Amongst the pearls of South Tyrol, Bolzano is the symbol city for encounters and exchanges between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. In the historical area, you can discover artistic and cultural treasures such as the Duomo (Cathedral) dedicated to Maria Assunta, the oldest Gothic church in the region, and the piazza dedicated to Walther von der Vogelweide, one of the greatest medieval Minnesängers.
It is here that, from 22nd November to 6th January, the Mercatino di Natale (Christmas Market) is held which, in line with tradition, features 80 exhibitors, including food stands, the Christmas Park and various other attractions. Walking through the shopping streets, you can also reach the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old mummy found encased in ice in 1991, is displayed.
When visiting the surrounding area, not to be missed is Lake Reschen, the largest in South Tyrol at six kilometres in length, located in the municipality of Curon Venosta. During construction of the basin in 1950, the entire area was flooded, leaving 163 houses and 523 hectares of cultivated land submerged. The only evidence of the past is the Romanesque bell tower rising up out of the water.
Today, the lone bell tower emerging before the majestic mountains of the wild Vallelunga has become the mythical and fascinating symbol of the Vinschgau Valley. After a highly-recommended boat tour of the lake, there is nothing better than a nice plate of speck Canederli (or Knödel, being traditional dumplings) served in broth or a plate of tagliatelle pasta with cheese straight from the malga (an Alpine shepherd’s cottage where the famed local dairy products are produced).
The Romanesque bell tower that emerges from Lake Reschen has become the legendary and fascinating symbol of the Vinschgau Valley.
For those who still want more, a little further south is the natural lake of San Valentino that descends to the Malles plain. With an area of 89 hectares, its used to be known as Lago Certosa due to once being owned by the convent of the same name in Val Senales. It is now one of the most beautiful and unspoilt in the Alps and one of the many jewels of South Tyrol, a region to be explored.
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