"So Italian it felt like Austria" Top 5 Page for this destination Bolzano by GentleSpirit
Bolzano Travel Guide: 232 reviews and 604 photos
Bolzano is the provincial capital of the Italian state of Alto-Adige. It was annexed by Italy following World War I, before which it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In German this region is known as Sud-Tirol (South Tirol)
To dilute the German speaking majority, the fascist government came up with a program of forced Italianization that flooded the area with Italian speakers. It apparently didn't work very well since only about 5 municipalities in the province are majority Italian speaking. Today, Bolzano is the center of a bilingual, bi-cultural province. Though Bolzano itself is no longer majority German speaking you can spend your time here speaking exclusively German and never have much of a problem.
Coming north from Verona you will see a different culture pass before your eyes. Up until about Trento you would notice the churches were traditional Italian structures, squarish or rectangular. After Trento you saw that place names were in both German and Italian. The churches you saw all suddenly had the Austrian onion domes.
I used Bolzano as a jumping off point to the mountains. Really, the main thing to see was Oetzi the Iceman, in the outstanding Museum of Archeology. Bolzano was more of a gateway to the neighboring mountain communities. Bolzano has good train connections to the rest of Italy and the region has an excellent bus network that calls at even the smallest villages. Even 10 minutes on the road up to Kastelruth you really notice the change. And driving up that mountain road is quite something, it hugs the mountains tightly, not much room for error unless you have a parachute, so you won't see anyone driving like maniacs there.
- Pros:Oetzi, beautiful bilingual-bicultural community, gorgeous setting surrounded by the Dolomites
Please note, the hotel has been refurbished and remodelled to more of a boutique hotel since my visit. I stayed one... more travel advice
The fascist government erected this monument to commemorate the victory of the Italian army over the Austro-Hungarian... more travel advice
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