Here we are again on our track of meeting new towns and places that will leave an impact on our lives and enrich our memories. We are still in Italy, but this time in its northern part, in South Tyrol.
If you need a healthy break instead of the standard Italian visiting of museums and churches, Merano can be the right choice for you. Although surrounded by snowy peaks that reach even 10,000 feet, this well-known alpine ski resort, also called "City of Flowers", sits in the Passeier Valley completely sheltered, which makes its climate mild in winter and cool in summer.
With a few hours available to visit it, you will manage to see its most important sites, but also to enjoy its clean air, friendly local people, exquisite food and wine, beautiful streets without cars, and parks full of colorful flowers and exotic trees.
- Winter Promenade
- The Kurhaus
- Post Bridge
- The Holy Spirit Church
- The Bozner Tor
- The Church of St. Nicholas
- Portici St.
- The Prince’s Castle
- The Theatre Puccini
- The Evangelistic Church
We will start our route from one of the bridges of Merano, over the Passer river, known as Theatre bridge, and go for a short walk along "Winter Promenade", (Passeggiata Inverno) admiring its marvelous sights and sounds. Soon, on our left side we will see a beautiful building The Kurhaus constructed at a time when Merano was a popular spa resort due to the frequent visits of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and the aristocracy. It has a large portico, with columns and statues, and often hosts many interesting events.
When we get to Post Bridge we will see The Holy Spirit Church across the river, built in the German Gothic style at the end of the 13th century, an then rebuilt in the 15th century after being destroyed by a flood.
Walking back over the bridge we can notice the town's coat of arms from the 14th century, which depicts the red Tyrolean eagle sitting on a wall with four pieces of Ghibelline battlements and three arches that symbolize the city.
Via Roma (Rome St.) will take us straight to the historical center of the town through The Bozner Tor (Bolzano Gate). Merano has three gates. The Vinschgauer Tor (Vinschgau Gate) in the west first mentioned in 1290 and assumed to be the oldest of all gates. The Passeier Tor (Passer Gate) from the 15th century in the north, a tall, slim stone tower with a single arch and Bozener Tor (Bolzano Gate) in the south, from the 14th century, also with a single stone arch and a very steep roof, but considered the most beautiful of all town gates.
We will enter the old town under these remains of the original city walls. Leonardo da Vinci St. with beautiful pastel-colored buildings on both sides will take us to The Church of St. Nicholas (La Chiesa di San Nicolò), dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of the town. Built in the 13th century and expanded over time, it got its final shape in 1465. The architectural style is mainly Gothic. It is quite large, and nicely decorated. It consists of three naves and has well-preserved stained glass windows and a tall clock tower with a sundial outside.
Via Portici, Merano's main street, starts from here. It has no cars, many beautiful pastel-colored buildings, a few medieval drinking fountains, sidewalks sheltered from rain, snow and hot sun by old porticos, number of outdoor cafés or restaurants and shops.
Upon reaching the Merano Town Hall (Il Municipio di Merano), we will turn right to Galileo Galilei St. that will take us to The Prince’s Castle (Il Castello Principesco), a small but delightful little castle and one of the best-preserved castles in South Tyrol. Built in 1470 at the bottom of Monte Benedetto and at the heart of Merano’s city center, as a residence to Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, it was for a long time the administrative seat of the Counts of Tyrol and it welcomed a number of illustrious guests. Although refurbished, it looks very real, showing how nobility used to live in the 15 century.
Nowadays, the couples in Merano intending to get married can choose between the community hall and the romantic Prince’s Castle.
Galileo Galilei St. and further Cassa di Risparmio St. will take us to Corso Della Libertà, another important street of Merano, but less busy than the parallel Portici St.
Turning right, we will soon reach The Theatre Puccini (Il Teatro Puccini) another architectural jewel of the town, richly decorated, with a beautiful ceiling and gilded ornamentation.
Taking Carducci St, opposite the theatre, we will get to our final destination in this tour The Evangelistic Church (La Chiesa Evangelica di Cristo), overlooking the Passer river, and immersed in a beautiful English garden. Its construction began in 1883 and ended two years later. Apart from religious services, the church hosts many organ concerts, and concerts of sacred music.
Like Annecy in France or Baden-Baden in Germany, this lovely town surrounded by scenic mountains, with many nice shops and restaurants and with an amazing spa, is definitely worth visiting!