Visitors guide to South Tyrol

Mountain view in South Tyrol, taly

South Tyrol view ©m.prinke/Flickr

South Tyrol is a rich and beautiful region with an incredible amount of attractive features relative to its size. They have got more than 10,500 miles of hiking and walking trails and 370 miles of valley bicycle paths. If you are a nature lover as well, South Tyrol is paradise!

What I love the most is that there are about 400 castles and manors in the region, 150 out of which can be visited. With this short guide to South Tyrol and the video below I hope to introduce you to one of my favorite parts of all of Europe. 

Things to know about South Tyrol

The region has got about half a million inhabitants, the largest city, Bolzano or Bozen, giving home to about 100,000 of the people. The province enjoys a very far reaching autonomy within Italy.

The province has three official languages: German, spoken by a majority of 70%, Italian, spoken by 25% of the people and the most peculiar one, Ladin, a Rhaeto-Roman language spoken by 5% of the population that mostly live in Val Gardena and Alta Badia.

Mountain view in South Tyrol, Italy

View in South Tyrol ©m.prinke/Flickr

South Tyrol – the region of superlatives

You have probably heard of Ötzi, the oldest mummified human body, frozen into a glacier about 5,300 years ago. The old fellow now resides in the Bolzano Archeological Museum.

One can also find the world’s largest interconnected ski area partly in South Tyrol. The area is called the Dolomiti Superski group and it consists of about 745 miles of downhill runs. Also there are many ski destinations in Germany close by which worth a visit. Want more natural wonders? The Lago di Caldaro or Kalterer See in German is the warmest lake in the whole alpine region!

Tyrolean traditions and customs

During the Napoleonic wars the Tyrolean people created a bond and asked for the protection of Christ against the nearing army. To commemorate this event they are lighting beacons across the mountains every year in early summer. It is something stunningly beautiful!

Sheep led to the mountains for Transhumance

Transhumance – Sheep led to the mountains ©MONT AIGOUAL/Flickr

Transhumance is an ancient and very interesting custom linked to high mountain farming. The farmers send their livestock up to the high mountain pastures for the summer in order to preserve the grass on the valley pastures for the harsh winter months. They would send a shepherd with the animals to take care of them and only drive them back down before the winter. It is very nice to catch some herds of sheep or other animals on the side of a mountain in the summer!

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