Sud Tyrol- A Hidden Gem in the Dolomites
A magical place full of stunning snow capped mountains, valleys, world class skiing.. and that’s just the start. Sud Tyrol, located in northern Italy, is a fabulous destination all year round. The countryside is gorgeous, spotted with castles, rolling hills, picturesque landscapes and medieval towns. Gourmet food is easy to find, with dozens of Michelin star restaurants, and fantastic local wine to boot.
Located in the northern most part of Italy, this area borders Austria and Switzerland. For centuries the area has been one of Europe’s main crossroads, a mixing bowl for Italian and Germanic cultures. In fact, the region was part of Austria until World War I, during which a secret treaty was signed between Italy and the Allies, promising Italy the southern part of Tyrol as a reward for entering the war on their side. Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary in 1919 and duly received the territory. This included not only the Italian-speaking province of Trento, but also the area now known as Südtirol, Sud Tyrol, or Alto Adige.
Lesser known that its famous neighbor of Cortina, the Sud Tyrol region offers much to please the senses. The Dolomites are a wonderful vacation destination for an idyllic Italian holiday, whether it be for skiing in the winter or hiking, biking and mountain sports in the warmer months.
Austrian influences can still be strongly felt today, in the architecture, culture, language, cuisine and local sentiment. Many residents consider themselves not wholly Italian, but rather Sud Tyrolian. Three distinct languages are spoken: German, Ladin (local language) and of course Italian. The entire area is clean, neat, and well organized, surely drawing from its Austrian origins.
With its complex history and spectacular landscape, the area offers much for visitors. For the foodies and gourmands, the area has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants in Italy. You may choose to indulge in fine dining at a two star Michelin restaurant, or savor the local specialties of grilled meats and homemade dumplings at a cozy “rifugio” (mountain hut).
The wine is some of the best you’ll find in all of Italy, without the price tag of Barolos or Brunellos. Local wines feature indigenous grape varietals including: Lagrein, Pinot Noir, Teroldego, Schiava (Vernatsch), Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Muller Thurgau, and Sauvignon.
Easily accessed from the Venice or Verona airport, a car is essential though mass transportation is available to help explore the valleys. Motoring up the autostrada towards Bolzano, the route speeds along the floor of a steep glacial valley, planted with thousands of fruit trees, while both sides are covered by a geometric maze of crisscrossing vineyards.
We at the Italian Concierge suggest you combine a visit here with one or two of the northern lakes, Lake Garda, Lake Como, or Lake Maggiore, and then to Verona, Verona or Milan. The best time to visit is late June to early October for hiking, or for ski season from January through March.
The active traveler can find a range of mountain sports, from hiking, biking and mountain climbing, to world class skiing on the Dolomiti Super Ski. The child friendly nature of the area makes it a perfect family vacation spot. For your next Labor Day weekend, New Years Eve ski trip, or summer hiking adventure, contact your personal Italian travel agent to plan your next customized getaway.