When you picture Italy, you most like think of pizza, wine, the coliseum, and most of all, the Italian language. However, were you aware that there is a small part of Italy that speaks predominantly German? South Tyrol (or Alto Adige as it’s called in Italian) is an interesting mix of Italian and Austrian cultures, combining the best of both worlds.
Located in the Alps in the northeastern part of Italy, South Tyrol has its roots in Austro-Bavarian heritage. After being annexed from the Austro-Hungarian County of Tyrol, South Tyrol became part of Italy in 1919.
This area of Italy encompasses much of the Alpine culture you would find in Austria. Located on the hills and valleys for the Dolomite mountains, South Tyrol is home to some of Italy’s finest farmland and is known for producing apples, speck, and wines such as ‘Lagrein’.
The area is popular for German tourists who can feel at home while speaking their only language. With only a short distance to travel, they can experience this unique combination of Italian and German culture while taking in the spectacular landscapes.
The summers are filled with festivals that take place in the mountains. Inhabitants of the valleys tend to have second homes in the mountains to get away from the heat that is trapped between the mountains during the long summer days. This climate produces the perfect environment to grow vineyards, which can be found terraced up the sides of many of the mountains as you drive through the valleys.
The winters in South Tyrol bring on ski season. Travelers are never far from a ski hill, with many diverse choices located within a 45 minute drive. Whether you are traveling with the family or looking for adventure, there is a ski hill that will fit your needs.
So if you are thinking about your next vacation, try getting off the beaten path to see a different part of Italy. Check out South Tyrol, you will not be disappointed.