“If someone who lives in the South, who comes from the South, were to hear about my delight about it, he would take me to be very childish,” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe admits in his Italian Journey, after he enthusiastically reported about his stay in Bolzano-Bozen and the coach ride through the green Adige-Etsch Valley.
The Alps were once regarded as dangerous and were avoided. But in the eighteenth century, in the light of Romanticism, the terror surrounding them was lost and turned into yearning. The wild, the undisturbed, the enchanting. The province of South Tyrol-Südtirol was the epitome of a new mindset. Poets and thinkers, researchers and discoverers all found the source of their inspiration here.
Indeed, a good many famous personalities found their way to South Tyrol-Südtirol. But other celebrities were already at home here: the Catinaccio Rosengarten, which shines back the colors of the sun, the Tre Cime-Drei Zinnen, the legendary Sciliar-Schlern, the chain of the Dolomites which, as a result of their “imposing and bizarre beauty”, were declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2009. Wild cliffs, roaring waterfalls, broad plateaus oversaturated with meadow herbs, Alpine refuges with impressive panorama views – in many areas of South Tyrol-Südtirol, Nature still reigns.
A total of seven nature parks protect the province’s breathtaking variety of flora and fauna. Each one has its own unmistakable charm, just as every valley of this province does. The distinctive Val Venosta-Vinschgau, the gentle Adige-Etsch Valley, the Val Pusteria-Pustertal valley that leads up to the high mountains, and all of the wild and ancient side valleys that run like furrows through the mountain ridges.
It is the eventful history of this small land in the mountains which manifests itself today in many areas as a harmonizing contrast, as a fascinating symbiosis of different cultural elements. South Tyrol-Südtirol unites North and South, Tyrolean sensibility and Italian sincerity, it combines this subtle mood of the thirst for action and la dolce vita.