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Spending a holiday in Hafling near Meran undoubtedly means enjoying the unique natural symbiosis of palms and mountains. Certainly too there is the culinary mélange of Italian style and Tyrolean heartiness. There is hiking, biking, the fine fare available at the mountain huts and the imperial elegance of the spa town of Meran. Meran and its environs, which lie at the heart of the region, is also where the essence of the South Tyrol “feeling” can be found. Culture, on the other hand, is not often explicitly given as a reason to visit – perhaps because it all just forms part of a very special culture. Visitors do not have to look for it – it is their constant companion. For true culture lovers, however, a few tips may be helpful.
The sheer number of castles throughout the area might lead you to think this is the origin of the name “Burggrafenamt”, the name given to this part of the valley of the River Etsch near Meran. Although “Burg” is indeed the German word for castle or fort, the name actually means “authority/district of the burgraves”: to find out more see here, while those interested in castles and palaces can learn more here. They can be found everywhere, with such renowned witnesses to bygone eras as Trauttmansdorff Castle and Castle Tyrol, both a must for those visiting Meran and its environs.
Museums are by no means just a wet weather alternative! The Archeoparc in the Schnals Valley is an open-air museum that encourages visitors to participate in learning about the New Stone Age and the life of Ötzi, the Man from the Ice, while the Museum of Regional History at Castle Tyrol covers the period from prehistory to the present day. The Museum Andreas Hofer in St. Leonhard in Passeier addresses the Napoleonic era and the Tyrolean resistance struggle, while the numerous museums in Bozen, including Ötzi himself, are just a short distance away!
Meran means culture. The nobility of the old spa town is reflected in its Kurhaus, its arcades, promenades and patrician houses. Traces of the Empress Elisabeth – Sissi – can be encountered throughout the city, while the youthful artistic scene and numerous cultural events provide something for every devotee of culture. Comparing and contrasting Meran and Bozen is easily done, as the regional capital is not far away. Those who have learned to appreciate the opposites this land has to offer will be delighted, while first-time visitors will be amazed at the difference such a short distance can make.