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Overview

Looking more Austrian and Alpine than Italian and Mediterranean, Bolzano is blessed with some of the best of both cultures and climates. Wander the streets and piazze of the old town to admire the plasterwork, frescoed facades and balconies, especially in Via dei Bottai, Via dei Portici Via dei Bottai and Piazza del Municipio. It’s not hard to tell that this region spent several centuries ruled by Austria and Bavaria before it became part of Italy. Much of its most precious art is in churches. Inside the Gothic Duomo (cathedral), carved wooden altars and images are embellished in polychrome and gold, and the cloister and San Giovanni chapel ...

Looking more Austrian and Alpine than Italian and Mediterranean, Bolzano is blessed with some of the best of both cultures and climates. Wander the streets and piazze of the old town to admire the plasterwork, frescoed facades and balconies, especially in Via dei Bottai, Via dei Portici Via dei Bottai and Piazza del Municipio. It’s not hard to tell that this region spent several centuries ruled by Austria and Bavaria before it became part of Italy. Much of its most precious art is in churches. Inside the Gothic Duomo (cathedral), carved wooden altars and images are embellished in polychrome and gold, and the cloister and San Giovanni chapel of Chiesa dei Domenicani are decorated in 15th-century frescoes. So is the cloister of 14th-century Chiesa de Francescani. Don’t miss the Museo Archeologico for "Oetzi," the 5300-year-old man discovered in a nearby glacier, complete with his equipment and clothing. An invigorating walk or bike ride – or a free bus ride from Piazza Walther — leads to Castel Roncolo, perched on a steep crag. On its walls is the largest collection of Medieval secular frescoes in Europe – or anywhere — presenting a rare picture of 13th-century activities, chivalry, dress and court life. Bolzano is the gateway to the Strada delle Dolomiti, the Dolomite Road across the mountains to Cortina.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Festivals: December Christmas Market brings rows of colorful street stalls. Late April Flower Market fills Piazza Walther with bloom.