The Magic of Christmas in Bolzano area
Welcome to our new article. Today we are introducing a city, located in the Alps which is one of Europe’s top hidden gems: Bolzano.
Where is it?
Bolzano is a charming little town hidden away in the mountainous region of Trentino Alto Adige, in the Italian Alps, at the border with Austria. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy, still today very undiscovered.
How to reach?
Bolzano it’s the perfect meeting place: it provides excellent facilities, is connected to the main motorways and has even a small airport. Located just 3 hours from Milano by train, is the perfect gateway to the magical world of the UNESCO Dolomites. They call it the “gateway to the Dolomites”, because Bolzano is a true must for heading to the Dolomites in search of trekking, hiking or skiing and snowboarding in the winter time.
Bolzano has magic in the air, especially around Christmas time, for its glamorous Christmas Market and for its surroundings: in the valley around Bolzano there is the highest density of castles in Europe.
Let’s take a closer look of Bolzano
Its inviting avenues dotted with cafes, pubs and shops welcome you every step of the way. The city reveals centuries of German, Italian and Austrian influences and culture lovers have plenty of choice among the many museums, the modern and contemporary art galleries.
Start your day with a hot chocolate, cappuccino or tea at one of Bolzano’s cozy street-side cafes and order a freshly-baked krapfen. Krapfen is a delicious doughnut pastry filled with apricot or jam marmalade. Start your day from the center of the city, the square of Walther.
Piazza Walther is the living room of the city, named after Walther von der Vogelweide whose statue is in the center of the square. The posture of the statue, facing south, was a response of the Austro-Hungarian government to the statue that Trento had raised to Dante.
The whole square is surrounded by beautiful and elegant cafés which makes it perfect for admiring the main square of the city. On the south-west side of the main square is located Duomo of Bolzano, the Cathedral of Maria Assunta.
The Church’s history is dated back to the 4th century AD and it has undergone several reconstructions over the centuries resulting in its present look. During WWII, the Church was destroyed by Allied bombing, which led to its renovation in late-Gothic style with stones similar to its original design.
You can take in the beautiful marble roof of the church with its multi-colored patterns and elegant steeple, which are the highlights of the Church. There is also a bell tower and museum of recent construction in the Church that you can admire. Today it serves as the parish church of Bolzano.
CHURCH OF DOMINICANS
Just ahead of the Duomo, the Dominican Church is worth a visit. This medieval building dates back to the 13th century and is one of the best examples of early Gothic architecture. The church was damaged during the Second World War but the artwork from the 14th century can still be seen adorning the walls. From the Church of Dominicans, just five minutes’ walk, you will arrive in Via dei Portici, the heart of the ancient mercantile village and the central shopping street. If you are looking for sporting goods or Tyrolean style clothing this is the place for you!
It is nice to walk under the arcades and admire the facades with the characteristic projections.
Continue your walk from Via dei Portici, which will lead you in about 40 minutes to Castel Roncolo. Built in 1237 on a rocky outcrop, it is one of the most famous. Very well preserved, with beautiful frescoes representing court life, knights and tournaments, and the deeds of Tristan, Isolde and King Arthur.
Castel Roncolo is also called the illustrated manor for the quantity and quality of frescoes found inside its rooms. This amazing Castile is one of the castles not to miss but the city of Bolzano and its surrounding area has many of them. On your way back, stop by another Castel, Mareccio Castle, standing in the middle of a vineyard, is another impressive example offering a splendid view of the mountains. If you’re a lover of history and castles or of Italy in general, book your private tour and our expert team will make an itinerary to fit all your desires to enjoy festive time in Italy.
This article is special not just because of the city of Bolzano but also for its world-famous festive Christmas market. The ‘Mercatino di Natale’ in Italy is a wonderful family event, and Bolzano Christmas market is one of the biggest in northern Italy. The magic of the Christmas market, together with the city’s wonderful festive food, will make all your festive wishes come true.
You can feel the excitement in the beautifully decorated streets, and of course in local people’s homes. It is an opportunity for adults and children alike to experience the lovely fairy-tale atmosphere, in addition to the scents and flavors of this land. A food and wine “island” represents, even from the physical point of view, the heart of the market.
Bolzano offers an extraordinary experience in terms of tasting and living, an experience for all senses. Christmas songs and melodies run across the branches of the big decorated tree, among the colored booths selling local products. Air smells like wood, spices and mulled wine, and all that enchanting and warming awesomeness, instills a feeling of harmony, warmth and love in all the visitors’ hearts. The whole historical center of Bolzano is filled with it, each vibrant light, each melody sung by sweet voices or by the instruments played by the many musicians, each cloud scented like biscuits, strudel and sweets.
In those places more than anywhere else, visitors can breathe the true meaning of Christmas, its deep charm, made of magic, tradition and unrivaled atmosphere. Since you are in Bolzano, there is another Christmas Market which is worth a visit as well as the little town of Merano.
Less than an hour by train north of Bolzano is Merano.
One of the most traditional and enticing Christmas markets is to be found here.
This Christmas market is to feature delicious home-baked goods, often sweetened with cinnamon and spices. Traditional artisan crafts are also popular here.
A charming small town between the peaks covered in grassland and dotted with beautiful Austrian-style mountain chalets. You can visit the cheery old town or take a peaceful stroll along the river, lined with bars and cozy restaurants. But the true attraction in Merano are its Thermal baths: almost 8,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor swimming pools and 50,000 sq m of parkland and green grass to lounge upon and while pampering yourself with the various saunas, steam and mud baths, massages, beauty treatments and fitness areas. Once you get out, rested and healthy, you may want to visit the Principesco castle, in the historic centre. You can even combine the visit to a castle with a good lunch in a very special setting (like Kallmünz castle), a good glass of wine and even a good sleep if you decide to stay.
The lovely local food
Bolzano’s cuisine is a great attraction for gourmets. It is characterized by different flavors. On one hand there is the solid genuine country cooking, on the other there are the specialties of the Mediterranean gastronomic tradition. The choice is difficult.
Pretzel bread, cheese, cured meat, home made pasta, Apple Strudel, Canederli and much more!
Thanks to German influence, the local cuisine in Bolzano and South Tyrol is considerably different than the traditional Italian cuisine. If you are used to Mediterranean food you will find local dishes to be much heavier and consistent but not less tasty.
Pork meat is widely used and one of the most traditional dishes is roasted pork shank served with potatoes. Still from the pig is obtained a raw slightly smoked ham called ‘Speck’.
If you are a dairy lover, you’ll find plenty of products coming directly from mountain farms, fresh and delicious. As for the drinks, we suggest to taste one of the several artisanal beers that locals are proud of, or try the popular aperitif Hugo made with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and fresh mint leaves. Salute.
Bolzano hosts the biggest Advent Calendar!
Located in the Center of Bolzano there is “extra-large” Advent Calendar which displays another painting every day, until December 24th, when all windows off the building will be opened. If you’d like to spend the next holiday season in Italy contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org for your customize itinerary and discover festive Italy.
Merry Christmas or Buon Natale!
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the magic atmosphere of Bolzano and that you get inspired to learn more or see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend and if you are interested in learning more about traveling to this area or any other region in Italy, please contact us for more information.