of rain, water for agricultural purposes was led to the fields over long distances via a system of channels, referred to here as Waale. The level paths along these centuries-old irrigation channels that wind their way along the foot of the mountains and were originally built for maintenance purposes are now easy and charming footpaths.


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Silandro Silandro (5,950 inhabitants) is the most important town in the valley with schools, a hospital, and the head offices of a series of authorities. It lies in the centre of Val Venosta at the foot of a slope at an elevation of 738 metres. At this height vineyards are still cultivated and sweet chestnut grow in the nearby forests. The municipality of Silandro comprises the idyllic towns of Corces, Covelano, Vezzano, and Monte Tramontana, which are spread out between the bottom of the valley and on the hills within a radius of just a few kilometres. On the steep slope on Monte di Mezzodì, the little church of Sant’Egidio stands on the Schatzknott rock (so called because it is said that it covers a hidden treasure). Silandro is set amidst the most beautiful orchards of the Val Venosta, where the pale pink blossom in spring turns the entire area into a fairy-tale setting. On the mountain slopes, there is a fascinating contrast of nature: from the dark woodland and lush meadows on Monte Tramontana to the barren Monte di Mezzodì slopes on the opposite side, at the foot of which there are vineyards and chestnut groves. The slim campanile of the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta stands 97 metres tall, the landmark of this community and the highest in the whole of Tyrol. On the inside it is colourfully decorated in the Baroque style with ceiling frescoes by Joseph Adam Mölk. The church and the


Restaurants 1 Goldene Rose

Reschen/Resia

Silandro

Hotels 2 Pensione Schweitzer 3 Hotel Schwarzer Widder 4 Hotel Maria Theresia

2

1 3

4

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cemetery, situated on a slight hillside, give an impressive picture of unity. There are some fine gravestones and carved coats of arms of the noble families which contributed hugely to shaping the local political life, including the Hendl, Schlandersberg and Montani families. The pedestrian zone in the centre of Silandro gives it an urban feel and is pleasant to walk through. The village is dominated by a series of aristocratic residences, in one of which – the Freienturm building in Piazza Plavenn – is now the town hall. On the northern boundary, at the foot of Monte di Mezzodì, the fine sixteenth-century Renaissance Schlandersburg castle now houses the library and other public offices (open to visitors by request).

EATING AND DRINKING FISCHTEICH BRUGG 10, Brugg, in the district of Corces, 39028 Silandro, tel. 347 507 38 70, www.radtreff-brugg.com Between Lasa and Silandro, this is the ideal place for a rest, next to a pond and right on the cycle path through the Venosta Valley. Excellent home cooking.

1 HOTEL GOLDENE ROSE 73, Fußgängerzone, Silandro, tel. 0473 730218, open daily, www.hotel-goldenerose.it This centrally located hotel can look back on a long interesting history and includes a restaurant, garden, street café, modern rooms, and a sauna complex.

SILANDRO

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0

Lasa Laas

N

5 km

5

e dig eA m u Fi

2

1

3

Laces Latsch

4

Castelbello-Ciardes Coldrano Kastelbell-Tschars Goldrain

Mastaunspitze

Silandro Schlanders

Hochalt

7 6

Naturno Naturns

Gfallwand

Texelspitze

Plaus

RablĂ Rabland

8

9 10

Vigiljoch

Lana

Cermes Tscherms

Pass irio

Scena Schenna

Tor ren te

Gargazzone Gargazon

Postal Burgstall

Sinigo Sinich

Merano Meran

Tirolo Tirol Lagundo 9 Algund

Marlengo Marling

Spronser RĂśtelspitze

Parcines Partschins

Lodner

Fiume A dige


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From Silandro to Merano drano, a magnificent example of courtly Renaissance architecture, with its characteristic round, pointed corner towers, stands on a slope in a picturesque location on the left side of Val Venosta. Formerly the residence of Count Hendl, it is now publicly owned and an educational institution. Entrance to the inner courtyard is free of charge. KRÄUTERSCHLÖSSL HERB FARM The outer wall of this crenellated building is bright sunny yellow and can be seen even at a distance from our cycle path in Coldrano. The herbs offered by this family-run farm are cultivated using controlled organic guidelines. The herb meadow, the clean processing, drying and storage rooms, the farm outlet and the show garden with herbs for all the senses are open to visitors. A love garden was also recently opened. 50, Schanzenstraße, Coldrano, tel. 0473 742367, www.kraeuterschloessl.it

Close to Morter, a small village on the right side of the valley, the Val Martello bends southwards, towards the Ortles-Cevedale mountain range. For a long time this was where the sphere of influence of the prince-bishops of Chur and the counts of Tyrol ended. The castle ruins of Montani di Sotto and Montani di Sopra, which stand sentinel over the gateway into Val Martello, were built by the counts of Tyrol at the beginning of the thirteenth century to defend their territory. Montani di Sopra is where the original manuscript of The Song of the Nibelungs from 1323 was found, and is now preserved as Codex I in the Berlin state library. Below the castle, the interior of the church of Santo Stefano is completely covered with Gothic frescoes among the most important in the entire region. CASTEL MONTANI DI SOTTO AND MONTANI DI SOPRA 2

Visitors should register first with the tourist office, tel. 0473 623109

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FROM SILANDRO TO MERANO

CASTEL COLDRANO 1 The symmetrical castle complex of Col-


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QUELLENSEE LAKE IN COLDRANO Quellensee Lake has something

for everyone: peacefulness, nature, water, and a great lawn for sunbathing. This beautiful pool is set amidst large meadows adjacent to fruit orchards on the banks of the Adige River, it is easy to reach and also free of charge. The lakeside bar on the northern shore serves grilled foods, fresh spring water, snacks, pasta dishes, and also cakes. LACES 4 Our cycle path takes us through the small town of

Laces (5,170 inhabitants), away from the long-distance traffic which follows the by-pass on the northernmost side of the valley. In the heart of this lively town the large community centre (Gemeindezentrum) undoubtedly stands out from the rest due to its concrete grey colour and shape. There are many old, fine buildings in the village such as the Baroque Mühlrain residence, known as the “red castle” by the locals, the twelfth-century church of San Nicolò and the large old parish church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, with its fine marble portal. Once through the village of Laces, we then cycle past the station of a cable car, which reaches the small hamlet of San Martino al Monte, located at an elevation of 1,740 metres on the extremely steep, sun-drenched Monte di Mezzodì slopes overlooking the valley. A superb view is guaranteed.

TOURIST OFFICE LACES www.laces-martello.com 38/A, Hauptstraße, 39021 Laces - tel. 0473 623109


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CHURCH OF SANTO SPIRITO The highlight of our cultural stroll

through Laces, however, is the former hospital church, in the southernmost tip of the village. It boasts a large precious Gothic altar – the most famous work of Swabian sculptor Jörg Lederer, and dates back to 1524. The triptych (depicting a mercy seat in the centre with St. John the Baptist and St. Wolfgang at the side) is guarded on either side by St. George and St. Florian. Open from April 12 to November 1, Mondays–Saturdays 9am–5pm

CABLE CAR TO SAN MARTINO AL MONTE

Fancy a speedy ride up to an altitude of 1,740 m? The cable car covers a height of about 1,000 in just a few minutes, and from up high you can enjoy a magnificent panorama. At the top you can find a coffee shop and visit an old pilgrim church. Departures every hour. Tel. 0473 622 212 www.latsch-martell.it

EATING AND DRINKING LACES BIERKELLER BREWERY 2, Valtneidweg, Laces, tel. 0473 623208, closed Mondays, www.bierkeller-latsch.com This popular country pub was opened 150 years ago in a shady little wood off a Waalweg (a path alongside an irrigation channel). The beer was kept cool in a cellar carved out of the rock, giving the name to this pub, where beer is now served on draught.

HOT FOOD GOLDRAINER SEE Tel. 334 8067777, www.goldrainersee.com On the cycle path, between the lake of Coldrano and the Adige River, after the sports field. It has a terrace and an indoor dining room, where you can have grilled meat, pasta or fish soup (on Fridays). Free Wi-Fi. HOT FOOD SEILBAHN ST. MARTIN 47, Seilbahnweg, Laces, tel. 366 4734182 Serves hot food on the cycle path, at the town exit, near the cable car to San Martino al Monte. Has a large terrace.


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FROM SILANDRO TO MERANO

Sights along the route Our itinerary takes us past the bridge of the Adige River once again and through the fruit orchards towards Castelbello, passing through a bottleneck and particularly impressive road section known as the Latschander, which was also the site of a tragic train accident in 2010. Due to the defective water pipe of an irrigation system, the soil had become soaked and a mudslide derailed the passing-by Vinschgerbahn train, causing it to fall down the hillside and the death of nine people. CASTELBELLO-CIARDES 5 (2,380 inhabitants) lies 600 metres

above sea level in the lower Val Venosta, just 20 kilometres from Merano. The landscape, as everywhere in this valley, is full of contrasting and charming sights: from lovely vineyards to the high Alps with crosses on the summits, and mountain lakes. The Mediterranean climate creates ideal growing conditions for grapes – for top-quality wines – and also apples, apricots (known here as Marille)) and sweet chestnuts or Köschten, widely known elsewhere in Italy as marroni. marroni. The famous asparagus of Val Venosta is grown in the sandy soil near to the Adige River. CASTELBELLO The castle, which gave the village its name, is perched on a rock and keeps watch over the through-road. It was built in the thirteenth century and became the property of the counts of Hendl around 1500. It was elaborately renovated and is now publicly owned and used for cultural events.

EATING AND DRINKING HOTEL BAUHOF 1, Mareinerstraße, Castelbello, tel. 0473 624145, closed Tuesdays, www.hotel-bauhof.com Directly on our cycle path, offering the comfort and charm of a very old, renovated farmhouse, with a restaurant, terrace café, outdoor pool, and good assortment of wines.

KUPPELRAIN 16, Bahnhofstraße, Castelbello, closed Sundays and Mondays until 5pm, tel. 0473 624103 Top location with Michelin star rating! Seasonal specialities, home-made pasta, game, asparagus and fish, lovingly prepared menus offering a variety of foods, accompanied by the perfect wine.


SHOPPING KĂ–FELGUT WINES AND SPIRITS 12, Im Winkel, Castelbello-Ciardes, tel. 0473 624142, www.fws.it

Landowner Hubert Pohl produces the finest wines, as well as spirits in the distillery on the estate and home-grown fruit.

NATURNO 6 (5,630 inhabitants) already lies in a decisively more

southern direction, towards Merano. The economy and tourism in the area around Merano are quite evident in this part of the lower Val Venosta. The industrial estates here remind us that other sources of income exist and are necessary beside tourism and fruit-growing. The streets are now less packed thanks to a by-pass tunnel, making it a pretty town for a leisurely stroll. CASTEL JUVAL 7 The castle is perched on a cliff at the en-

trance to Val Senales, with superb views all around. After an eventful history and a frequent change of ownership this castle was purchased and renovated from top to bottom by mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner. The castle museum is

TOURIST OFFICE, NATURNO www.naturns.it/en/ 1, RathausstraĂ&#x;e, 39025 Naturno - tel. 0473 666077


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open to visitors and includes a gallery of mountain views and also an extensive collection of masks, Tibetan sculptures and objects. It can be reached by a shuttle bus which departs from the entrance into Val Senales. In the nearby Schlosswirt inn there is also a unique gallery with thirty-two images of the Tibetan Yao Gods parliament. MMM Castel Juval, Castelbello-Ciardes, tel. 348 4433871 or 0471 631264, Tuesdays–Thursdays 10am–4pm, closed Wednesdays, www.messner-mountain-museum.it

SAN PROCOLO CHURCH AND MUSEUM In addition to this highly

interesting church, art enthusiasts will also appreciate the opposite-facing, underground Procolo museum. It is advisable to visit the museum first and then take a guided tour of the church to see the frescoes, which are amongst the oldest works of art in northern Europe and date back to the seventh century, like the church itself, which was built in memory of Saint Procolus. The symbolic painting depicting his flight over the city walls of Verona is very well-known. Church opening times: beginning of April–beginning of November. Closed Mondays, guided tours at 10am and 3pm, tel. 0473 667312 or 348 9203829, www.naturns.it/en The museum is open from the beginning of April to the beginning of November. Closed Mondays, guided tours by registration, tel. 0473 673139


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SCHWARZER ADLER 45, Hauptstraße, Naturno, tel. 0473 668288, closed Fridays A traditional inn along the main road, on the corner overlooking the square, serving quick, simple dishes including pasta and grilled meals. CAFÉ EISDIELE BRUNO 1, Rathausstraße, Naturno, tel. 339 6911811 Ice-cream parlour: the perfect place to cool down! In the centre, close to the tourist information office.

RADBAR www.radbar.it This bar is situated between the hamlet of Stava and Naturno, on the cycle path and near the Schnalsthal adventure train station. The bar offers passing cyclists snacks, hot and cold food, aperitifs, and fruit juices. Playground and tables outdoors.

SHOPPING VINSCHGER BAUERNLADEN 78, Hauptstraße, Naturno, tel. 0473 667723, www.bauernladen.it The co-operative formed by dedicated local farmers sells fresh, natural foods at this country shop, including wine, spirits, Speck,

various types of sausage and cold meats, dairy products, bread, fruit juices, jams and marmalades, herbal teas, honey, vinegar, apples, dried fruit, vegetables, natural cosmetics, hand-crafts, and many more.

FROM SILANDRO TO MERANO

EATING AND DRINKING


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EVENTS , July, Wednesday evenings: The night of lights. Street festival with gourmet food, shopping and music in the moonlight. , mid August: Naturns lacht! For two weeks, laughter is assured at the international summer humour festival on the open-air stage at the town hall, with cabaret and satire. Tel. 0473 666077, www.naturns.it

NATURNO OPEN-AIR POOL If you are a water lover, you can’t miss out on this unique water park (with outdoor and indoor pools). The facilities and options of this water adventure-park leave nothing to be desired, with water chutes, Jacuzzis, fountains, a jet stream channel, climbing wall with water fall, massage beds, and sauna complex. 5, Feldgasse, tel. 0473 668036, www.naturns.it/en/adventure-pool

TEXEL MOUNTAIN RANGE NATURAL PARK This natural park is located half-way down Via dei Campi, or Feldgasse. Information is provided about the Texel mountain range behind Naturno, with peaks reaching over 3,000 metres, also with the aid of miniatures, such as replicas of spring biotopes, and a geological profile. Admission free!


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CASTEL TARANTO Our cycle path now takes us along the banks

of the Adige River and through fruit orchards until we can see, on our right side, Schloss Tarantsberg, or Dornsberg, at the foot of the densely wooded Monte Tramontana in the south-west of Plaus. This well preserved fortified castle (built in 1217) is privately owned and is not open to visitors.

inhabitants) lies in the centre of the valley, along the banks of the Adige River, surrounded by fruit orchards; it was founded on the marshland (in Latin palus)) around the Adige, which has since dried up and given the name to this attractive village. The eleven scenes depicting the Totentanz (or Dance of Death) Death) along the cemetery wall are by the contemporary artist from Val Venosta, Luis Stefan Stecher. Observers are mercilessly faced with the inscription “Oh how we would like to dance, if only the dancers were a little less wretched”. The artist included elements of rural mentality, the history of Val Venosta, and the lust for life of its people. The old village fountain beneath the oak tree opposite the church is also worth a mention – this tree has incidentally been designated a natural monument.

EATING AND DRINKING DORF CAFÉ 2, Dorfstraße, Plaus, tel. 0473 661020, closed Tuesdays Centrally located in the village square near the town hall, the church and the Totentanz fresco, with outdoor seating.

SPORTBAR 1, Etschdamm, Plaus, tel. 3450700719, closed Wednesdays This is the bar of the Plaus sports field, right on the cycle path.

FROM SILANDRO TO MERANO

PLAUS 8 This small village (520 metres above sea level, 680


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PARCINES 9 Slightly above the bottom of the valley in a some-

what secluded position lies the village of Parcines (642 metres above sea level, 3,580 inhabitants). It is surrounded by fruit orchards and overlooked by the mighty Tessa mountain range. The fine old buildings and quaint narrow streets give this historic village a unique charm and the view of the nearby, wide valley basin of Merano, a little further downhill, is stunning. From 1 km along the state road, the cycle path starts to climb, with parts in which it may be necessary to push.

EATING AND DRINKING ONKEL TAA 17, BahnhofstraĂ&#x;e, Parcines, tel. 0473 967342, closed on Sunday afternoons and Mondays, www.onkeltaa.com In a small area of woodland in Telles, the Onkel Taa restaurant houses the

Austrian-Hungarian Empire museum, which tells the history of the local people and houses antique rural artefacts and tools, and furnishings which belonged to Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Empress Sissi.


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Sights along the route Before we reach the weir in Tel, the cycle path moves away from the Adige River and joins the state road. A bridge was built to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross over this very busy road and should be taken as an example. The crossing is so smooth that it is easy to forget to cycle just a few metres further to take a look over the dam wall to see the Adige plunge thunderously into a narrow gorge, generating foam and spray as it falls. It then continues on the last part of its journey between Tel and Lagundo, which involves a drop in height of around 150 metres. Consequently, the cycle path from Tel is also a pleasant downhill ride. MARIA STEINACH CLOISTER 10 Adelheid von Tirol, the daughter of Count Albert of Tyrol, founded this cloister way back in 1241: according to legend, two doves showed her the place where she should have built the convent. The cloister church is open to visitors daily 7am–7pm. 18, SteinachstraĂ&#x;e, tel. 0473 448655


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F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o

FROM SILANDRO TO MERANO

EATING AND DRINKING SENNEREIGENOSSENSCHAFT 29, Mitterplarsstraße, Lagundo, tel. 0473 448710 This small dairy cooperative in Lagundo offers an inviting range of top-quality dairy products, with excellent fresh milk, butter, and fresh Vellauer cheese. Fresh milk and buttermilk can be purchased daily at the outlet. ZUR BLAUEN TRAUBE 44, Alte Landstraße, Lagundo, tel. 0473 447103, closed from the beginning of January to mid February, closed Tuesdays, www.blauetraube.it

This typical country inn is located in the village centre, along the old country road which leads from Merano into Val Venosta. BRAUGARTEN FORST 9, Vinschgauerstraße, Lagundo, tel. 0473 447727, Closed Wednesdays, www.braugartenforst.com At the Forst brewery in Lagundo, one of the largest in Italy, in addition to the cosy restaurant with large garden, there is a bar where various types of beer are served on draught.


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The Merano region The natural beauty of this territory has captivated people since time immemorial: the entire valley is resplendent with its lush green vegetation against the spectacular backdrop of the mountains and hills and the city of Merano sprawls out across the valley. Dark cedars and cypresses are evidence of the old parks in the city and the terraced slopes around the city are dotted with villages, hamlets, farms, churches, and cultivated fields. At the bottom of the valley, the Adige River glistens in the sun as it continues on its way past the sharp rock of the Macaion mountain, before bending south in Bolzano and disappearing behind the Monte di Mezzo mountain. According to records, the area has been relatively densely populated since time immemorial, thanks to the fact that it is protected against the cold north by high, steep mountains and open to the sun, light, and warmth of the south. A FEW HISTORICAL NOTES The Roman military route, Via Clau-

dia Augusta, ran through the Adige valley. There was probably a stronghold, referred to as Maia, in the area where Merano stands today. In the Middle Ages the area was known as Burggrafenamt, in reference to the fact that it was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol (burgraves, or Burggrafen in German) who ruled from their nearby castle. Merano was the capital of


THE MERANO REGION

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the county of Tyrol for around a century, until 1353 – probably the heyday of the city. The last ruler, Princess Margarethe, remained childless and bequeathed the land “along the Adige River and the mountains” to the Habsburg ruler, Rudolf IV. Innsbruck thus became the capital, the Mint was transferred to Hall in North Tyrol, and Merano began its decline to become a sleepy provincial town. It was not until 500 years later that Merano changed from its status as Kuhstadt to a Kurstadt (literally, from a “cow town to a spa town”), becoming the uncrowned capital of tourism at European level. In 1870, the much loved Empress Sissi came to Merano for the first time for spa treatment, after which there was no stopping in the rise of the city to a world-famous attraction. It should not be forgotten that South Tyrol and Merano lay on the southern border of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire at that time. It had the most favourable climate, German was still spoken in this multi-ethnic state, and it could be reached by train without having to cross any border controls. Spa guests were most numerous in the winter time due to the favourable climate on the southern side of the Alps. When World War I broke out in 1914, development in the tourist trade came to an abrupt halt and following the annexation of South Tyrol by Italy, guests from the north stayed away. The Italians – who had an abundance of sunshine, warmth and


53

Mediterranean vegetation – did not find anything worth visiting in Merano and a new boost in tourism was not apparent until after World War II; as a military hospital base, it had hardly suffered any war damage. Today, the Città del Passirio as it is often referred to after the Passirio River which flows through the city, has re-discovered its appeal as a spa resort with a healthy climate. The city is trying to break away from its image as a spa town for the elderly and come across as a city of Mediterranean flair, chic fashion, sophisticated cuisine, and fine wines, as well as a variety of sports options and a wide range of cultural events, to appeal to an elegant, younger target of visitors and have its say in European city tourism. It seems to be working! ITALIANISATION POLICY Between the two World Wars, the Fascists created a chemical factory out of thin air in Sinigo, a southern suburb of Merano, and a residential area for the newly arrived workers from around Italy and their families. The results left by this attempt at Italianisation were the contaminated

sites of the abandoned plant premises, the large companies in distress, and the social and ethnical tensions between the German and Italian inhabitants of Merano, who no longer allowed any clear political majority in local politics.

THE MERANO REGION

F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o


nn re

de er

Pf

4

16

z

at pl

6

15

2

10

7 12

5 13 11

Restaurants Bistro Sieben Gelateria Bruno Forsterbräu Kallmünz Ristorante Relax

Museums Women’s Museum Jewish Museum Prince’s Castle Gardens of Trauttsmanndorf Castle

Hotels 15 Albergo alla Torre 16 Hotel Westend

10 11 12 13 14

5 6 7 8

2 3 4

1

Monuments and historical sites Kurhaus along the Kurpromenade Church of Maria del Conforto Cathedral Racecourse

Tourist office

Merano

8

54 F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o


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Merano Merano (324 metres above sea level, 38,300 inhabitants) is the second largest city in South Tyrol and unquestionably the most widely known tourist location throughout the region. The city centre of Merano is marked by the cathedral and the charming porticoed street (Via dei Portici, or Laubengasse). Laubengasse Like Bolzano, in fact, Merano also has porticoed streets which are a little smaller and lower but no less beautiful and characteristic. Well into the last century cows were driven under the porticos each day to reach the meadows outside the town, a picturesque but also rather smelly experience for the few spa guests staying here. The porticos which look towards the mountain are called the (Berglauben) while those on the opposite Portici della montagna (Berglauben side, which run parallel to the Passirio River, are referred to by the locals as the Portici del fiume (Wasserlauben). The old city gates still stand along the main arterial roads leading to the valleys: Porta Passiria, Porta Bolzano, and Porta Venosta. The city centre is now closed to traffic and the wide central streets, Corso LibertĂ and Via delle Corse, have developed into promenades and shopping streets with cafĂŠs and expensive, elegant stores. When the snow from the surrounding mountain tops starts to melt, the street cafĂŠs, restaurants and promenades of Merano come alive with guests wishing to enjoy the spring sunshine. The fertile mountain slopes and valleys between Merano and Bolzano are used intensively, mainly for fruit and vine growing, and when the fruit trees fill with blossom in spring the landscape turns into a sea of white and pink.


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The best in brief Merano’s importance as a sophisticated spa town around the turning of the last century, is evident in the monumental buildings dating back to that time. A few examples: the railway station building with a length of over 100 metres, styled on similar Viennese buildings designed by Otto Wagner; Hotel Emma, near the station; the city theatre by Polish-born famous architect Martin Dülfer who also designed the theatres in Dortmund, Lübeck and Sofia; the Wandelhalle along the Winter promenade, with a steel construction which anticipated the designs of the train and metro stations of Vienna and Paris. Merano’s magnificent Jugendstil theatre is truly unique and has been elaborately renovated. KURHAUS ALONG THE KURPROMENADE 1 The sumptuous, domed

building, designed by the famous Viennese architect Friedrich Ohmann, overlooks the famous Kurpromenade along the Passirio River. Together with the Kursaal hall, inaugurated in 1914, it is one of the most beautiful Jugendstil buildings in the Alps.


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It houses the spa administration offices of Merano and is also the venue of the Merano Music Weeks, the International Wine Festival, and other cultural events. CHURCH OF MARIA DEL CONFORTO IN MAIA BASSA 2 There are

interesting Gothic frescoes both on the inside and the southern façade. On the corner of Romstraße and Schafferstraße. THE CATHEDRAL, OR CHURCH OF SAN NICOLÒ 3 With its 80-me-

THE RACECOURSE 4 This monumental hippodrome, where major horse races are held, was built between the two World Wars and can accommodate 15,000 spectators. The sheer size of this huge park can be seen from the surrounding mountains.

MUSEUMS 5 WOMEN’S MUSEUM www.museia.it 2, Meinhardstraße; tel. 0473 231216 Mondays–Fridays 10am–5pm This museum tells the history of women from the 1820s to the 1990s with an outstanding collection of clothing, accessories, and objects of everyday use. The Women over the years section illustrates the development of female representations and portraiture. 6 JEWISH MUSEUM www.juedischegemeindemeran.com 14, Schillerstraße; tel. 0473 236127; Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3–6pm, Thursdays and Fridays 9am–12noon

The synagogue, documents and cult objects illustrate the importance of the Jewish community that became established in Merano at the turn of the last century and had several infrastructures built: the Jewish cemetery, the sanatorium for destitute Jews with tuberculosis, and kosher hotels. From the end of the nineteenth century until the 1930s, the activities of the Jewish cultural community were accompanied by a growing number of Jewish tourists, which also brought important spiritual impulses and many prominent figures to Merano due to its connection with the Jewish culture in Vienna, thus contributing to Merano’s image as an international spa town.

MERANO

tre high campanile and octagonal spire, this parish church is the landmark of Merano and a frequent image on postcards, catalogues, and posters showing the campanile against a background of snow-capped mountains, with palm trees and magnolias in full flower in the front.


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7 PRINCE’S CASTLE www.gemeinde.meran.bz.it Galilei-Straße; tel. 0473 250329 or 329 01863 90, open from 15th April to 6th January, Tuesdays–Saturdays 11am–5pm, Sundays and bank holidays 11am–1pm When Merano or rather Castel Tirolo was the administrative headquarters of the region, the small castle in the town centre in which the Tyrolean princes lived, was occasionally used for the purpose. It is therefore an ideal venue to illustrate the late medieval way of life. Furniture, kitchen equipment and utensils, portraits, musical instruments, and weapons bring a long-gone era back to life. 8 THE GARDENS OF TRAUTTMANSDORFF CASTLE www.trauttmansdorff.it 51/A, St.-Valentin-Straße; tel. 0473 235730, open daily from the beginning of April to the end of October, 9am–7pm (June, July,

August: Fridays 9am–11pm) and from the beginning of November to mid November, 9am–5pm, last admission one hour prior to closing. One of the most stunning botanical gardens far and wide, a real magnet for visitors! Footpaths lead through the sloping grounds offering superb views over the Adige valley in addition to an impressive display of plants and flowers. 9 CASTEL TIROLO www.schlosstirol.it 24, Schlossweg; tel. 0473 220221, open from 14th March to 8th December, open from 14th March to 8th December, 10am–5pm (1–31 August 10am–6pm), closed on Mondays. Castel Tirolo can be seen from far and wide. This magnificent castle stands in a dominating position above the valley around Merano and was the ancestral residence of the counts of Tyrol, after which the region is named.


EATING AND DRINKING

10 BISTRO SIEBEN 232, Lauben; tel. 0473 210636, open daily Below the old porticoed street, both snacks and very tasty complete menus are served at this very trendy meeting place. 11 GELATERIA BRUNO 28, Passerpromenade, tel. 0473 270672, open daily No stroll along the central Passerpromenade is complete without a visit to this ice-cream parlour. Ice-cream, cakes and coffee in addition to salads, pizza and pasta are served either outside or in the air-conditioned indoors. 12 FORSTERBRÄU MERAN 90, Freiheitsstraße, tel. 0473 236535, open daily, www.forsterbrau.it This traditional brewery is situated in the pedestrian zone, in the heart of the city. It has a beer garden, indoor rooms, inner courtyard, and a varied menu which duly includes South Tyrolean specialities.

13 KALLMÜNZ 12, Sandplatz, tel. 0473 212917, closed Mondays, www.kallmuenz.it For most demanding gourmets looking for creative cuisine and a combination of Mediterranean and local home cooking, this historical, aristocratic setting, just a few minutes away from the Passerpromenade, can hardly be beaten. 14 RESTAURANT RELAX 31, Cavourstraße, tel. 0473 236735, closed Sundays, www.weine-relax.it This centrally located wine bar and restaurant near to the Ponte della Posta bridge, is a popular haunt for wine lovers who appreciate the well-stocked cellar. It also offers a good selection of food, including good pizzas, other tasty dishes, and starters served throughout the day.

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SHOPPING PUR SÜDTIROL 35, Freiheitsstraße, tel. 0473 012100, www.pursuedtirol.com A unique selection of quality products from South Tyrol: Speck, wine, fruit juices, bread, cheese, fruit, and more. Come for a taste in this elegant setting in the heart of the city.

MARKET A large market is held every Friday in Merano to the west of the main station, offering fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, salamis, assorted cheeses, flowers, and clothing to suit all tastes. Most of the traders can be found at Bolzano’s busy market every Saturday.

MERANO

EVENTS , Beginning of June: Gourmet market. For five days, culinary specialities from South Tyrol and Italy are offered to passers-by along the Passerpromenade in the historical centre. Kurverwaltung Merano, tel. 0473 272000, www.meran.eu Mid June: At the Asfaltart street festival, around thirty soloists and groups delight onlookers for a whole week. Food and drink is also on offer. www.asfaltart.it (in Italian and German only) , July and August: Garden nights in Trauttmansdorff castle castle. Italy’s most beautiful gardens form a fascinating backdrop for musicians from around the world! www.trauttmansdorff.it , Late October: Traubenfest. Traubenfest To end the grape harvest in style, a magnificent procession takes place with decorated floats, music bands, and interesting folklore. www.meran.eu


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The asphalted section of the Val d’Adige cycle path which stretches between Merano and Bolzano is mostly flat, in good condition and well-signposted along the river banks, to which the Bolzano–Merano railway line partly runs parallel. The landscape next to the path is not particularly exciting as it passes through the suburbs with industrial estates, fruit orchards and the river banks. If you don’t want to keep your head constantly bent over your handlebars, however, there are lots of interesting things along the way: the villages, dotted along the foot of the mountain slopes, slightly higher up, churches, military castles, and ancestral homes in strategic positions. As we draw near to Bolzano, we catch a glimpse of Castel Firmiano and, in the distance, the peaks of the Dolomites with the Catinaccio mountain range and the Sciliar glisten beyond the skyline. In the south-west, the vineyards form a blanket over the hills of the Oltradige area and the outline of the Baroque twin towers of Saint Paul and the castles of Appiano and Boymont can be recognised. The many sights in this mixed historical and cultural landscape are clearly signposted along our cycle path and can be safely reached by bike. The places and sights described below are mostly just a few minutes away by bike from the main itinerary, which runs through the centre of the valley.

FROM MERANO TO BOLZANO

From Merano to Bolzano


e Pas siri o

Parco Naturale Gruppo di Tessa

Tor ren t

Rifiano Riffian Tirolo Lagundo Tirol Algund

Hirzer

Scena Schenna

Ifinger

Merano Meran

1

Marlengo Marling

Avelengo Hafling

Sinigo Sinich

2

Cermes Tscherms

Sarentino Sarrrentino Sa entino Sarntal Sarr Sa

4

Lana

3

Postal Burgstall 5

Fi u m

Gargazzone Gargazon

Meltina MĂślten

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7

Tesimo esimo Tisens 6

Andriano Andrian

8

Terlano Terlan

9

Bolzano Bozen 10

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Malosco

Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino Kaltern an der Weinstrasse 5 km

sarco me I Fiu

A 22

Appiano sulla Strada del Vino Eppan an der Weinstrasse

Fondo

Cornedo all’Isarco Karneid

Laives Leifers Bronzolo Branzoll


MARLENGO AND CERMES 1 2 The settlement areas of these fruit-growing and vineyard villages are already merging with the municipal area of Merano and Lana. In terms of tourism, Marlengo and Cermes are considered the catchment area of the famous spa town, although especially Marlengo has retained its rural character. THE KRÄNZELHOF EXPERIENCE A living museum with a bewitching labyrinth garden, masterful home-produced wines, a good restaurant and much more. 1, Gampenstraße, Cermes, tel. 0473 564549, www.kraenzelhof.it

CASTEL MONTELEONE South of Marlengo, on a ridge overlooking

the valley, the high tower, lush vegetation, and cypress trees surrounding this castle are recognisable from far and wide. Open to visitors. Tel. 0473 561425

LANA 3 is a small town, spread out in the western part of the

valley bottom (270 metres above sea level, 11,500 inhabitants), at the entrance to the Val D’Ultimo and along the road up to the Passo delle Palade, that leads to Val di Non. Lana is a hub for fruit growing; in addition to tourism, the apples grown here have brought visible wealth to the village. Every spring, Lana and the surrounding area are transformed into the “fruit orchard” of South Tyrol in a never-ending sea of blossom.

EVENTS , End of September: Pumpkins galore! At this festival, pumpkin specialities are served together with a colourful, varied autumn programme of events. Tel. 0473 561770, www.lana.info

FROM MERANO TO BOLZANO

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OBSTBAUMUSEUM This museum is housed in the Larchgut

mansion on the southern edge of Lana. It takes into account the importance of fruit-growing in South Tyrol and illustrates this important branch of agriculture in an informative and entertaining way. Did you know, for example, that every tenth apple eaten in Europe comes from South Tyrol? Or that 10% of all apples harvested in South Tyrol (around 90,000 tons per year) come from the municipality of Lana and the surrounding area alone? The museum has a display not only of old and new fruit varieties but also crop production methods, pest control, irrigation and fruit-growing equipment. 4, Brandis-Waalweg, Lana, tel. 0473 564387, End of March–End of October, Mondays–Saturdays 10am–5pm, Mid June–Mid July closed on Saturdays, guided tours by arrangement, www.obstbaumuseum.it

PARISH CHURCH OF LANA DI SOTTO The parish church of Lana di Sotto houses a fourteen-metre-high Gothic winged altar, which features an unusually high number of figures carved by Swabian artist Hans Schnatterpeck. This monumental masterpiece is one of the largest in its kind. Wooden altars were mostly replaced in later years, following the Baroque fashion, by gilt or faux marble altars, but in Lana the plans for replacement met the resistance of the peasants so the altar was preserved in all its splendour. Regular guided tours on weekdays.


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GOLF CLUB A golf course lies in the south of the village in a

beautiful position on the Brandis estate. Good to note: the club restaurant lies in superb settings and is also open to non-club members.

KELLEREI MERANER BRUGGRÄFLER 9, Kellereistraße, Marlengo, tel. 0473 447137, www.kellereimeran.it A visit to this redesigned wine cellar is an experience for the eye and the palate. From the charming glass pavilion with a wine-tasting bar, visitors can enjoy an all-round view over the Merano valley basin and the Adige valley. IL LAGHETTO CLUB 1, Etschdamm, Sinigo, tel. 342 7005838, closed on Mondays from January to August, open daily from 1st September.

At 150 m from the cycle path, there is a lake for fishing, with adjoining club house with garden, terrace, and playground. Grilled meat and fish on Sundays, otherwise simple local dishes, ice creams, and drinks. One of the owners also runs a small bike repair shop in 31 Via Fermi, in Sinigo. BAR RITA 86, Sinichbachweg, Sinigo, tel. 0473 244263 Bar with garden facing the cycle path. Coffee, cakes, drinks, and homemade food.

POSTAL 4 This fruit-growing village (1,800 inhabitants) on the

eastern side of the valley south of Merano was only recently connected to the network of cycle paths, and included a nice resting place with spring water fountain and cycle bridge. Nearby, the renovated electric Siemens-Schuckert locomotive, which dates back to 1912, now runs on green energy. This was once the “Apple Express” and travelled on the railway between Lana and Postal. GARGAZZONE 5 For some years, this fruit-growing and vineyard village (1,700 inhabitants) on the eastern side of the valley has also offered an attraction for visitors: the natural swimming pond of Gargazzone, the perfect place for bathing on hot days. The chlorine-free water is filtered and purified naturally by water plants. Tel. 0473 291129, www.naturbad-gargazon.it

FROM MERANO TO BOLZANO

EATING AND DRINKING


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RECOMMENDED EXCURSION: MONTE SAN VIGILIO This popular hik-

ing area and summer hideaway of the people from Lana and Merano, at a height of between 1,500 and 1,800 metres, can be reached from the centre of the village by cable car and then a chairlift. There is a restaurant located directly by the summit station. NALLES 6 This fruit-growing and vineyard village (1,830 inhab-

FROM MERANO TO BOLZANO

itants) lies on the western side of the Adige valley. Castel Bavaro soars defiantly above the village near to Sirmiano. The new residence which the lords of Payrsberg-Boymont built down in the valley in the sixteenth century was named Castel del Cigno.

EATING AND DRINKING NALS MARGREID WINERY 2, Heiligenbergerweg, Nalles, tel. 0471 678626, www.kellerei.it The building of this winery is itself an architectural eye-catcher with a

fermentation tower and basements, a cellar with wooden barrels, barriques,, and old vaults. Inside there is a cosy wine bar where wines can be tasted and purchased.

VILPIANO 7 is a small picturesque village in the district of Ter-

lano, in a secluded spot on the eastern side of the valley at the foot of the sunny, rocky slops of Montezoccolo. Since the dual carriageway was built between Merano and Bolzano, referred to as the MeBo, the heavy through-traffic has disappeared from the old state road, bringing a little more tranquillity to the nearby villages.


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TERLANO 8 This picturesque village (4,250 inhabitants) lies in

the valley basin. Splendid farmhouses and town houses are all huddled together around the pointed church campanile. Terlano was famous for its white wine even in early times. It is most well-known for the Terlaner, a fruity, spicy white wine which is much appreciated by connoisseurs. It can be tasted and purchased directly in the unique architectural premises of the wine-growers’ cooperation in Terlan. 7, Silberleitenweg, tel. 0471 257135.

The white asparagus of Terlano is also highly rated by experts and is offered in the village inns and restaurants during the asparagus festival in spring. The imposing remains of Castel Neuhaus are visible from a distance on a ridge above Terlano. It is referred to by the locals as Castel Maultasch, after the last countess of Tyrol in the fourteenth century, Margarete (nicknamed Maultasch), ), who came to stay here often. Settequerce, a small settlement near Terlano, lies shortly before Bolzano. The ancestral seat of the Teutonic Knights with the small Baroque church is its landmark. From a crag on the mountain slope, the castle ruins of Greifenstein, named Sauschloss by the locals, soar high above the Adige valley and Settequerce.

EATING AND DRINKING SPORGL-AU CYCLIST STATION Radweg Kaiserin M. Theresia, Vilpiano-Terlano, tel. 340 6056441

Open in high season with tables, benches, and deck chairs. Off season there are just vending machines, WC and a charging station for electric bicycles.

EVENTS , April–May: Asparagus festival… with asparagus and wine = pure pleasure! In Terlano and the surrounding area, delicious dishes are served and combined with hikes, cycle trips, and guided tours. Tel. 0471 257165, www.terlan.info


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MALARIA IN THE ADIGE MARSHES Before the final regulation of the Adige River was signed — when the railway was built in 1881 and the banks were planted with fruit trees and vines — malaria in the marshy valley of the Adige was spread as far as Merano, causing many deaths. The real causes were unknown but it was believed that it

was transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito which thrived in the haze of the damp lowlands, the moorland and its damp air. Those who could moved to the surrounding mountains in summer, where the air was better (and where there were no mosquitoes).

FROM MERANO TO BOLZANO

ANDRIANO 9 (1,040 inhabitants) is a small, peaceful village of

fruit-growers and vineyards on the right side of the Adige valley, away from the busy through roads. It lies at the foot of the Macaion mountain, an impressive rock bastion, which points the way to the neighbouring Italian province. CASTEL FIRMIANO 10 is the gateway to Bolzano. The castle

stands on the red-porphyry rock, with mighty walls and defence towers. It was once a knights’ bastion and now houses one of the Messner Mountain Museums. The castle can easily be reached along the cycle path to Caldaro, and is open to visitors. At the station of Castel Firmiano, cross over the state road,


F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o

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then follow the cycle path which goes southwards along the Adige River and bends northwards just before the mouth of the Isarco River, through the cultivated fields on the river banks and into the centre of Bolzano. CASTEL FIRMIANO MMM MESSNER MOUNTAIN MUSEUM The exten-

sive complex is eye-catching and at the same time a top class visitor attraction. The area was already settled in prehistoric times and the castle was built in the Early Middle Ages; it then passed into the hands of the counts of Tyrol in the thirteenth century. Duke Sigmund, the “Münzreiche” (literally rich in coin), had a sumptuous extension built in 1473 and renamed the castle after him (in German, Sigmundskron). In the years that followed it lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into decline. The complex now houses one of the Messner Mountain Museums. The guided tour around the superbly renovated castle ruins focuses on the relationship between mankind and the mountains. MMM Firmian, 53, Sigmundskronerstraße, Bolzano. Ample parking, castle pub. Tel. 0471 631264, from the beginning of March to mid November, Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–6pm www.messner-mountain-museum.it


Park


Bolzano Tourist office

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Monuments and historical sites Piazza Walther Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta Chiesa dei Domenicani Piazza delle Erbe Via dei Portici Piazza del Municipio Chiesa dei Francescani River embankment promenades

9 10 11 12 13

Piazza Vittoria Muri-Gries monastery Museion Museo Archeologico Castel Roncolo

14 15 16 17 18

Restaurants Osteria dei Carrettai Fischbänke Banco Vino 11 Weißes Rössl La Torcia

19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Hotels Hotel Scala Hotel Luna Hotel Regina Hotel Laurin Hotel Città Hotel Alpi Hotel Feichter

Bikeshops 26 Sportler


72

BOLZANO

Bolzano South Tyrol, though part of Italy, is at the same time very much rooted in the German-speaking world, and Bolzano, which is the capital of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, is an especially lively mixture of Italian and German. The town is full of historically fascinating things to see and is known as the “Gateway to the Dolomites” because of its proximity to these famous mountains. The Dolomites’ Rosengarten massif (known as the Catinaccio,, or large chain, in Italian) is breathtakingly high and forms a startling backdrop to the Gothic roofs and towers of Bolzano’s old town. To the north, Castel Roncolo guards the passage into the narrow Val Sarentino, while the hills to the west and south open onto the fertile Adige valley. Visitors are enchanted by the natural beauty of the area. The valley is luxuriantly fruitful, the mountains recede dramatically into the background and Bolzano is surrounded by a protective clutch of hills. The Tyrolean character of the old town centre is epitomised by fine late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque town houses. Beyond the Talvera creek, in the Gries and Quirein districts, Italian residential quarters for officials and workers were built after 1945 in the national monumental style. Even though snow is still coming down from the sur-

TOURIST BOARD BOLZANO Waltherplatz 8, 39100 Bozen, tel. 0471 307000 www.bolzano-bozen.it, also in English


History of the city THE FOUNDING OF THE TOWN When the Romans entered mod-

ern Tyrol around 15 BCE under their general Drusus, the Bolzano valley basin had already been settled for thousands of years. Under the Romans, an important bridgehead was built over the Isarco River. After the fall of Rome, the Bavarii (the ancestors of today’s Bavarians) from the north settled the country and fought tooth and nail against the Longobards. In the eighth century, Tyrol was finally incorporated into Charlemagne’s empire. Around 1200 this still very small market town, which was under the influence of the Prince-Bishop of Trent, was already surrounded by hefty town walls. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the Counts of Tyrol replaced the prince-bishops as the town’s rulers. In the fourteenth century Tyrol was subsumed into the Habsburg empire, and from the fifteenth century influential local rulers helped Bolzano become an important political and economic hub in the central Alps.

BOLZANO

rounding mountain peaks, tourists throng the street cafés, restaurants and promenades in the spring sunshine. The old trading town of Bolzano with its market squares and many stylish boutiques invites people to shop and stroll while the historical squares and alleys of the old town convey culture at every turn.


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BOLZANO

BOLZANO AS A TRADING TOWN The peaceful trading that would

eventually turn Bolzano into an important commercial centre was already well under way by the year 1000. The town’s strategic proximity to the important Alpine Brennero Pass was decisive, as was the fact that the Adige was navigable right up to the town’s gates. Goods in transit were therefore stored here, and counting houses, banks and branches of foreign companies were founded in the city, thus making it the perfect venue for trade fairs and lucrative markets. There was no limit to the wares on offer under the porticoes, and the city was so economically significant that it was considered the unofficial capital of Tyrol until the French Revolution. THE NEW, MODERN BOLZANO Bolzano has been a provincial capital for barely a hundred years. Previously, the cities that held political clout in the area were Merano in Tyrol and Innsbruck, which explains why Bolzano has relatively few historical administrative buildings. After World War I, when the County of Tyrol was partitioned and South Tyrol was annexed by Italy, the Italian state went to great lengths to italianise the area. The Fascist regime set up important industries and settled thousands of workers from other Italian provinces in Bolzano, and today about 73% of the inhabitants are native Italian speakers. It was only after lengthy negotiations with central government in Rome that all linguistic groups in South Tyrol were granted comprehensive autonomy and financial and economic independence in many areas. The three linguistic groups (as well as


F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o

75

German and Italian, there are still 20,000 speakers of Ladin, a Romance language) now live peacefully with or at least alongside one another. Bolzano’s prevalently Italian town council currently has an Italian-speaking mayor.

The best in brief

DUOMO DI SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA 2 On the southern side of Piazza Walther you will find the city’s cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which was consecrated in 1180 and rebuilt in Gothic style in the fifteenth century. The typical 62-metre high filigree-like tower by the Swabian master builder Hans Lutz von Schussenried is well worth a visit. In the ambulatory behind the altar there is a memorial slab dedicated to Archduke Rainer of Austria. In addition to the finely decorated sandstone pulpit, there are fascinating remains of Gothic frescoes from the fourteenth century on the southern wall of the nave. CHIESA DEI DOMENICANI 3 The church in the Dominikanerplatz

square near the cathedral is worth visiting. From the choir you can access the Gothic chapel dedicated to Saint John, featuring some of the finest examples of northern Italian frescoes belonging to the Giotto school to be seen in South Tyrol. PIAZZA DELLE ERBE 4 Bolzano’s fruit and vegetable market is

held on week days in this square, which is the lively heart of the old town; surrounded by trim houses, it is embellished by the Neptune fountain (1746). VIA DEI PORTICI 5 This narrow porticoed street (Laubengasse in

German) leads eastward from the fruit market, and its elegant boutiques make it the town’s most popular shopping street. Some of the characteristically porticoed houses date from as early as the fifteenth century.

BOLZANO

PIAZZA WALTHER 1 This focal point in the centre of the old town is “Bolzano’s open-air drawing room”. The square is named after the Minnesänger,, i.e. German troubadour, Walther von der Vogelweide, who for a long time was thought to come from South Tyrol.


BOLZANO

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PIAZZA MUNICIPIO 6 The eastern end of the Laubengasse ends in the Rathausplatz, the town hall square, which is bordered by bright, decorated house façades. The Baroque town hall and campanile were built in the nineteenth century. CHIESA DEI FRANCESCANI 7 This thirteenth–fifteenth-century

Franciscan church near the fruit market contains a Gothic wooden wing-altar carved by the master Hans Klocker from Bressanone. RIVER EMBANKMENT PROMENADES 8 Promenades have been laid out on both sides of the fast-flowing Talvera creek that flows into Bolzano from the Sarentino valley. On the eastern bank the Wassermauerpromenade connects the old town with the Sankt Anton bridge to the north and provides a fine view of the Catinaccio massif and the vine-covered Castel Mareccio.

BOLZANO

MUSEUMS 11 MUSEION www.museion.it 6 Dantestraße; tel. 0471 223413 Daily 10am–8pm, Thursdays 10am–10pm; Euro 6 Museion (Museum for Modern Art) was opened in 2008 on the bank of the Talvera and is remarkable for its striking cubic construction. The architecture is perfectly in keeping with the museum’s focus on modern art, which can also be contemplated in the library or in the quiet garden café looking out over the river. 12 MUSEO ARCHEOLOGICO DELL’ALTO ADIGE www.iceman.it, 43 Museumstraße; tel. 0471 320100 Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–6pm; July, August, December, daily; Euro 9 The great attraction of the museum is the more than 5,000-year-old “Ötzi”. The mummy found in a

glacier in the Ötztaler Alps can be seen in a climate chamber; related finds shows what life was like in Neolithic times. 13 CASTEL RONCOLO www.runkelstein.info 15 St Anton Weg; tel. 0471 329808, Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–6pm; Euro 8 The castle in Germanic romanticised style contains frescoes from circa 1400 depicting scenes from court life and the Tristan legend. These frescoes are one of the most important examples of profane art of their kind, so much so that the castle that houses them is known as “the illustrated castle”. The castle is a 15-minute bike ride along the cycle path from the town centre.


PIAZZA VITTORIA 9 The Talvera bridge connects the old and

new areas of town and was built by Italians under Mussolini’s rule. Directly next to the bridge there is Piazza Vittoria with the Fascist Victory Monument (1928), which takes its inspiration from the triumphal arches of Ancient Rome. The wide Freiheitstraße (Freedom Avenue) leads into Bolzano’s Gries district, an attractive suburb of detached houses at the foot of Mount Guncina. MURI-GRIES MONASTERY 10 The impressive Benedictine monas-

tery on Piazza Gries comprises the collegiate church dedicated to Saint Augustine, which Martin Knoller decorated with wall, ceiling and altar paintings. The Muri-Gries monastery winery produces one of the best Lagrein wines in South Tyrol. The nearby Gries parish church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is also worth visiting. It contains a winged altar (1475) by Michael Pacher and a thirteenth-century Romanesque crucifix. 21 Grieser Platz, Bolzano, tel. 0471 282287, www.muri-gries.com

BOLZANO

On the western bank, a footpath and cycling path lead to the valley ski lift station that takes people to San Genesio and then on to Castel Roncolo.


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Eating and drinking KNÖDEL OR SPAGHETTI? The diverse South Tyrol cultures also

come together in the local cuisine in a tasty combination of dishes that include classics from the Austrian-Hungarian and Italian traditions. On the menu you can find dumpling dishes such as Knödel mit Speck (dumplings with Speck), Leberknödel (liver dumplings) or Spinat- und Käseknödel (spinach and cheese

EATING AND DRINKING

BOLZANO

14 OSTERIA DEI CARRETTAI 20 Dr Streiter-Gasse, tel. 0471 970558, closed Sundays This wine bar is always packed. It trusts its customers, who help themselves to wine drawn directly from the barrel and tasty rolls and snacks temptingly laid out on the counter. Customers are not expected to pay until they’ve had their fill!

FISCHBÄNKE, DOCTOR STREITER’S WINEGARDEN 28 Dr Streiter-Gasse, mid April to mid October, open every day but closed Saturdays from 6pm and all day Sundays. This must be the most original pub in the town: wine, beer and light dishes are served on the marble slabs of the old fish market. 15

Open only when the weather is warm and good. 16 BANCO VINO 11 11 Obstplatz, tel. 0471 1922845, closed Sundays Between and behind the fruit and food stands there is a tiny wine bar, a veritable oasis of good food and great wine. 17 WEISSES RÖSSL 6 Bindergasse, tel. 0471 973267, closed Saturday evenings and Sundays, www.weissesroessl.org This popular Bolzano pub provides local Tyrolean cooking at reasonable prices. A traditional hostelry, this has become a meeting place for young and old, townspeople and farmers, yuppies and workers, and office staff and intellectuals. Hot food until midnight. 18 LA TORCIA 25 Gärbergasse, tel. 0471 973236, closed Sundays, www.latorcia.com In this narrow pedestrian alley a maze of small dining rooms are tucked away in an old town house in which regional Italian cooking and a mindboggling range of pizzas are served. Al fresco tables available during the summer months.


F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o

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BOLZANO AT A GLANCE Piazza Walther is a good place to start a “circular” walk. On the northern side of the square, the open-air tables and chairs of the town hotel tempt you to have a cappuccino and croissant as you peruse various newspapers. In the southern portion of the square there is the cathedral with its magnificent stone tower. The tourist office is right in the south-eastern corner, and near the square there is the former Dominican monastery that contains one of Bolzano’s treasures, the Johanneskapelle (St John’s Chapel) with its Gothic, Giotto-esque frescoes. All of the old town is a pedestrian zone, so a stroll from the

Waltherplatz is worthwhile: towards the north over the Kornplatz into the nearby Laubengasse, past the splendid Merkantilgebäude (Trade Court) building over to the Obstplatz fruit market, whose colourful bustle fired Goethe with enthusiasm more than two centuries ago. If you have enough time, you should also visit the “Ötzi-Museum” in the Museumstraße. You can walk back to the Waltherplatz via Dr Streiter-Gasse with the marble slabs of the old fish market, the Bindergasse with its historical inns (pop into the Weisses Rössl if you can) and the Rathausplatz with its magnificent town hall building.


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dumplings). Schlutzkrapfen, which are ravioli filled with spinach, are another Tyrolean speciality. The Italian influence can be seen in the pasta, pizza and risottos. Memories of Vienna are awakened by popular puddings such as Marillenknรถdel (dumplings filled with apricots), Zwetschgenknรถdel (dumplings filled with plums), Apfelstrudel and Kaiserschmarren (shredded pancake sprinkled with icing sugar and covered with raisins). In autumn, the menu also features typically rustic dishes such as roasted, salted or smoked pork served with Sauerkraut Sauerkraut, as well as snacks for the Tรถrggelezeit, or wine harvest, period, with favourites such as roast chestnuts and smoked speck and sausage.

BOLZANO

EVENTS , On the weekend of May 1: The traditional flower market starts off the Bolzano spring festival, with a sea of colours and perfumes in Piazza Walther. Tel. 0471 307001, www.bolzano-bozen.it , Third weekend in May: Wine tasting festival festival,, a fantastic opportunity to get to know Bolzano wineries, taste and compare wines. Tel. 0471 860659, www.suedtiroler-weinstraรŸe.it , Mid July to the end of July: The Bolzano Danza (dancing festival) delights spectators with stunning performances. Tel. 0471 053800, www.bolzanodanza.it , Mid September to the end of September: At the Transart festival for contemporary culture, there is again a unique programme of music, dancing, theatrical performances and art. Tel. 0471 673070, www.transart.it


PORPHYRY Red porphyry rock can be seen everywhere in the landscape around Bolzano and in some parts of the Trentino region. Its formation dates back around 270 million years, when huge amounts of volcanic lava and ashes covered large parts of the valleys around Bolzano. It was the greatest volcanic eruption in the Alps and led to the formation of rock layers which measure up to 2,000 metres in parts. The presence of iron made it purple in colour, hence the name

of this rock. It is extremely hard and resistant against abrasion and was quarried in the area of Bolzano, Branzolo, and Laives and used to a great extent for the production of paving slabs and tiles. The scars left in the landscape are still quite visible. While most quarries in South Tyrol have since been closed down or now work only to a minor extent, porphyry is still extracted in huge quarries in Val di Cembra, from where it is exported worldwide.


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USEFUL INFORMATION

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

United Kingdom

113 State Police stations are found

Milan

only in larger towns 112 General emergency number for the Carabinieri (Italian national police

7, Via San Paolo 20121 Milan Telephone +39 02 723001

force) who are stationed in all larger villages and small towns 115 Fire service 118 Emergency medical services, hospitals INFORMATION ENIT Italian State Tourist Board United Kingdom 1 Princes Street - London W1B 2AY Telephone: +44 020 7408 1254 E-mail: info.london@enit.it

United States

Website: www.enit.it

Milan

United States

2/10, Via Principe Amedeo

630 Fifth Avenue - Suite 1965

20121 Milan

New York, New York 10111

Telephone +39 02 290351

Telephone: +1 212 245 5618

www.milan.usconsulate.gov

E-mail: newyork@enit.it Website: www.enit.it Canada

MONEY The currency is the euro and other

110 Yonge Street, Suite 503

currencies are not normally accepted but

Toronto, Ontario M5C 1T4

they can be changed in any bank. You

Telephone: 416 925 4882

can pay nearly everywhere with credit

e-mail: toronto@enit.it

cards or cashpoint (instant teller) cards.

Website: www.enit.it

Cheques are not always accepted.

CONSULATES

HEALTH

Australia

EU citizens can use the National Health

Venice

Service in Italy. For emergencies, you can

12, Via della LibertĂ

find a doctor via a hospital, tourist office

Edificio Porta dell’Innovazione

or hotel. A medical care card for non-EU

30175 Venezia Marghera

citizens or a European Health Insurance

Telephone +39 041 5093061

Card entitles you to free treatment (for all

Canada

items or services directly covered by the

Milan

Italian National Health System).

3, Piazza Cavour

See www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/home.do.

20121 Milan

Non EU citizens will have to purchase

Telephone +39 02 62694238

insurance in their country of origin.


F r o m R e s i a Pa s s t o B o l z a n o

83

INTERNET WI-FI

Shopping malls also open on Sundays.

You can find Internet cafés easily in larger

Eating places Normal opening times:

towns and in tourist centres. Middle and

12pm–2pm; 7pm–10.30pm. August

top-end hotels have Internet. In most

is the traditional holiday month also

tourism offices and near universities WI-FI

for retailers and some restaurants.

Internet access is free. ELECTRICITY You will need to take an adapter with you for three-point UK and Irish plugs; if you come from another English-speaking country, find out if your plugs are compatible with Italian sockets before you leave home. PUBLIC TRANSPORT

LANDLINES AND MOBILE PHONES/

There are railway stations in the centre of

CELL PHONES

nearly all the towns in which you stay and

Do you make a lot of calls with your

the bus stations are also nearby. Many

mobile/cell phone? If you do, you should

local and regional trains have compart-

get an Italian phone card to avoid high

ments that take bicycles (they are marked

roaming fees. You can get one from 5

by a bicycle symbol on the timetables in

euros. The main providers are Vodafone,

the stations; see

Tim, Wind and 3, who have their own

http://www.trenitalia.com, also in English). stores in all the larger towns. The internaTAXIS are expensive. It is advisable to use the bus in town.

tional code for making calls from Italy to the UK is 0044, 00353 for the Republic of Ireland, 001 for the United States and

OPENING TIMES

Canada, 0061 for Australia and 0064 for

Pharmacies Normal opening times:

New Zealand. To call Italy, dial 0039 then

Mondays-Fridays 8.30am–12.30pm; the number including the first 0. 3.30pm–7.30pm Saturdays 8.30/9am–12-30pm. Each pharmacy will display information showing where you can find a pharmacy open outside these times. Banks Normal opening times: Mondays–Fridays 8.30/9am– 12.30pm; 2.30pm–3.30pm Post offices Mondays–Saturdays 8.30am–1.30pm Shops Mondays 3.30/4pm–7.30/8pm;

TIPS

Tuesdays–Fridays 8.30/9am–

People no longer expect to be tipped

12.30/1pm; 3.30/4pm–7.30/8pm.

as a matter of course, but hardworking

Food shops and groceries are

and courteous staff are pleased if you

normally closed on Wednesday

round up the bill. On the menu of most

afternoon.

restaurants the cover charge is listed at

Some supermarkets are open non-stop

the bottom: it can be 10-15% of the bill,

from Mondays-Saturdays from 9am

although no tip is then expected. In pizze-

to 7pm.

rias it amounts to a couple of euros.


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R E E N S

GR EE N S were born from the need to provide cyclists with information on the Girolibero tour in Italy and France. GR EE N S consist of 3 books: • a tourist guide for cyclists • a complete set of maps for the tour • a roadbook Other G R E E NS are being prepared for: Paris–London, Provence–Camargue, ...

Further information at: greens@girolibero.com


This guide accompanies the Girolibero cycling tour and aims to whet your appetite for the Adige valley from the Resia Pass to Bolzano : , scenically and culturally fascinating places , historical information , useful information , tips on good meals and snacks

Profile for Girolibero

Girolibero GREENS: From Passo Resia to Bolzano  

GREENS cycling guides are entirely produced by tour operator Girolibero and come in a practical format that's easy to read and carry. A Gir...

Girolibero GREENS: From Passo Resia to Bolzano  

GREENS cycling guides are entirely produced by tour operator Girolibero and come in a practical format that's easy to read and carry. A Gir...