A beautiful piece of earth – South Tyrol
It’s not Italy, Germany nor Austria- it’s South Tyrol. South Tyrol, whose Italian name is ‘Alto Adige’, is located in the northern part of Italy. It is an autonomous province in Italy and it is a beautiful piece of earth.I have been to South Tyrol for winter sports twice and really loved both times. Now it’s my first time here in summertime and it´s even more stunning. 95 % of the tourist that come here are retired German speakers and Italians. South Tyrol also attracts a few young families now but that’s about it. Honestly, I haven´t seen a single tourist of another nationality outside of the above mentioned. That’s the reason why I call South Tyrol ‘The forgotten paradise’.
For those who have never heard nor been to South Tyrol let me explain to you why it is worth it to visit:
1.Because South Tyrol unites two landscapes and cultures in one area:
What makes South Tyrol special to me is that I feel like I can switch between two countries and therefore two cultures within seconds. South Tyrol is literally located between the beginning borders of Italy and the end of the Alps. So basically, the landscape in South Tyrol ranges from Alpine to Mediterranean. Small villages like Schenna have to this day still maintained their Alpine flair. This landscape is characterised by breath-taking mountains and warm valleys, lined with forests, wine and apple farms. Besides that I love the crystal clear rivers and lakes, impressive castles and alpine farmhouses on top of the mountains.
Alternatively, bigger cities like Bozen and Meran which are literally around the corner, have adopted that amazing Mediterranean flair – typical Italian architecture, lines of pines trees, palms as well as olive and wine farms. This and the fact that these cities are also surrounded by mountains makes it so impressive. Honestly, I felt like I could hop between two completely different countries within 10 minutes!
2.Because of South Tyrol’s cuisine
South Tyrol has developed its own traditional cuisine. What you can find is a mixture of the best from the Alps and the Mediterranean. Traditional farmhouses and alpine huts offer simple but delicious homemade dishes like Knödel, Apfelstrudel and Krapfen. All of them are family run businesses where the grandparents have been passed the secrets of their recipes down to their children. Also all the little farms produce their own goods and have a farm shop selling unique, self-made specialities. Other specialities that South Tyrol is famous for are their smoked ham, cheese, wine. Find my recommendations where to eat in one of my next posts about South Tyrol.
3.Because of South Tyrol’s people
Especially in the small villages, everyone is really welcoming and genuine. Everytime I took a walk in the streets they would greet me and make me feel like I was a part of the community, which is super nice. Don’t be surprised though- because of their historic background there are 3 languages that are spoken in South Tyrol. They are German (with an Austro-Bavarian accent), Italian and Ladin (mostly spoken on the mountains but not by young people anymore). The reason for that is that due to a couple of historic wars that took place in the past, South Tyrol used to be part of Bavaria, Italy as well as Austria.
All the locals I met were super friendly. One of them is Matthias – he is an apple farmer who created his own liquor brand. Read his story here. Besides that I met Sieglinde. Sie lives on an alpine farm in the mountains and is making cheese there. Read her story and watch my Vlog here.
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4.Because there is so much to do
You can do so much in South Tyrol. Let me only give you a few examples:
- going on a hike
- going on a biking tour
- relax on the shores of a mountain lake or river (here you can find my post and Vlog about Lake Reschen)
- visit one of the numerous social events – especially in summertime
- do farm tours
- do wine tours
- do Gourmet tours
- go on a day trip to Lake Garda (Lago Di Garda) which is around the corner
- go on a day trip to the Dolomites
- visiting one of the parks or gardens
You still need more convincing? I don´t think so.
Give South Tyrol a try and let me show you in my upcoming posts and videos what makes South Tyrol so quaint. You are going to get to know the area, its people and my favourite spots off the beaten tracks.
Check out my first Vlog about South Tyrol: