Bolzano Travel Guide

Tourist Guide
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Cross the Trentino and head to the Austrian border, and you’ll come to South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian), where different cultures have met and traded for centuries.

Holidays in Bolzano best express the essence of travelling from one culture to another, one country to another. Typical examples of this can be seen in the local art, where Giotto-style paintings coexist with Gothic masterpieces, and architecture, with striking contrasts between the old town and the new on the other side of the Talvera River. The surrounding landscape and the area south of the regional capital are planted with vineyards as far as the eye can see and overlooked by more than 200 ancient medieval hamlets, castles and ruins. Plateaus, mountain villages and wide valleys offer a cool respite from the summer heat. A well-organised network of hotels and recreational facilities, enriched by a strong sense of hospitality and a desire to showcase tradition, will make your holiday to Bolzano a real pleasure, particularly with the end-of-year festive atmosphere and seasonal markets.

The southernmost part of South Tyrol is considered the most "Mediterranean" area, with its mild climate making Lake Caldaro the warmest in the Alps. Bolzano, further north, is a city of strong contrasts. As a result of its position, once annexed by the Austro-Hungarian empire, this is where north meets south and typically Italian elements mix with the German character. You’ll easily get a sense of this by strolling along Via Alto Adige towards Piazza Walther, where you’re surrounded by architecture and by an ambience which ranges from Mittel-European to Mediterranean. Bolzano is strikingly small but very busy, particularly in winter, thanks to the lights, colour and friendly atmosphere around the alehouses and wooden taverns, where the locals meet for a chat while snow covers the city in a white blanket.

Despite its small size, Bolzano has a lot to offer. The Duomo di Bolzano is the main church. Located on Piazza della Parrocchia (behind Piazza Walther), it has an amazing golden green tiled roof and a filigree spire, with purely Roman and Gothic architecture. Next is the Chiesa dei Francescani, almost hidden behind the buildings of the historic centre and famous for the tranquillity it inspires on the inside. Also on Piazza della Parrocchia is the striking twentieth century Austrian architecture of the Palazzo delle Poste, designed by Albert Canal, which still houses the post office and the local offices of the Ministry of Communication. Entering Piazza Walther, you can immediately admire the monument to the German medieval poet of the same name. The square is famous for having been the symbol of South Tyrol’s identity, opposed to the Italian one of Trento, with its monument to Dante Alighieri. Piazza Walther is the centre and meeting place of Bolzano’s high society.

Proceeding north from the square you’ll come to Piazza delle Erbe, with its statue of Neptune. Along the sides are endless stores selling local produce, including local bread, cheese and strudel, as well as wines and grappas. If it’s shopping you want, you've come to the right place. Just north of the square is the pedestrian area of Via dei Portici, with its boutiques, cafés and stores of various kinds lining the many courtyards and side streets, surrounded by fifteenth century buildings.

Between Piazza Walther and Via dei Portici, Via degli Argentieri connects Piazza delle Erbe to Via del Grano, which delights visitors with its beauty and the combination of late medieval buildings, including Palazzo Troilo and Palazzo Mercantile, with the star attraction of Palazzo Argento. Continuing through the medieval centre, the oldest square in the city is named after the ancient grain market. This extremely beautiful square, with its two fortified tower homes, is close to the Farmacia della Madonna, with its sixteenth century frescoes. You cannot leave Bolzano without first visiting the Casa Mercantile, the ancient seat of the Magistrato Mercantile, who controlled and administered markets and fairs in Bolzano (a kind of chamber of commerce) in the eighteenth century. Outside the city you’ll find Castel Firmiano and many other castles and fortifications in a traditional mountain setting, all of which you can visit thanks to our holiday packages in Bolzano.

Where to stay in Bolzano

Maretsch Castle featuring château or palace

Old Town Bolzano

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Old Town Bolzano is noteworthy for its historical sites, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Via dei Portici and Bolzano Christmas Market.

Old Town Bolzano