Two cultures and languages meet in Bolzano Bozen, South Tyrol’s principle town and administration centre. Since time immemorial travellers, merchants and artists inevitably passed through the town on their way north to central Europe, or south to Italy. The lively exchange has strongly characterised the townspeople’s cultural life and cosmopolitan attitude.
Today Bolzano is a modern European town in which Italian and German are spoken (German-speakers predominate in the countryside while in Bolzano almost three-quarters speak Italian as their first language). The vicinity of the Dolomites, the trendy boutiques beneath the medieval arcades called the Lauben in the historic centre, the variety of museums including the Archaeological Museum and its most famous exhibit, “Ötzi”, the 5.300 year-old “Man from the Glacier”, as well as the numerous cultural events, the three cable cars which whisk passengers up to cool elevations on the Ritten, Tschögglberg and Kohlern mountains in minutes, and the town’s central location in the heart of Europe combine to make Bolzano uniquely attractive.
Ritten cable car. The new Ritten gondola lift transports commuters and hikers from Bolzano up to a plateau straddling the 4.300 ft elevation line in just 15 minutes. www.ritten.com
Kohlern cable car. The top terminal of the world’s first passenger aerial cable car (1908), now modernised, affords marvellous views of the surrounding mountains. www.kohlererbahn.it
The Jenesien cable car connects every half hour the town with the Salten Plateau, where the larch-studded meadows attract walkers and riders. www.jenesien.net