I - 39017
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The meeting of two quite different worlds, such as is the Alpine mountain lifestyle and Mediterranean dolce vita, form a colourful blend of experiences and impressions, which is really quite unique. There is the interaction between culture and nature in close proximity, where tradition and modernity happily coexist. Here, on the South facing side of the Alps, before the magnificent Dolomitic UNESCO World Heritage Site backdrop, you'll come across a wealth of experiences not to be missed.
For a start, you can visit Ötzi, the Iceman, at the South Tyrolean Archaeological Museum in Bolzano. Then, there are the medieval towns, such as Glorenza and the Archdiocese of Bressanone or Chiusi, (the artists' town), that invite you to stroll and explore their old streets and discover something of their history. Old monasteries, such as the Muri-Gries wine monastery in Bolzano, Sabiona and the Benedictine monastery of the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria in Malles, have opened their doors to visitors. The mine museums are open for those who wish to explore life underground, as it once was. The old mountain farms, such as the Monte Muta mountain farms above Merano, show traditional life that is proudly set to continue for generations, in close and harmonious proximity to nature.
In the museums and numerous festivals that are held throughout the year, we in the South Tyrol like to keep our customs and traditions alive. This is also related to a long-standing tradition of ancient craftsmanship in the region, going back to the lumberjacks of Gardena Valley and the lace-makers of the Aurina Valley. And not to forget the scenic wonders of the South Tyrol: apart from the towering Dolomitic and Alpine peaks that surround you when hiking and skiing, the stunning and well-kept gardens also form part of the special charm of this area of Northern Italy. The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle (acknowledged as amongst the most beautiful in Europe) and the mild climate of Merano were once much enjoyed by Empress Sissi. The castles and fortresses are great venues for numerous cultural events throughout the year, such as concerts and plays.
So what would the South Tyrol be without its rich culinary diversity? Viticulture has been practiced in the region for some 2,500 years with indigenous varietals such as Vernatsch, Lagrein and Gewürtztraminer. South Tyrol is the smallest region in Italy and one that enjoys the highest number of wine awards. Wine tastings or leisurely bike rides along the Wine Route in the South Tyrol are among the things that really ought not to be missed.
In the celebrated Toerggelen period, which runs from October until Advent, the new wine is traditionally served with wholesome regional farm specialties, such as South Tyrolean speck, smoked sausages, Krapfen donuts and much more besides. The South Tyrol cuisine is characterized by a combination of classic Italian cuisine, such as pasta and pizza and typically Alpine dishes, such as dumplings or Kaiserschmarrn. South Tyrolean cuisine is well positioned even at the premium level, with fresh, seasonal ingredients adding flair to the rich mix of Italian, Ladin and Tyrolean flavours.
As guests of the South Tyrol you won't be wanting for choice among the best!