Bolzano/Bozen, Trentino Italy

Bolzano/Bozen  is the capital city of South Tyrol, the German speaking region in the northern part of Italy. Bolzano is the largest city in the region.

Bozen Tourist Office Waltherplatz 8 (+39 0471 307000, info@bolzano-bozen.it) – The Bozen’s Tourism Board has an information office right in the Walther square on the right. You can get information about the city and the neighbouring areas and also take some free brochures and maps of the city (ask also for the free cityguide). The tourism board’s web site has been recently renewed and now it’s a well-designed web site which provides a lot of useful information. On the web site is possible to download some brochures and the city map. If you are looking for the whole metropolitan area consider to check the web site of the Bolzano Surroundings Tourist Association with information about the city and Southern South Tyrol (the holiday region promotes in English under the name ‘South of Südtirol’ on logos and ‘South of South Tyrol’ on written publications).

BM – Bolzano Bozen Magazine the Tourism Board  (Website) publishes this trilingual (English, German, Italian) magazine with a lot of information about the city. You can find it in the tourism office, in the railway station and hotels. Free.

Inside – events in south tyrol bilingual (German, Italian) pocket calendar with all events in Bozen and in South Tyrol. The index is written in English. You can find it everywhere. Free. Also online available. Website

The South of Südtirol Magazine is published yearly by the tourist association of the Bolzano metropolitan area which useful including events also in the surrounding area. You can find it in tourism offices and in hotels for free.

Everyday local newspapers in German (Dolomiten, Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung) or Italian (Alto Adige, Corriere dell’Alto Adige) publish all the events, theatrical performances, films at cinema and other useful (if you understand German or Italian) information

The city’s with its medieval city center, Gothic and Romanesque churches and bilingual signage give it a unique flavour of a city at the crossroads between Italian and Austrian cultures. This, and its natural and cultural attractions make it a renowned tourist destination.

Download Map_of_Bolzano in PDF here

Among the major monuments and sights are:

  • Walther Square, with a statue of Walther von der Vogelweide, a German minstrel (minnesinger)
  • the Lauben, a mile long street in the city center with medieval arcades along its entire course, now housing countless high street shops
  • the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which hosts the mummy of Ötzi the Iceman
  • the Gothic Cathedral, started in 1184, expanded in the 14th century by architects Martin and Peter Schiche (completed in 1382)
  • the Old Parish church of Gries, with the Altarpiece of Michael Pacher
  • the monastery of Muri-Gries, with baroque paintings of Martin Knoller
  • various castles, including Castle MaretschRunkelstein Castle and Firmian/Sigmundskron Castle
  • Victory Monument, a Victory gate built on orders from Benito Mussolini in 1928
  • Messner Mountain Museum of Reinhold Messner

Bolzano is connected to the highway A22-E45 to Trento and Verona and to Innsbruck (Austria) and Munich (Germany).

The city is also connected to the Italian railway system. Bolzano railway station, opened in 1859, forms part of the Brenner railway (Verona–Innsbruck), which is the main railway route between Italy and Germany. The station is also a junction of two branch lines, to Merano and Mals,respectively.

Different airlines provide flights from Bolzano Airport (IATA: BZO) to Rome, Vienna, Milan and other destinations.

Driving inside the city makes no sense – the public transport system is more than enough for traveling inside Bolzano. In the rush hours traffic is intense. However the main streets for car circulation are ring road along the Eisack river in the South, the Drusus road from West to the centre, the Italy avenue, the Freedom avenue, and the Rome street in the new city. Circulation in the historical centre is forbidden and the city centre is forbidden for the EURO 0 cars. In winter (from November to March) the whole city is forbidden for the EURO 0 cars in order to prevent from air pollution. In cases of high concentration of polluted substances the streets are forbidden also for EURO 1 cars. On the web site of the City of Bolzano there is a map of the interested areas and other info (only in German and Italian)

Bolzano has an excellent public transport system, which includes buses, cableways and commuter rail.

Cableway

Bolzano is also connected with three mountain villages around the city by three cableways. If you want to go to Ritten/Renon or Jenesien/San Genesio you can use the “Value Card”: a one-way ticket for Ritten costs EUR 2.50 (EUR 2.28 with Value Card) and for Jenesien costs EUR 2.00 (EUR 1.90 with Value Card). On the Ritten there is also a trolley car which brings from Oberbozen at the cableway station to Klobenstein which is the main place on the plateau. If you want to go to Kohlern-Colle you have to buy an extra ticket – trips every 30 minutes from 07:00AM until 07:00PM in winter and 07:30 in summer during the week (08:00AM-19:00PM in winter and 08:00AM-19:30PM in summer with a break 12:00-1:30PM in winter and 12:00-1:00PM in summer).

Museums

  • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology – Websitewww.suedtirol.info
  • Museion – Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art – Websitewww.museion.it
  • Messner Mountain Museum Firmian – Websitewww.messner-mountain-museum.it
  • South Tyrol Museum of Natural Science – Website: www.naturmuseum.it
  • Municipal Museum – Website: www.bolzano.net/en/municipal-museum

Museumnovember. Every year in November all Bolzano’s museums offer special exhibitions and entertainment. The last Saturday of November or the fist of December museums are open until 1 AM (The Long Night of Museums) and the admission is free

Monument of Walther von der Vogelweide is a statue situated at the centre of the Walther square. The Fascist administration in 1935 deplaced the statue to an other park and Walther came back to the Walther square only in 1984.

Victory Monument is a controversial monument on the other bank of the Talfer river and was built by the Fascist Italy in 1928 as a nationalist symbol and for celebrate the Italian victory during WW1. On the front, written in Latin, is a sentence which affirms the Italic superiority over the Germanic people. During the 60s and 70s some South Tyrolean activists attempted to damage the monument but without effects. Now the Monument is under protection of the Italian State. There is a table on the way from the Talfer Bridge that explains how the City of Bozen feels about the monument. The Italian Ministry for Conservation of Ancient Monuments would not allow the city to post the tables on the grilles in front of the Monument.

Churches

  • Cathedral Gothic-Romanesque building dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption built between the 13th and the 16th century with a lot of important frescoes and sacred arts. It’s supposed that the church was built over a Roman basilica. Partly damaged during WW2 was renovated after the war.
  • Dominican’s church The first Gothic building in South Tyrol contains frescoes of the Giotto School.
  • St Augustine Church The church located in Gries is one of the most important examples of baroque in South Tyrol. Before the secularization it was a church of the Augustinian order – now it belongs to the Order of Saint Benedict from Muri in Aargau, Switzerland. Valuable paintings of local painter from Wipptal Martin Knoller. It forms a single complex with the annexed older Abbey of Muri-Gries.

Palaces and castles

Runkelstein Castle – The castle was built in the 13th century and it’s seat of interesting temporary exhibitions

Maretsch Castle –The castle is situated on the valley near the city centre surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Now it’s a conference centre. Visits on Tuesday.

Mercantile Palace –  was built between 1708 and 1716 by the architect Francesco Pedrotti from Verona and it’s an important piece of Baroque architecture. It holds the Mercantile Museum.

Parks

Walther square is called the ‘gute Stube’ or ‘salotto buono’ (good parlour) is the most famous square of the city. The square is surrounded by buildings in Austrian style. At centre of the square is situated the statue of Walther Von der Vogelweide. The square was built in 1808 during Bavaro-Napoleon’s domination. The square changed name five times: ‘Maximilan Square’ dedicated to the King of Bavaria (1808-1815), ‘Johannes Square’ dedicated to the Kaiser’s brother Archduke Johann (1815-1901), finally ‘Walther Square’ (1901-1925). During the Fascist period the name was changed and the square took the name of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. In 1946 the name changed for the last time (Our Lady square) before becoming ‘Walther Square’ in 1947. In 1985 the first McDonald’s in Italy opened on Walther Square, in the place of the current Stadtcafé (a more modern McDonald’s is now located in South Bolzano/Bozen).

Fruit market’s square is one of the oldest squares of Bozen and now like in the past holds the fruit market.

Victory square is a controversial square behind the Victory Monument and it’s symbol of Italian nationalism. In 2002 the city administration wanted to reconcile the population of the two ethnic groups changing the name into Peace square. The majority of the Italians didn’t appreciate the gesture and opposed. The Italian right wing parties (for the name dedicated to the Italian victory during WW1) wanted a referendum which was won by the old name. Now the tables display the name Victory square (former Peace square).

Skiing

South Tyrol is full of ski resorts. The more ‘Bolzanian’ ski resorts are the Rittnerhorn (Website: www.ritten.com) (20km from Bozen) and Reinswald (Website: www.sarntal.com) (30km). Both web sites are in English available. Other nearby ski resorts are Carezza (Website: www.carezza.it ) (25km), Meran 2000  (30-35km) or the very well known Val Gargena (Website: www.val-gardena.com) (40km) which is part of the Sella Ronda ski circuit.

Shopping streets

  • Arcades (Lauben) Is one of the most famous shopping streets in Italy with both traditional and international chains.
  • Greif Center Is a modern and luxurious gallery near Walther square.
  • Dr Streiter Lane It’s the opposer and parallel street of the Arcades (Lauben) with traditional chains.
  • Arcades of Freedom’s avenue The Corso is composed by the ‘Italian’ arcades.

Markets

  • Saturday market Every Saturday in the Victory square and border streets.
  • Fruit market Every day in the square with the same name in the historical centre.

Christmas markets

The ‘Christkindlmarkt‘ takes place every year from the last Friday of November to 23rd December in the Walther square with 80 stands. A second Christmas market called ‘Winterwald’ (Winter wood) takes place near Walther square in Palais Campofranco’s yard with 14 stands. In the same period in the historical centre take place other markets too: the ‘Handwerksmarkt’ in the Municipal square and the Christmas market of solidarity in some streets of the historical centre. Occasionally we can find smaller ‘Christkindlmärkte’ or Advent markets in other parts of the city.

  • Winterwald – Palais Campofranco’s yard
  • Christkindlmarkt – Walther square
  • Bolzano is one of the safest cities in Italy and generally tourist don’t have problems.

But anyhow, beware of African migrant vendors in the streets: most of the merchandise they sell is imitation/fake luxury goods. You can get a very high fine in Italy for purchasing imitation/fake goods.

Post office

In Bolzano there is at least one post office in each district. The two main post offices are open from M-F 8am-6:30pm and Sa 8am-12pm – on Sunday closed. Other post offices are open from M-F 8am-1:30pm and Sa 8am-12:30pm. The post office at Fair Quarter is open from M-F 8am-2pm.

Main Post Office Bolzano, Pfarrplatz/Piazza Parrocchia, 13 In the city centre near the Cathedral.
Post Office, Duca-d’Aosta-Straße/Via Duca d’Aosta, 104 In the new city in front of Hadrianplatz/Piazza Adriano

Banks

There are above 60 bank branch offices. The most important banks in South Tyrol are the Südtiroler Sparkasse (Savings Bank), the Südtiroler Volksbank (People’s Bank), the Raiffeisen Bank and the Bank für Trient und Bozen (Bank of Trento and Bolzano).

The offices are open normally 8:05am-12:55pm and 2:45pm-4pm to 4:30pm. Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday (a few banks are open on Saturday). At every bank and other places you can find simply an ATM.

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