Bolzano, Italy – The Gateway To The Dolomites

Bolzano, Italy is known as the gateway to the Dolomites. It is the capital of the province of Trentino/ Alto-Adige also known as the South Tyrol. In this area, all towns names are written in Italian and German. As a matter of fact, you will hear more German spoken than Italian. This is because this area of Italy belonged to Austria before WWI.

Bolzano is known for having one of the highest qualities of life in Italy. It is a lovely town that is a mix of old and new, the center of which is Walther Square.

Walther Square

The Hotel Greif…a contemporary design hotel on the inside of one of the oldest buildings on the square is where we chose to stay. We usually stay at a very traditional hotel so staying in a very contemporary one was fun. Each room is designed by a different artist and ours was really nice.

Across the square is the Gothic Duomo with a 200 foot bell tower and ornate spire. The sound of the bells was incredible. Luckily they don’t ring all night or early in the morning. The rest of the square is lined with lovely buildings, restaurants and outdoor cafes.

Outdoor Cafes

Going through one of the arches we discovered an outdoor beer garden where people were listing to a brass band.

Beer Garden

Brass Band

Down one of the side streets is the Lauben. It is a mile long street in the center of town with medieval arcades. In the same area is the Franciscan Church from the first half of the 14th century.

Cloister of 14th Century Monastery

The cloister is beautifully decorated with frescoes. We could hear chanting from the monks in one of the chapels off of the cloister.

Down another of the streets off the square there were vendors selling flowers, fruits, vegetables, cheese and cured meats. The atmosphere was wonderful…there was so much to choose from.

Street Vendors

So many cheeses to choose from

Look at the variety of breads

Flower Stand

Gelati...Is that a great ice cream truck or what

We returned to the main square to have a light meal at Walther’s. They have two large summer terraces with the best view over the square in the old town center. We shared a wonderful cream of porcini soup with rye croutons and drizzled with truffle oil. You know that this was nothing like Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup…just delicious.

Cream of Porcini Soup with Rye Croutons and Truffle Oil

Afterwards we had a pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomato and rocket.

Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Rocket

The next morning we walked out on the main square to find an antique car show. It was so much fun looking at all the little Fiat cars. Don’t you just love the convertible with its picnic basket on the back. When parked, it has an awning that covers its open top.

Antique Fiat Convertible

We then went to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology to see Otzi the Ice Man. Otzi is 5000 man that was found in 1991 with his clothes and equipment that had mummified and frozen on a glacier. It was one of the most interesting exhibits that I have ever seen.

Bolzano, though not too far off the beaten tract, is on the autostrada to the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria. It is not frequented by many American tourists…don’t miss it.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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48 Responses to Bolzano, Italy – The Gateway To The Dolomites

  1. Sue says:

    Love the flower stand! So colorful.
    I’m not much of a bread eater-but that much variety-well, even I could find something interesting.
    You really have some great pictures. I’m STILL up for adoption! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, Thank you for your very nice compliment. I thought you would enjoy the flower stand…being the great gardener that you are. I’m not a big bread eater at home but in Europe it is different. The bread is freshly bake in specialty shops. They use so many different whole grains and seeds that you know it is very healthy. You are still number 1 on my list for adoption.

  2. Oh Karen! For two years I lived an hour south of Bolzano in Rovereto, on the Italian side of the same region — Trentino-Alto Adige! We visited Bolzano often. And my then boyfriend covered the discovery of Otzi for The European newspaper! What wonderful memories this brings back! Grazie, grazie, grazie!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Natalia, Thank you for your very nice comment. I am thrilled that I have brought back memories of your living in the Alto Adige. It is such a beautiful area that needs to be visited more often. It must have been so exciting that your boyfriend was involved in covering the discovery of Otzi. It is really a wonderfully presented museum that people who get a chance to visit will really enjoy.

  3. My favorites: The bread basket and the Fiat

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your comment. Who can resist the wonderful bread in Europe. Out of all the wonderful antique cars that we saw that day, the little Fiat with its picnic basket and awning top was my favorite. A true classic.

  4. Candace says:

    It has been a pleasure following along with you on what I would consider the trip of a lifetime. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. That Fiat is fantastic!

  5. Lovely post, Karen – looks like you’re having a great time!
    I’d give my eye teeth to see the Iceman…but the chances of getting Hubby to Italy are pretty slim.
    Breathlessly awaiting the next installment!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much for your compliment. We are having a great time. Otzi the Iceman was probably one of the most interesting museum exhibits that I have ever seen. If you could see the stitching on the clothing and his hunting equipment and then realize it was from 5300 years ago…just amazing.

  6. valcitygal says:

    Fell in love with the cheeses…and all those breads – wow! Looks like heaven! :)

  7. I love Bolzano and I think is the one of the best place to stay for quality family life.

    • Karen says:

      Hello and thank you for your comment. Bolzano is just wonderful. I hope my post will encourage more people to visit this lovely area. Hope you continue to follow along.

  8. cabinet stew says:

    wow – you have thrilled me again!!! Stunning photos… and that soup!!! I practically licked the computer monitor!
    I really loved the the barrel vaulted arches photo of the cloisters – I am in art school (slowly earning my masters in Interior design) and we had a perspective drawing assignment this summer at the Boston Public Library that had a very similar archway. Minus the gorgeous frescoes and chanting monks!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you as always for your lovely compliment. The soup was delicious…fresh porcini, rye croutons and truffle oil, it doesn’t get much better than that. You are right, no chanting monks and ancient frescoes in Boston but the Boston Public Library must have been great for your architectural perspective drawing. I studied art in school also so I know what drawing assignments are all about. It is wonderful that you are working on your Masters in interior design. It is a hobby of mine.

  9. deirdrereid says:

    Oh my, you’ve found paradise here on earth. What a beautiful town. I’d want to move there immediately. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kristy says:

    Oh my gosh! Look at that shot of the cheeses! I would go crazy buying up cheeses. It’s easily one of my favorite foods on road trips. You are having one amazing trip!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, Thank you for your comment. We really are having an amazing trip. If I lived in Italy, I think I would spend a lot of money on cheese. Since I don’t, I am making sure that I eat as much as I can while I am here…like every day.

  11. Karen – this trip looks just amazing. I would like to take my Dad to Italy for our birthday. (We share a birthday on the same day in late April). I need to plan out the trip first so I can really sell him on the idea. And so I have enough time to save for it! Your blog and journal is filled with so many great ideas, I am so glad you are writing and taking photo’s!

    • Karen says:

      Hello Christine, Thank you for your visit and very nice compliment. I think it would be wonderful for you and your Dad to travel to Italy for your shared birthdays. I think planning well in advance for a trip is the right thing to do. The internet really makes it easy. Hope to hear from you again.

  12. Judy says:

    I love the photos, the memories it conjures of our short time in such a beautiful country. Savor every minute of it!

  13. ChgoJohn says:

    I’d promised myself that when I get back to Italy, I’d head north of Rome instead of east or south, like I have on my previous trips. Your “reports” only serve to strengthen that promise. Everything looks beautiful and, thankfully, the weather seems to be cooperating. Where are we going next?

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, I am so happy to know that I am inspiring you to reach out to other areas of Italy. The whole country is beautiful but it is so nice to discover new parts. Our next stop is in the Dolomite mountains. Breathtaking scenery. I hope you will enjoy

  14. Charles says:

    Since France is currently my adopted country of residence I feel obliged to scoff at the cheese and say “pff, that’s nothing compared to here!” (although they look awesome :) ) Loving seeing these photos… such a great trip you’ve been having – I’m so jealous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, I love your comments…they always make me laugh. France does indeed have wonderful cheese. Cheese is the one thing that I have everyday while traveling in Europe…the softer and stronger, the better. Thank you for your compliment on the photos…more to come.

  15. Gorgeous. Oh and to have a cheese counter like that near home.

  16. Ann says:

    FANTASTIC! When I lived in Sicily, I never had the opportunity to travel that far north. I never reached higher than Rome. What a stunning town. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ann, Thank you. Bolzano is a delightful town. Northern Italy has so much to offer. Great food and really beautiful countryside. I know your time in Sicily must have been wonderful.

  17. Rachel says:

    Thanks for sharing your vacation… wow!! Great pictures – keep ‘em coming, please!!

  18. Claudia says:

    Hey Karen! I have enjoyed reading about your trip to Italy and seeing the nice pictures of yummy Italian food. I also love Bolzano and all Alto Adige. Very beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claudia, Welcome and thank you for nice comment. I’m so happy that you are enjoying my posts. Bolzano and all of the Alto Adige is just lovely.

  19. spicegirlfla says:

    What an interesting town. I love that you traveled to unique places like this. Obviously the beer garden and band playing in those lederhosens where German influenced! The food always fascinates me and I now want a picnic basket permanetly placed in my car!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for the comment. I am glad your are enjoying the trip so far. My husband and I always enjoy traveling the back roads and where they lead to, no matter if at home or in Europe. So many of the places we have heard about all our lives are wonderful but there are so many other places to explore. The beer garden and lederhosen is very common in this area because this part of Italy was part of Austria before WWI. I just love the little picnic basket on the back of the Fiat.

  20. ambrosiana says:

    Karen your pictures are amazing!! I have been to this wonderful place called the dolomites, but never been to Bolzano. Doesn’t it feel like this is a different country??? I am so happy you are enjoying your trip!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ambrosiana, Thank you for you lovely compliment. The Dolomites are beautiful and Bolzano is definitely worth a trip. There are so many day trips possible from the area. We are having a great time.

  21. Okay…the photo of the cheese counter in the cheese shop is enough to make me run to the airport, buy a ticket and go directly to that particular cheese shop! What a wonderful trip you are on and how lucky to be travelling in one of the greatest countries in the world for so many days. I would say have fun and eat lots of good food, but it is obvious you are already doing all of that. Love your photos…Teresa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Thank you for your lovely comment. I am happy that you are enjoying the photos. We are having an absolutely wonderful trip and have not had anything but great food. The cheese selection is so great hear…can you imagine having to decide which to buy.

  22. Oh my, what a beautiful little town. I would love to wander through the little shops and enjoy a lovely lunch in the open air. It looks like the weather was perfect for you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cathy, Bolzano is a lovely little town. One little shop better than the next. We enjoyed having wine at one of the outdoor cafes and dinner at another…true bliss. The weather has been great.

  23. Between the beautiful buildings, the countryside and the food you must be having an amazing trip! I love that cheese shop – I can only imagine all of the flavors in there. Safe Travels!!

  24. lvaletutto says:

    That pizza with arugula, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella looked so good I had to go right out and order one for myself from an Italian run restaurant near here. It was delicious and reminded me of the times I’ve been to Italy several years ago… Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. Tandy says:

    thanks for this information – I think our travelling is going to be amazing, with all the places you are recommending :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tandy, So happy that you will be traveling to some of the same places as we are. Bolzano is a great town to spend a day of two in. Day trips to so many other places are possible as well.

  26. Pingback: Ciao Italia – Our Last Day In Italy | Back Road Journal

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