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Glorenza is a charming fortified medieval town surrounded by the hills of the South Tyrol, and officially classed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Glorenza is often called Glurns by those outside Italy.
The city walls that still surround Glorenza are perfectly preserved , as are the semicircular towers and the three ancient gateways that allow entrance to the town. These Renaissance walls, with their three middle ramparts and four corner bastions, are the most extraordinary historical monument in Glorenza.
The walls testify to the military origins and importance of the ancient "Burgum Glurns" at the time that Maynard II (1238-1205), then reigning Prince of Tyrol, gave the title of 'civitas' to the town.
The most prosperous period for the town was between the 13th and 16th centuries, and several of the most important monuments in Glorenza date from this period. As well as the walls, among the more interesting are the 13th century arcades (“Portici”), a number of patrician houses from the 16th century.
As you stroll through the pleasant village centre be sure to also see the Castel Glorenza, a manor house with a courtyard, tower and residential wing; and the Frölich House, an elegant corner house with a sundial decorated with coats of arms and a façade painted with a Renaissance allegory of the seven deadly sins (unfortunately only the pictures of the 'Pride' and 'Avarice' survive today).
The Parish Church of St. Pancrazio is a late gothic style building, although of romanesque origin and with a baroque bell tower.Just outside the city walls next to the Adige River the church contains some interesting furnishings and tombstones.
The highlight is certainly a remarkable fresco of the "Last Judgement", a work influenced by Michael Pacher (1435-1498).
Among the cultivated fields outside the walls you can see the church of Saint James al Maso Söles which is a late gothic building erected in 1570 by Prince Bishop of Salzburg Johannes Khuen-Belasi, but with origins that date back to 1220: it is the oldest church in the Tyrol.
In 1499 the church was destroyed by a fire, to be rebuilt in 1570 in the Gothic style. In 1799 another fire destroyed the church. In 1993 some parts of the original church and numerous fragments of frescoes came to light during the restoration work.
Church Gate history exhibition
If you are interested in the local history of Glorenza we suggest that you visit the historical exhibition in the Church Gate (also known as the Tubre Gate), which is set over four floors.
On the ground floor there are some ruins that recall the salt trade and the supervisory role of the city gates. The parapet walk then illustrates the reconstruction and fortification of the city in the 16th century, while other exhibits explain the founding of the city. On the top two floors are further curiosities from in and around Glurns (Glorenza).
Highlights close to Glorenza
Near to Glorenza and also worth a visit is the Benedictine Abbey of Montemaria, with a crypt decorated with frescoes from the Romantic age, and the Col Tarces, a site with a small pre-Romanesque church and containing frescoes from the Carolingian age.
You should visit Castel Coira, an imposing structure dating back to the 16th century. The different castle buildings here are grouped around a courtyard with a three-level loggia which includes Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance elements. There are also some rare Italian armatures from the 14th century
Particularly remarkable at Castel Coira is the group of paintings depicting scenes from Aesop's Fables, such as the Crow and the Fox (a 16th century fresco by Paul Moritsch), the Wolf and the Stork, the Fox and the Wolf, the Monkey and the Peacock. High up on three sides there are allegorical paintings of the months and golden and white sculptures of zodiac signs, such as Jupiter, Moon and Sun.
Enjoying the cuisine of Glorenza
If you want to sample the typical country cuisine of the Alto Adige region - and who would visit Italy without sampling the local cuisine - there is no better way than to visit the so-called "Masi" where you can choose from typical local dishes such as "gnocchi" with vegetables, dumplings, goulash, stew, shin of pork and local sausage.
Don't forget to also try the Tyrolean bacon and the wide variety of sweets made with cream or fruit.
See also history of Glorenza.
Where is Glorenza?
You can find Glorenza a short distance south of Malles-Venosta and to the north of the Trentino-Alto Adige region in northern Italy, close to the Italian border with Switzerland.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Trentino-Alto Adige guide.