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The city of Bolzano

Bolzano is located in Northern Italy in the south-central autonomous equally named Province of Bolzano and in the autonomous Region Trentino - South Tyrol. With an area of 53.2 square km, the capital of South Tyrol is located at an altitude of between 232 and 1616 meters above sea level with the city center at 262 meters above sea level. Bolzano has about 105,000 inhabitants.

What’s happening in Bolzano?

The city of Bolzano has two faces – a North European and a Mediterranean one – that are particularly visible in the significant historical art sights. The most famous historical square in the Bolzano inner city is the Waltherplatz. In its center on a pedestal fountain stands a marble statue of the famous medieval poet and minstrel Walther von der Vogelweide.

There are also a few sacred buildings worth seeing in the city center: these are the Gothic Cathedral Maria Assunta, the co-cathedral of the Dioceses of Bolzano-Brixen, the Franciscan Church with the adjacent monastery and the Dominican Church with the St. John’s Chapel where you can see the beautiful frescos of the Padovani art school of Renaissance painter Giotto. Also found in Bolzano in the Gries quarter is the Old Parish Church Gries with the famous Gothic winged altar by Michael Pacher.

Numerous museums in Bolzano are dedicated to domestic and religious customs and traditions such as the City Museum; you can see modern and contemporary art in the Museion, nature in the South Tyrol Museum of Nature or the centuries of flourishing commercial life of the city in the Mercantile Museum. In the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, “Ötzi”, the world famous “iceman” can be seen with his clothes and his belongings; the “Messner Mountain Museum Firmiano” at the castle of Sigmundskron broaches the issue of the religious significance of mountain peaks, the history of mountaineering and alpine tourism of today.

Also worth seeing are the palaces and castles in the South Tyrolean provincial capital: the medieval Castle of Runkelstein high up on a crag at the entrance to the Sarn Valley, which is famous for having the world’s largest number of secular frescoes from the Middle Ages. Castle Maretsch that lies north of the old town along the Talfer promenade is now used as a conference and event center, or Castel Flavon, which is located above the district of Haslach, is a half-ruin with a restaurant and rooms for parties and other events.

Especially popular in the old town of Bolzano are the Bolzano arcades. Now, as before, they are the center of Bolzano trade and the most visited streets in the city. Not only the façades of houses with the characteristic bay windows are worth seeing, but especially the elegant, partly traditional, partly modern stores with their inviting shop windows transform the arcades in the inner city into an “outdoor shopping center”. Bolzano is also known for its fruit market, which is open daily in the heart of the old town in the colorful and lively Piazza delle Erbe square.

Numerous events are also organized throughout the year in Bolzano, including the Bolzano Christmas Market, the Flower Festival in spring, the Bolzano Festival in summer or the South Tyrol Jazz Festival, the Alto Adige.

Outside the Bolzano city center, you can enjoy the quiet of the green spaces and walking paths built on a slight hill, including the Guncina and Sant’Osvaldo promenade or long walks through the beautiful flora and Mediterranean landscape panorama typical to the region. There are also opportunities for sporting and recreational activities on the Prati del Talvera on the banks of the Bolzano city river.

Because of the characteristic location of the city in the geographic intersection between the three valleys of Adige, Isarco and Sarentino, cycling enthusiasts can enjoy the many bike trails to and from Bolzano in extended tours in the South Tyrolean landscape or venture out to other places of interest such as Kaltern, Merano, Brixen or Salurn.

Three cable cars from the city provide ambitious hikers access to the surrounding plateaus: in the north you can take the Rittner cable car from Dodiciville to reach the 1,000 – 1,200 meter-high Rittner plateau and the mountain station of Soprabolzano or take the Colle car on the Bolzano Mountain to reach Kohlern (Colle). The third car, the Genesio cable car on the southern slope of the Tschögglberg, leads to Genesio, which is located below the vast plateau of Salten.