The less travelled part of Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige

When Italy is mentioned, cities such as Rome and Florence come to mind. In this article I will write about the hidden corner of Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige, one of Italy’s 20 autonomous regions, lies on the Austrian border in the north of the country. The region is composed of two sub-sections: Trentino is mostly Italian, while the Austrian character is dominant in Alto Adige. During our trip, we knew we moved from one section to the other, with German or Italian taking the top place in the bilingual road signs throughout the region.


map Trentino Alto Adige North ItalyMap detaıled North Italy Trentino Alto Adige Kuzel İtalyaThe road signs in Trentino-Alto Adige are all both in Italian and in German


In the region there are the cities of Bressanone, Bolzano, Merano, Chiusa, Vipiteno and Verona. We departed from Istanbul for Bologna with Turkish Airlines’ direct flight. From Bologna, we started the ride with our bus, which provided transportation between the cities in the region.

When should you go?

When I started my blog, I decided to write about my past travels as soon as I could, because I want them to go on record without getting lost. So I found my notes and photos and here I share them with you.

My travel was on December 14-17. The reason I chose this time of the year was to see the beautiful Christmas lightsshining on snow and the unique Christmas markets.

  Noel Pazarı yılbaşı süsleme christmas market

1st Day

Using the advantage of arriving with a morning flight, we set out for a ride. Our first stop is the city of Trento, the capital of the region with a population of 111,000. We walk on the lively Via Belenzani. We see the remains of the two thousand years old Tridentum and visit the historical “Duomo”.

The Duomo in Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, South Tirolduomo trento north italy trentino alto adige

Scrigno del Duomo

We have lunch in the restaurant Scrigno del Duomo. Our wine is the delightful production of Pojer e Sandri wine estate, introducing us the local Nosiola grape. I eat hand-made pasta to go with the wine; fresh and very tasty. For dessert, I taste the first “Apfelstrudel” on the trip. Apfelstrudel is a famous Austrian dessert and we are in Italy, but since the region is on the Austrian border, we will see plenty of Austrian influence. This is an example of the cultural richness of the region.

restaurant trento north italy trentino alto adigeA delicious white wine made of the Nosiola grapes of the Trento region by the producer Pojer e SandriPasta at Scrigno del Duomo in TrentoApfelstrudel in Scrigno del Duomo in TrentoThe open kitchen at Scrigno del Duomo in TrentoThe bar at Scrigno del Duomo in Trento

Vineyard Elisabetta Foradori

From here we go to the vineyards of the wine producer Elisabetta Foradori and do wine tasting. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a vineyard under the snow.

The vineyard at Elisabetta Foradori in Mezzolombardo North ItalyAnforaia at wine maker Elisabetta Foradori in North Italy

Hotel Elephant

At the end of the day we come to our hotel for a well deserved rest. Hotel Elephant in Bressanone – Brixen in German; so we come across both names – a special place that has been run since 1773 as a hotel. It is housed in a very elegant historical building built in the 1500s. One feels the elaborate design in every corner of the hotel.

Hotel Elephant in Bressanone, North ItalyHotel Elephant in Bressanone, North ItalyRoom detail of Hotel Elephant in Trentino Alto Adige, North Italy

We have a great dinner with our menu specially prepared for our group. Our wine is a delicious bottle of Lagrein grapes produced by the Mayr-Unterganzer family, which has been engaged in viticulture since 1629. The flavors, quality, ambience and service at the restaurant is very high. As a result, my best eating & drinking experience by far for the whole trip has taken place!

The dinner at Hotel Elephant in Bressanone with a tailored menu and wine selectionThe tailor made dinner menu at the Elephant Hotel in BrixenThe starter is gently smoked duck breast on apple lentil salad and aged balsamicoWine by the Mayr-Unterganzner Family in Bolzano They produce wine 285 metres above sea level since 1629,Tortelloni filled with parmesan cheese fonduta on leek cream and truffle jus at the restaurant of Elephant Hotel in BrixenThe veal filet in crunchy onions with artichoke, potatoes and sauce HollandaiseThe chestnut mousse with pickled quinces and buttermilk ice cream

2nd Day


We come to Merano, another important city in the Alto Adige region. We walk around the city streets and explore the Christmas market. Of course I don’t miss the opportunity to eat Brezel – a kind of bagel, which is common in Germany and Austria, adorned with coarse-grained salt pieces. They have made very beautiful Christmas ornaments using simple jars.  I find it really nice that nobody touches them so everyone can enjoy!

Merano in Alto Adige, South Tirol

Eating Brezel at the Christmas market in Merano, Alto AdigeThe very simple and nice Christmas decoration on the streets od Merano, Alto Adige in North Italy


Our next stop is Bolzano. We visit the historic Gothic Cathedral.

The Gothic Cathedral in Merano, Alto Adige

Then we go to Castel Roncolo; walk along the corridors and in the snow-covered garden.

Castel Roncolo in Bolzano, Alto AdigeThe garden at Castel Roncolo in Bolzano Alto Adige

Adige, Italy’s second longest river after Po, passes through the city adding beauty to it.

The Adige River running through Bolzano, Alto Adige


From Bolzano, we go to Chiusa.  We walk the streets of this charming small town and in the evening we enjoy the Christmas market.

Christmas decorations at the market in Chiusa, Alto Adige North Italy

3rd Day

Hofburg Palace and Museum

After breakfast, we visit Hofburg Palace and Museum in Bressanone. In the museum, which is the largest in the region, we see many contemporary art exhibitions along with work from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The Hofburg Palace in Bressanone, North ItalyThe garden of the Hofburg Palace in Bressanone, North ItalyHofburg Museum in Bressanone


Then we go to the town of Vipiteno. We visit the town’s Christmas market and enjoy hot
dogs and beer for lunch. Let me draw your attention to the beautiful local drape on the table!

Bratwurst in Vipiteno Christmas MarketSandwich and beer at the Christmas Market in Vipiteno, North Italy

The merry-go-round at the Christmas market reveals the child inside me!

The merry-go-round at the Christmas Market in Vipiteno, North Italy

The town welcomes us with a surprise live music concert.

Kloster Neustift

Our next stop is Neustift Abbey. We visit the 12th century monastery and church.

Kloster Neustift and their Abbazia di Novella winesKloster NeustiftKloster Neustift in North Italy

Abbazia di Novacella

Then we taste Abbazia di Novacella wines, which are their own product. My favorites are Sylvaner and Gewürztraminer

Grapes of South TirolWines of the Abbazia di Novacella in North Italy

Wine tasting at the Abbazia di Novacella in Südtirol

Soliman’s Dream

In the evening we return to Bressanone, where our hotel is, and watch “Soliman’s Dream”
sound and light show. This wonderful show in the courtyard of Hofburg Palace which we visited
before takes us to a fairy tale. According to historical records, the Asian elephant
Soliman was brought here in 1540 for King Maximilian II. The elephant, which became
the mascot of the region, lived here until 1553. This interesting story is told in the show.
We enjoy it very much except the fact that we are very cold since the show is outdoors.

4th Day

After breakfast we leave our hotel and travel to Verona, a small and compact city. We visit the Christmas market which is very crowded compared to the previous ones.

 Verona, ItalyThe streets of Verona, Italy

We come across a festival in the square, and we say goodbye to Verona, dancing and having fun with the participants dressed as Santa Claus. We leave for Bologna Airport. I buy Panettone, which is my favorite Christmas taste.

Panettone of Italy at Christmas

I will remember Trentino-Alto Adige as a very colorful and original region which is an
interesting blend of Italy and Austria.  I would like to thank Lokal Tours for this wonderful program.


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