Here I am with my promised post about another escape to a beautiful place on this planet: South Tyrol. Although it sounds like it was a part of the Austrian federal state Tyrol, it is not.
First, I would like to start with some facts:
South Tyrol (German: Südtirol; Italian: Alto Adige; Ladin: Südtirol) is an autonomous province in northern Italy, one of the two that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province is the northernmost of Italy, the second largest, with an area of 7,400 square kilometres (2,857 sq mi) and has a total population of 531,178 inhabitants as of 2019. Its capital and largest city is Bolzano (German: Bozen; Ladin: Balsan or Bulsan).The Atlas Tyrolensis, showing the entire County of Tyrol, printed in Vienna. 1774
According to the 2011 census, 62.3% of the population speaks German as first language (Standard German in the written form and an Austro-Bavarian dialect in the spoken form); 23.4% of the population speaks Italian, mainly in and around the two largest cities (Bolzano and Merano); 4.1% speaks Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romance language; 10.2% of the population (mainly recent immigrants) speaks another language natively.
It was also a major issue under Mussolini and later under the Nazi regime. After World War II, it was decided that South Tyrol would remain Italian territory, which led to many riots and uprisings. There were countless bloody terrorist attacks because the majority of the South Tyrolean population felt they belonged to Austria and thus fought back.
The issue was resolved in 1971, when a new Austro-Italian treaty was signed and ratified. It stipulated that disputes in South Tyrol would be submitted for settlement to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, that the province would receive greater autonomy within Italy, and that Austria would not interfere in South Tyrol’s internal affairs. The new agreement proved broadly satisfactory to the parties involved, and the separatist tensions soon eased.
The new autonomous status, granted from 1972 onwards, has resulted in a considerable level of self-government, also due to the large financial resources of South Tyrol, retaining almost 90% of all levied taxes.
For more (historic) details please read the whole article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Tyrol
But now to our weekend trip. First I will show photos of the ride through breathtaking, completely different areas. We crossed two mountain passes: the Flüela Pass and the Oven Pass. I wish we could have stopped to take photos at each place where I was positively overwhelmed by the fall colors. But at least I got a few:
Next, you will see photos of Merano and its magnificent Trauttmannsdorff Castle (the autumn residence of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria). This castle is surrounded by a huge botanical garden with a variety of plants and themed areas in a partially terraced arrangement. A walk through the entire garden would take an entire afternoon. Although I am afraid of heights, I managed to walk over one of the two viewing platforms. It was more than worth the attempt.
The following photos show the beautiful little town of Bolzano/Bozen. It is only half an hour away from Merano, where we had our hotel.
Besides the beautiful landscape, I have been more than impressed that on almost every smaller hill or rock, there is a castle or church. We visited one of these castles on the way back. It belongs to Tyrol, a village that towers directly over Merano. To avoid confusion with the Austrian province of “Tyrol”, the village is called “Village Tyrol”. The name of the castle is also Tyrol. We went there in the morning when it was still cloudy. But we were so lucky that later in the morning, the sun came out again.
South Tyrol is a jewel. It was the first time I visited it consciously. I am sure it was not the last time.
In Love and Light