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Top 5 attractions in Bolzano

Bolzano is one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy as well as being the gateway to the magical world of the Unesco Dolomites and perfectly portrays the fusion between Mediterranean and Central European culture and traditions. The Ice Man One of Bolzano’s most famous attractions is a 5300 year old man. He was found in 1991 by pure chance in the mountains between Italy and Austria. He now abides in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where all the information gathered during the years after his discovery are clearly portrayed. The museum is a tribute to Otzi, the Iceman, the oldest natural mummy in Europe, and all that his recovery has been able to clarify into the conditions and environment of his time. The mummy itself is stored in a cold cell and can be seen through a small window, while all his belongings have been carefully restored to portray the skills of that period. Via dei Portici The street of arcades is the oldest street in town and the main shopping hub. The arcades were built to shelter merchants and their wares from snow and sun and are still a great refuge on a rainy day. Both sides of the street are lined with stores of all genres with narrow alleys leading off to the connecting streets. Although not completely traffic free as bicycles are allowed, one should take a risk and walk in the middle of the road gazing upwards at the artistic and colorful facades. You can start walking along this street form the municipality square with it’s ancient buildings all the way to Piazza delle Erbe with it’s lively fresh produce market. Fishmarket Bar The old Fish Market with it’s original marble display tables and the fountain once used to wash the fish, has been turned into a quirky and unusual bar. Open only in the warmer months as all seating is located along a quiet and traditional cobblestoned alley. Mostly frequented by locals for an apperitivo it is also perfect for a light meal with a large selection of bruschetta and salads on offer. Cobo and his staff are friendly and welcoming and offer a colorful and eccentric atmosphere. A great place to relax and do some people-watching. Dominican Church This rather plain church is located close to the main cathedral and with it’s beautiful cloister and annexed building is what remains of the original Gothic monastery built in the 13th century. The church hides a true gem in one of it’s hidden chapels, the Chapel of St.John, a frescoed treasure. Quite a surprise after the rather plain exterior and interior of the main church, this chapel is covered with important and ornate frescoes of the famous school of Giotto. Renon Plateau The Renon Plateau above Bolzano is where the aristocracy of the city would climb to escape the summer heat. Today the plateau is accessible via a large cable car from the center of Bolzano offering magnificent views over the city and it’s surroundings. The area is made up of 17 villages, scattered amidst vineyards and high alpine pastures. Some of these villages are connected via a traditional railway which winds itself through woods and meadows, allowing passengers to get on and off at every stop to enjoy some of the many scenic hikes along the way. The climate here is mild all year round and the views are unbeatable. The imposing Dolomites can be seen from the center of Bolzano and can be easily reached via train or car. They are a rather unknown but wonderful area of Italy not to be missed. Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana. Boutique Hotel Zenana is a charming, family-run B&B in the mountain town of San Candido/Innichen in the UNESCO Dolomites. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. It is such a long time since I’ve visited Bolzano that the Ice Man had not even been discovered when I was last there in the 1980s.

    I’m fond memories of the classic architecture and the real family atmosphere of huge families eating together al fresco.

    Take the train North to Austria for some astounding alpine scenery.

    1. An old friend of mine from high school adores Austria. He’s a big skier too so I think that’s part of the appeal. I wonder how much Bolzano will have changed since the 80s when you were last there. Would you ever want a return visit one day? :)

  2. I’m surprised that more people don’t take advantage of Bolzano’s charms. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have passed through briefly on their route into the mountains or north to Austria but Bolzano deserves more than that, it’s preserved a surprising amount of its original integrity. Also the people seem to have more time for visitors than in some of Italy’s bigger and more pressured cities.

  3. I’ve never actually seen a photo of the Ice Man mummy so I’m not sure what kind of condition it’s in. It’s still amazing as a random discovery like that. I imagine it’s a popular part of the archaeological museum for tourists. I like classic markets like the Fish Market you’ve listed here. There’s something down to earth and authentic about them. With this being closed in the off season and colder months, do other markets and places around there do the same and operate more as a warm weather affair? I assume a lot don’t, and that the cable car runs year round. It would be a shame to go to Bolzano without going in the cable car, unless you have a fear of heights, to get that view at the top.

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