Lying along the Brenner highway, motorway and railway line, Bolzano can easily be reached from all directions.
Its favourable geografical position at the point of contact between the Mediterranean and Mitteleuropean civilizations has allowed Bolzano, in the course of history, to develop a respected tradition in trade and fairs.
BOLZANO - SHOPPING
Bolzano prides itself on one of the finest shopping areas in the Alpine region: the bustling centre of the city is the Via dei Portici/Lauben, a street lined with arcades under which about a hundred first-rate shops offer a vast choise of items of all kinds. Remember to take a look at wood, ceramic, glass and fabric handicrafts, sportswear and equipment, the famous Loden coats and jackets, and the bread, "speck", wines and sweets as well.
BOLZANO "AT THE TABLE"
In Bolzano, as in the whole province, the cuisine is a faithful reflection of the composite ethnic-linguistic structure of the populace. Typical South Tyrolean cuisine, linked to the rural tradition, cohabits with the flavours of Italian cuisine in numerous regional variations. "Gastronomic Weeks" featuring specialities of all kinds and "Törggelen", trips to country inns or old, characteristic farmhouses for a snack of roasted chestnuts and new wine are both very popular and well known.
BOLZANO - HOSPITALITY
Courtesy and warmth, cleanliness and tidiness are the constants that characterize all public establishments in Bolzano. The hotels in particular, whose fittings meet all modern demands, have preserved that family atmosphere and ambience so typical of South Tyrol.
BOLZANO - SIGHTSEEING
Walther Square (named after Walther von der Vogelweide) is the central meeting point of the town, surrounded by the "old town" which is now a hospitable pedestrian zone. From the main square one can set out on an interesting tour of the town.
Be sure to see: the Cathedral with its elegant Gothic steeple, the Domenican Church with its cloister and St. John's Chapel decorated with frescoes by painters from the Giottoschool, the Franciscan Church with its pretty cloister and the interesting wooden altarpiece carved by Hans Klocker, the picturesque Fruit Market full of fresh produce, the above-mentioned Arcades, the Town Museum whose exhibits validly document the history and ethnography of the region, Maretsch Castle - owned by the Bolzano City Tourist Office - completely restored and now used as a modern, functional conference centre, Runkelstein Castle within whose walls are frescoes of a rare pictorial tradition, and the ancient fortification of Castel Firmiano/Sigmundskron Castle with the Messner Mountain Mouseum. It is also interesting to discover Gries, once a township in its own right but today incorporated into the Municipality of Bolzano, which preserves its old Parish Church containing a famous wooden altarpiece carved by Michael Pacher, and the majestic Baroque Abbey of the monastery of the Benedictine Monks of Muri.
BOLZANO - SPECIAL EVENTS
Besides its artistic jewels, Bolzano abounds in special events of great appeal: in March and April the flower market and exhibition and tasting of typical South Tyrolean wines; from June to September the "Bolzano Summer Festival" including classical music concerts, outdoor pop music shows, jazz concerts, ballet, theater, cultural displays and exhibitions, the Festival of Contemporary Music, the prestigious "F. Busoni International Piano Competition" and the renowned Trade Fair together with an intense folkloristic events program. The Christmas Market beginning the last weekend of November until the 23rd of December and his unique atmosphere. Not to be left out is the characteristic weekly market on Saturdays.
BOLZANO - SPORTS
Modern facilities guarantee vast sports possibilities all year around: in the winter season skiing, ice-skating and hockey (first league matches at the indoor ice-rink) and in summer swimming and diving at the public swimming pools (called the Lido) in pools in the environs or sailing and windsurfing on the lakes at Caldaro/Kaltern and Monticolo/Montiggl. Other possibilities include tennis, riding, track and field facilities, the new, efficient Sports Hall, the handball championships, squash, ping-pong, chess, checkers, ...
BOLZANO - NATURE
The interest and beauty of Bolzano owe much to the wealth of nature that gives the town and its surroundings an unmistakable appearance and charm in every season.
Bolzano is the perfect starting-point for dozens of splendid walks and for a complete tour of South Tyrol and the Dolomites.
Staying in town, there are three marvellous opportunities: the Talfer Promenade with a view of the Dolomites, the Talfer River meadows, and the vineyards surrounding Maretsch Castle; the Oswald Promenade that affords a wonderful panoramic view of the town; the Guntschna Promenade with its surprising Mediterranean vegetation and precious exotic plants.
BOLZANO AND ITS THREE CABLECARS
Three cablecars take you from town, in a few minutes up to the most beautiful high plateaus in South Tyrol: the Renon/Ritten with its famous and interesting earth spires; the S. Genesio/Jenesien (Salto), and the Colle/Kohlern which can be reached by taking the oldest cablecar in the world. Once you reach the heights, there are dozens of possible itineraries - both on foot and by horse - towards picturesque hamlets, farmhouses, alpine huts and lakes. Meadows, woods and immense panoramas will remain unforgettable emotions. Bolzano is also the most favorable starting-point for excursions in the Dolomites - by bus or on foot in summer, on skis in winter - and for cultural trips to discover the incredible heritage of castles in South Tyrol.
So welcome to Bolzano, the town with all the beautiful things that nature and man have been able to put together.
Texts and photos courtesy of Tourism Board Bolzano