Traveling through the northeast part of the Trentino/Alto Adige, you will discover the old world charm of Bressanone/Brixen, Italy. The quaint little town is just 25 miles northeast of Bolzano and definitely worth a visit. It is in a beautiful valley that is surrounded by orchards and vineyards that creep up the slopes of the nearby mountains.
My husband and I entered the medieval quarter through a wonderful town gate.
This is another gem of a town with narrow, twisting cobblestone pedestrian only streets lined with gabled pastel colored buildings.
The core of the old town is the Piazza del Duomo.
The pastel yellow and blue Duomo is from the 12th – 15th centuries and has two beautiful bell towers.
The inside is absolutely stunning with wonderful frescos and glass chandeliers.
Next to the Duomo is the Cathedral of the Assumption from the 10th century. We walked from one to the other through lovely cloisters.
After wandering through the streets, we went in search of a restaurant for lunch. Our track record has been amazing in finding wonderful restaurants and today was no exception. I don’t know…we must have some kind of food radar that draws us to our finds.
Our restaurant this time was Finsterwirt, that is owned and part of the Goldener Adler Hotel, located near the cathedral. The building is 500 years old and was the first hotel in the town. On the restaurant’s ground floor they have a tavern, serving traditional food, beer and wine. If you go upstairs, you will find the main restaurant which has dark wood paneling, leaded windows, and very traditional decor from the area. Here their menu specializes in regional products prepared in a modern and creative way. It was a beautiful day and we were seated on the outside terrace. It has a modern feel, with glass walls surrounding the terrace, large white umbrellas and wooden tables dressed with white table runners. Grape vines grow along and up the walls from the downstairs courtyard.
We had no idea at the time that the restaurant’s chef, Hermann Mayr is considered one of the top chefs in the South Tyrol (Alto Adige). They have served many famous heads of state as well as celebrities over the years.
For the week they were having a special menu of dishes prepared from lamb from the area. This is the menu that my husband ordered from. His starter was lamb ham served with white, yellow and red beet leaves, and an olive marinade.
His second course was breaded and fried lamb chops with herbs, served with a red cabbage and potato salad and mustard ice cream.
I ordered off their regular menu for the week My starter was goat cheese served three ways with pickled apple and onion.
My second course was a truffle risotto with savory cabbage and vegetables.
What can I say, other than the whole meal was delicious. I can see why they are so well known. Not only was the atmosphere great, but the food, wine and service could not have been better.
I cannot say enough about this area of Italy that is often overlooked by so many travelers. It is convenient to the autostrada and makes a wonderful starting point for many day trips. We could not have been happier with our visit.