Booking.com: best prices
Bolzano, an important regional town in north-east Italy, is in an attractive valley location surrounded by mountains and at the confluence of two rivers, and is a very pleasant town to explore.
While lacking important historical monuments you will find a vibrant atmosphere and you can pass many an hour enjoying the ambiance in the street-side cafes and bars.
Explore Bolzano: tourism and travel guide
Start your Bolzano visit at Piazza Walther in the center of the historic town. This is a good introduction to the architecture and ambiance of the town which feels and looks more German-Austrian than Italian and a pleasant square with several cafes to choose from.
The German influence can be seen across much of the South Tyrol region in the architecture, the food in the shops and restaurants, and in the language - German is commonly spoken and seen on signs in the region.
The 19th century statue in the square is of the 12th century poet Walther von der Vogelweide, after who the square is named.
The Assumption of our Lady Cathedral is also on this square. The current cathedral dates from the 14th - 16th centuries (the ornately decorated steeple was the final addition) and combines two architectural styles: Italian roman style and gothic.
The tiles of the cathedral roof are in an interesting multicoloured and patterned decorative style while inside the cathedral there are some interesting medieval (and later) paintings and frescoes.
Nearby you can see the cloisters and some medieval frescoes in the Chiesa di Domenicani.
The main street in Bolzano is the Lauben, a very long street with the medieval arcades still intact, now the main shopping thoroughfare in Bolzano. You will also find interesting architectural features on the buildings in many of the other streets around the historic centre, such ss arcades long Via Portici, gable roofs and balconies, as well as cafes and bars at every corner.
It is also worth visiting the daily fruit and vegetable market in Piazza Erbe before continuing on to admire the cloisters and carved wooden altarpiece at nearby Chiesa di Francescani.
One particular highlight of a visit is the Archaeology Museum, featuring Otzi, the remarkably intact 5000 year old mummified body found on the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 along with his clothes and weapons. The Museum of Natural Science is also interesting, and contains a substantial aquarium feature, and there is a new Museum of Modern Art in Bolzano.
Attractions in the vicinity
Bolzano is well placed to explore various castles - including the nearby 16th century Maretsch Castle, and Runkelstein Castle - and of course the scenery in the surrounding region, and is part of the South Tyrol wine route.
There are cable cars from Bolzano to several nearby highlights such as San Genesio, Renon and Colle di Villa, giving a pleasant and easy way to access and explore the surrounding scenery in the summer, of for skiing in the winter.
Where is Bolzano?
Bolzano is in the dolomite mountains in the Trentino-Alto Adige region and is centrally located in the South Tyrol, of which it is the capital.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Trentino-Alto Adige guide.