"Bressanone:A nice,old town in a beautiful area" Top 5 Page for this destination Bressanone by christine.j

Bressanone Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 92 photos

Bressanone/Brixen: A bilingual town

Bressanone (Italian) or Brixen (German) is situated in a beautiful valley in the Italian alps. It's a bilingual town, all street signs are in Italian and German and all people speak both languages.In fact, they actually speak three languages, as among themselves they use their local dialect, when dealing with German tourists they switch to standard German and dealing with Italian tourists they speak Italian. All this is done with complete ease. I've even heard small children switching languages matter-of-factly , really amazing.
But it's only people who are bilingual. I was walking down one of the small alleys when an old lady next to me surprised me with some loud Italian phrases. There was nobody else around, so I assumed she was talking to me and I was going to tell her that I hadn't understood. She smiled at me and said she had been talking to her dog. He didn't understand German, she said. Her dog, a German Shepard, looked at us as if he was saying:"What else do you expect me to learn?"
The picture was taken on one of my hikes. You can see the town in the valley. Since I was there late September, early October, the leaves were changing colour, really beautiful.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Hiking, history and good food
  • Cons:If you don't like hiking, it can be boring
  • In a nutshell:It deserves to be better known
  • Last visit to Bressanone: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (9)

Comments (15)

  • Nov 15, 2010 at 11:00 PM

    sounds like an interesting place, and a beautiful one, especially in that opening pic!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    Looks like my kind of place here Your story on the dog had me laughing here :) I often talk to my dog in a different language and she always seems to understand!

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    What a postcard perfect intro photo!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    I always like these bilingual places; very interesting to hear who talks which language to whom. I've never seen a warning sign like that, but I saw a flash flood once, in New Mexico, & I have great respect for them. (JLBG has a photo on one of his tips.)

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2008 at 12:11 PM

    German Shepards understand not only German and Italian - they are multilingual essences, I believe (they understand Russian as well)! Bressanone reminded me Baden-Baden. Thanks Christine for sharing!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2008 at 2:10 AM

    Lovely little town in the heart of the mountains, and multilingual too. Loved the painting of the horsey elephant and the 'Italian-speaking' dog.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2007 at 3:02 AM

    Looks a beautiful area. Thanks for birthday wishes and ratings. Yes, the Furness train line is running as normal, now.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Ah, you make me curious about this gorgeous part of Italy :-) I was in Mauls very often and loved it :-) And I have still tears in my eyes from laughing about the Schäferhund speaks Italian story :-) Hihi, that's Südtirol :-)

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2007 at 12:31 AM

    the best part of italy , close to germany, austria and venice

  • craic's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2007 at 9:08 AM

    I like hiking - so cool


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