In the extreme north of Italy are the vineyards and woods to frame the Brenner motorway that runs towards the heart of Europe. In the wide basin where the city rises, the Sarentino, the Adige and the Isarco valley meet.
Those arriving in the city from the south arrive on the Isarco's bank. The old city is on the other side. Walther von der Vogelwiede, a 13th century Tyrolean poet, is the door to the delightful old town, where stands the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, a majestic 15th century Gothic building erected on the remains of an early Christian church. Beautiful bell tower, externally frescoed and surmounted by an elegant pierced dome. An element that strongly characterizes the façade of the church is the fourteenth-century Romanesque rose window. The interior, with three naves, contains fourteenth-century frescoes, an interesting marble high altar from the early eighteenth century, in Baroque style, and embellished with various statues.
The beautiful historic city center is a striking intertwining of narrow streets and squares including Via Argentieri, full of inns and shops, bars and restaurants, where there is the baroque Palazzo Mercantile, with beautiful external stairways and home to the Mercantile Museum, via Museo, is located the Archaeological Museum, via dei Portici, the original nucleus of the city and via Dr. Josef Streiter, where once stood the moat that surrounded the ancient Bolzano.
Then the beautiful Piazza delle Erbe, where the fruit and vegetable market is held, the small Town Hall square, overlooked by the neo-baroque Town Hall which houses the Council Hall frescoed by the painter Gottfied Hofer on the second floor. Do not miss a visit to via dei Bottai, today full of hotels and trattorias, which was among the main streets of the city of the past, where merchants from the north refreshed and re-filled the horses before arriving in the commercial via dei Portici .
In the heart of the old town it is nice to get lost in delightful shop windows and historic buildings, bars and quaint cafes and make some purchases.Bring with you the famous angel of Bolzano, the traditional Tyrolean Loden and the many wooden objects, the slippers in raw wool from Val Sarentino. There are also many delicacies including speck, strudel and excellent regional wines.
Do not miss the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, once the headquarters of the Austrian National Bank, which houses important collections from the Alto Adige area. A museum itinerary that starts from the Palaeolithic up to the Carolingian age, including reconstructions, stereoscopic images, videos, models, reconstructions of settlements and finds, as well as Otzi's house, "the man from the ice", also known as the " mummy of the Similaun ".
Elegant and refined, the center of Bolzano is like an extraordinary village in the heart of one of the most industrious cities in the Alps, where history, art and culture mix with so many extraordinary flavors that make the city one of the most interesting destinations in the Alps.
Do not miss a gluttonous stop in the bars of the center, to indulge in a dish of ravioli with speck in walnut sauce, perhaps to accompany with Santa Maddalena, red wine with a velvety taste, typical of the area, to continue with one of the classic sweets of these valleys , the apple strudel.
Do not miss a taste of cold cuts such as speck, the typical slightly smoked ham, and the kaminwurzen, the smoked sausage made of lean beef and pork speck.
Even the cheeses deserve some taste, like that of Stanga di Dobbiaco, a semi-hard sweet cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk, a traditional agri-food product. Among the desserts, in addition to the strudel, the sweet krapfen with jam deserves a taste.
Main photo by @grenci_hope