Bolzano is the capital of South Tyrol, one of the two provinces that constitute the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige in Northern Italy. It is home to over 100,000 citizens and is South Tyrol’s largest city.

Bolzano is one of Italy’s best cities in terms of daily living and was ranked as the city with the “Best Quality of Life” in all of Italy. Its citizens have the second highest per capita earnings in Italy, next to Milan. The city takes part in the Alpine Town of the Year Association at the Alpine Convention, which is meant to promote sustainable development in Alpine areas. Bolzano also won Alpine Town of the Year award in 2009.

The history of Bolzano dates back to 15 BC when Nero Claudius Drusus, legal stepson of Emperor Augustus, claimed Adige for himself. The land was taken over by the Bishop of Trento Ulderico II in the eleventh century and the first town center was created at that time. True construction of the city began in the twelfth century and it was then that the city officially gained municipal rights. Over time, the city grew and passed between multiple powers. Following World War I, Bolzano and the region of Trentino-Alto Adige became part of Italy per the Treaty of Saint-Germain.

Today, the city’s culture is a mix of Italian and Germanic influences. Bolzano has two official languages due to its location and history. Both Italian and German are spoken throughout the area, and the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano holds lectures and classes in three languages – German, Italian, and English. The city has been hailed for its ability to maintain and celebrate cultural differences.

The economy thrives on handicrafts, such as wood and ceramics, as well as agriculture, such as wine, dairy, and fruit, in addition to tourism.

Bolzano is a top travel destination because it features all the benefits of Alpine destinations in Europe – terrific mountain landscapes, hearty food, and rich history – with everything one would expect to find in Italy – stunning castles and churches, delicious wine, and nonstop sightseeing.


Bolzano is located in a basin where the Sarntal, Eisacktal, and Adige valleys and their rivers meet. The geography of this location made the city ideal as a trade destination since it sat directly over two main Alpine crossings. Its location in the Dolomites characterizes Bolzano physically as much as it does culturally. At its highest point, the city sits over 4,900 feet above sea level. At its lowest, it sits 760 feet above sea level.

Bolzano’s geography also means the city is located on multiple climate borders, giving the city warm summers and Alpine winters. The average high during warm months is around 84°F while the average low during wintertime is 23°F. The surrounding mountains help shield the city from too much wind, making most days outside of winter and autumn warm and temperate.


Explore the medieval town center. The architecture, the people, the shops, the fruit and vegetable markets – it all makes for a one-of-a-kind cultural experience.

Attend cultural events and festivals such as the Bolzano Christmas market, the food festival called Speckfest, and the famous Südtirol Jazzfestival. All of these events highlight the best that Bolzano and the South Tyrol area has to offer.

Visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology to see Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,000-year-old mummy that is on display with his original tools, equipment, and clothing. As the oldest natural mummy found in Europe, Ötzi offers true insight into ancient life in the Dolomites. Most visitors are amazed by the skills and grit needed to survive in the frigid temperatures of this area during the Stone Age. Other museums to visit in Bolzano include the Messner Mountain Museum located in the Sigmundskron Castle near Bolzano, which traces the history of man’s interaction with the mountains with a focus on mountaineering and Alpine tourism. Also of interest is the Museion where works of modern and contemporary art are on display.

Soak up the splendid architecture throughout the city, which reflects the various influences that make Bolzano the unique city it is today. From medieval castles to Gothic churches to Baroque palaces, the structures of Bolzano paint a picture of its history. Some of the best architectural sites in Bolzano include the thirteenth century Dominican Church, the city’s gothic style Duomo, and the Old Parish Church of Gries.

Take in art via the city’s museums or stroll through the streets and admire the colorful façades and historic frescoes.

Enjoy cuisine that is the best of Germanic and Italian food. Corner side bakeshops sell fresh baked goods, particularly German-inspired bread. Local cafés dish out hearty, Alpine meals full of meat, vegetables, and flavorful spices. Restaurants and bars offer traditional Italian cured meats and cheeses as well as classic pasta dishes and locally produced Italian wine. Small pubs serve up German beer and snacking sausages. Desserts consist of Austrian specialties such as strudels and the rich chocolate cake known as Sachertorte.

Shop on the historic street, Via dei Portici, complete with modern boutiques as well as small shops which sell local handicrafts.

Take a cable car from Bolzano to other mountain cities and enjoy the spectacular view of the area’s incredible geography. Another way to embrace the geography of the area is to explore the countryside on foot or by bicycle. The region is filled with walking, hiking, and cycling trails where travelers can enjoy nature.

Travel to Bolzano to discover the unique Germanic and Italian influences of the city and surrounding region. Visitors to the city will be amazed by the Alpine views, historic architecture, beautiful artworks, rich handicraft traditions, and delicious cuisine.

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