Mals (called Malles Venosta in Italian) is found in the north-west corner of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, close to the Italian borders with Switzerland and Austria.
Set in an open area surrounded by attractive mountain scenery, the town at Malles-Venosta is really a group of several villages: Alsago, Burgusio, Clusio, Laudes, Malles, Mazia, Piavenna, Planol, Slingia and Tarces.
Although most of these villages are very small, often just a cluster of houses around a village church, a day spent exploring them is very enjoyable.
Although it previously stood on a roman road Mals actually has its origins in medieval times, and has several interesting spired churches dating from that period. In fact, Malles itself is easily recognisable by the towers that dominate the town, with a medieval fortified tower and four church towers.
The highlight among these churches is the Church of Saint Benedict, dating from the 9th century (although substantially modified in the following centuries). The church contains the remains of some very ancient (also 9th century) frescoes - it is very unusual to find frescoes this ancient in Europe.
Another highlight of a visit is a trip to the Abbey of Monte Maria, a beautifully located monastery to the north of Mals in Burgsio. At an altitude of 1335 metres this is the highest benedictine monastery in Europe.
This 12th century abbey was substantially rebuilt and enlarged during the 17th century, when the church was redesigned in the baroque style, and then again in the 18th century to create the substantial building we see today.
You can also see some impressive mosaics and frescoes here, particularly in the original 12th century church crypt.
Also in Burgusio there is a 13th century castle, and we also suggest a visit to see the altar in the church at Tarces.
The nearby medieval town of Glorenza is also a popular and attractive place to visit near Mals, and the region is very popular with those who appreciate attractive scenery and outdoor sports.
There are several popular walks that pass through the mountains that start from here and the surrounding villages, an excellent way to appreciate the scenery which is the real highlight of a visit to the Mals region.