Chief town of South Tyrol and bilingual town, Bolzano has two faces: typically Austrian in its historical centre, it shows features of "Mediterranean" culture. Enclosed between the valleys of the rivers Adige and Isarco, its origin goes back to the low Middle Age, when a property of the Bavarian Closter of Tegernsee developed around the present Via Portici (Arcades Street), todays town trade centre with its typical stores. Seat of provincial government and of many administrative offices, it has been since 1964 Episcopal seat.
The city and its monuments
As soon as the administrative border between Trentino and Alto Adige is crossed, the tourist enters in the most Austrian province of our peninsula with a long history of foreign dominations. The Italian and German languages join in one tongue, sometimes enriched by the typical regional dialect, the Ladin; the fusion of German and Italian is visible in the most important monuments too. Central Europe features are in the historical centre around the Dome and in the street Via Portici, presenting frescoed faces interrupted by arcades; Italian features are visible beyond the Talvera stream, where the fascist government created an area, in order to make the town more Italian. See worthy are Piazza Walter, the salon and stage of important events, and Piazza delle Erbe, the Mediterranean heart of Bolzano.
The geographical area
The province is divided in three parts: Bolzano, Oltradige and Val Sarentina, then the western South Tyrol and finally the eastern one. The first one features the river Adige, the famous Strada del Vino altoatesino a Wine Road, enhancing a typical sort of wine and grape, and the Val Sarentina, offering the first view on unique mountains. The area of western South Tyrol joins different realities, but each one characterized by the river Adige: towns with Habsburg atmosphere like Merano, valleys and typical forts, majestic peaks protected by the National Park Stilfser Joch. The eastern South Tyrol offers finally the most beautiful Dolomite peaks, which mark the borders between Italy and Austria: Sella, Vetta dItalia and Tre cime di Lavaredo are some examples. We cannot forget some famous places, like Val Gardena, Val Badia, Alpe di Siusi, ideal places for lovers of mountain, winter and summer sports.