Day 1. Let’s Meet! Bolzano

13 Apr

view-of-dolomites-from

The view of the Dolomites from Bolzano.

Our hike in the Dolomites will begin in Bolzano, Italy, capital city of the northernmost province of South Tyrol. The people in this region speak three different languages: Italian, German, and the ancient language of Ladin. This can be quite confusing to the visitor since towns and geographic landmarks can have three different names corresponding to the three languages. Bolzano (in Italian) is also known by Bozen (German) and Balsan or Bulsan (Ladin). Bolzano is called the gateway to the Dolomites.  Tourism and agriculture (wines) and crafts are its main industries. Historically, It was conquered by the Romans in 15 B.C., but after the fall of the Roman Empire the Bavarians moved south bringing their language and culture with them. It became an important trading point on the route between Augsburg and Venice. Before World War I Bolzano was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but it was annexed by Italy following the war.  Benito Mussolini made it a priority to teach Italian to all the citizens of South Tyrol in the 1920’s, so that Italian would become the primary language over German.

Bozen_Waltherplatz

Waltherplatz

In the center of the old town is Waltherplatz with a statue of the famous German minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide.  Nearby is the Lauben, a mile-long street of medieval buildings that now house high end shops. The Archeological Museum is famous as the home of Ötzi, the Ice Man, a naturally preserved mummy of a Tyrolean man from 3300 B.C. There are Gothic and Romanesque churches as well as several castles in the vicinity. Three cable cars take visitors to a higher altitude at the foot of the Dolomites. Our group will get our first good look at the massifs from the village of Colfosco and then we will take a tram to the Puftlasch Plateau where we will view the entire Seiser Alm and the high trail that we will hike on the morrow.

The Lauben

die-laubengange IMG_0575-1024x768

The Archeological Museum, home of Ötzi.

provided-by-museo-archeologico

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2 Responses to “Day 1. Let’s Meet! Bolzano”

  1. Rampix April 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    a beautiful place

  2. Gin April 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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