Small but powerful. That’s also the case for South Tyrol. Superlatives are lined up next to each other on the 7,400 km2 it’s made of. Once you’ve engaged in chasing these wonders, you’ll never stop being astonished…
The largest high Alpine meadow in Europe
There are 57 km2 that make up Alpe di Siusi; that’s about the size of 80 football fields. The area belongs to the Parco Naturale Sciliar-Catinaccio nature park and is one of the most impressive landscape wonders in the Dolomites.
The Dolomites – UNESCO World Heritage Site
The beauty and unique geographical situation of the Dolomites made it so that they were declared a World Heritage site back in 2009. Just as special: the sundial of Sesto. On the day of the winter equinox, the sun is above the peak of the Zwölfergipfel at 12 o’clock, and above the peak of the Einser at 1 o’clock.
The second largest nature reserve in Alpin arc
The Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio nature park stretches over two regions. 130,734 hectare connect Trentino-Alto Adige and Lombardy. South Tyrol’s highest peak, the Ortles (3,905 m) is seen as the park’s emblem.
The highest situated vineyard in Europe
In Laudes, in Val Venosta, the Van den Dries family owns Europe’s highest situated vineyard (1,340 m). The biggest – and most probably oldest – vine in the world can be found at Katzenzungen Castle in Prissiano.
The oldest conifers in Europe
Giant larches stand at the edge of a forest in Santa Gertrude in Val d’Ultimo. They are said to be the oldest conifers in Europe. Over 2,000 annual rings could be counted on a tree that fell in 1930.
Among the tallest earth pyramids in Europe
They are up to 30 m tall and are counted among the biggest in Europe: the earth pyramids of Renon. The most impressive ones can be found at the Gasterergraben in Unterinn, at the Finsterbachgraben close to Lengmoos and in the Katzenbachgraben next to Signat.
The warmest swimming lake of the Alps
From May to September the Caldaro lake invites you to take a swim. In the summer months the water temperature rises to a luke warm 28°Celsius. The lake is also very popular with windsurfers and the perfect spot to go sailing. Conditions are perfect.
The oldest glacial mummy of the world
In the archeology museum of Bolzano you’ll find the world’s oldest glacial mummy: 5,300 year old Ötzi. The ‘Man from the Ice’ was found in 1991 at the Tisenjoch (3,210 m) in Val Senales.
One of the most popular international movie sets
The glacier in Val Senales is a popular international movie set and has been used (amongst others) for the Hollywood movie “Everest” with Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal. Side note: the highest cable car in South Tyrol opened here in 1975.
The highest situated mine in Europe
The formerly highest situated mine in Europe resides at 2,000-2,500 m on the Schneeberg. Today it is a state museum of mining. Another record: The 27 km rail transport system is the longest in the world!
The biggest private collection of armour in the world
The Churburg in Sluderno is one of the most impressive castle complexes in South Tyrol. The armour chamber is world renowned and holds more than 50 made-to-measure suits of armour of the houses Matsch and Trapp.
The highest situated sanctuary for Holy Mary in the Alps
At the Becherhaus (3,195 m), on the South Tyrolean side of the Stubai Alps, there is a little chapel called „Maria im Schnee“ (‘Mary in the Snow’, 1894). Back in the day there even used to be a priest stationed here. The Becherhaus is South Tyrol’s highest situated mountain refuge hut.
The biggest profane fresco cycle of the middle ages
The frescoes of Runkelstein Castle at the entrance of Val Sarentino, tell the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Tristan and Iseult, of jousting tournaments, knights and ladies.
The highest situated church of pilgrimage in Europe
The church of pilgrimage Latzfonser Kreuz nobly resides on the eastern part of the Sarentino Alps at 2,305 m. The pilgrimage site was built in the 19th century. It is home to the crucifix of the black god, which was used as a “Wetterkreuz” (‘Weather Cross’).
One of the largest bells in the Alpine region
On the Plan de Corones, at 2,275 m above sea level, you’ll find the peace bell Concordia 2000. She is a reminder of the site development of the hiking region and is dedicated to St. Bernard, the patron of mountaineers.
The most highly situated Benedictine abbey in Europe
The Marienberg abbey sits majestically at 1,340 m above Burgeis. Today you can find a museum about life in an abbey in the 12th century building. Good to know: this is where the traditional “Vinschger Paarl” bread has its origins.
Most probably the oldest frescoes of the german-speaking countries
The small church of St. Prokulus Kirchlein in Naturno is famous for its frescoes from the 7th century. They are counted among the most important art treasures in Central Europe. The corresponding museum is right next to the church.
The oldest cable car in the world
The cable car from Bolzano to Kohlern was the first alpine cable car for human transport in the world. It connects the provincial capital to the charming village (perfect for a refreshing summer getaway) since 1908.
The biggest apple production area of Europe
One out of 10 apples in Europe and every third apple in Italy grows in South Tyrol. 90,000 tons are produced every year, on a production area of 18,400 hectare (ca. 20,000 football fields).
The Alpine pass with the biggest freight traffic
The Brennero pass marks the border of Italy and Austria. It’s the Alpine pass with the biggest freight traffic. Works for the Brenner Base Tunnel are underway. It is said to become the world’s longest underground railway tunnel for both passenger and freight transport.
The highest density of Michelin-Star restaurants
South Tyrol’s gastronomy is over the top: it keeps raining stars up here. There are 27 Michelin stars, at the moment. This makes the most northern province of Italy the one with the highest number of Michelin stars in all of the country.
Europe’s first tri-lingual University
The Free University of Bolzano was founded in 1997. It stands for teaching and researching in three languages. Lectures, meetings and conferences are all held in German, Italian and English.
Reinhold Messner – the world’s most famous mountaineer
The South Tyrolean mountain legend was the first to ascend all 14 Eight-thousander without oxygen. He opened 6 museums dedicated to the mountains in his home country. Nowadays he works more and more as a movie producer and director.
The smallest town in the southern Alps
The 900 inhabitants make Glorenza the smallest town in the southern Alps. It is virtually unchanged since the 16th century. The town’s ring wall, labyrinthine alleys and archways are still just as charming as they were back then.