Over the past month we’ve enjoyed plenty of sunshine in the Stubaital, and we’ve discovered many new walking trails and an exciting new excursion destination. With the Italian South Tyrol within such easy reach, a visit to the regional capital of Bolzano makes for an exceptional day of exploring.
A visit to Bolzano begins with the Rennon cable car, which ascends to the sunny plateau of Rennon, at an altitude of 1200m. Our journey takes us towards Soprabolzano, where a narrow gauge tram to Collalbo provides access to walking routes down the otherworldly Finsterbach valley.
This pleasant walk takes about 30-mins. Along the way will see a fantastic natural phenomenon known as “the Earth Pyramids”. Tall columns of clay with huge boulders balanced on top, the Earth Pyramids are a unique natural phenomena in the Alps. There are also stunning views all the way to the Dolomites and the Marmolada glacier. The signed route is easy to follow, and there are many places to stop for lunch along the way.
Returning via the cable car, the descent offers great views of the city which is surrounded by vineyards. Following our return, we set off to the city centre on the hunt for a 5,300-year-old mummy. After a short walk through the cobbled streets, we reach the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology and a display known as Ötzi the Iceman.
Preserved in the ice, the mummified body of Ötzi was discovered in 1991. There has long been debate over the remains of Ötzi, specifically if he was found on the Italian or the Austrian side of the border. Especially fascinating is over whether he had been murdered or not. Both debate when it was realised exactly how old the body was. Both countries laid claim to him, and the murder case rocketed back and forth across the border!
We thoroughly recommend visiting the museum and discovering Ötzi’s story for yourselves. His body is kept in a specially configured refrigerator with a display window. Along with the mummy, the clothing and items found with him that have been painstakingly restored.
Near to the museum is a small street market. It’s a great place to browse for souvenirs to take home and local produce to try. A quiet walk through the town will take you to the beautiful cathedral, the Duomo di Bolzano. Finally, we recommend finishing the day at the Piazza Walther Platz where you can indulge in an authentic Italian gelato while sitting by the fountain surrounded by flowers.