Brixen / Bressanone, Sudtirol


Brixen / Bressanone

Dolomites in Sudtirol

Dolomites in Sudtirol

The Sudtirol area of northern Italy was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, ruled by the Hapsburgs for 300 years.  The 1919  Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye ended the Austro-Hungarian empire and ceded Sudtirol to Italy as war booty to compensate Italy for the tremendous losses Italian troops who died during the Great War.  One of the bloodiest battlefields outside from the Western front were in Austrian alps and Dolomites where more than 750,000 Italian troops died.

Sudtirol is also known as Alto Adige for the Adige river which runs swiftly north to south through the steep valley toward Verona.  The valley is lush from heavy rain and snow fall, and vineyards stretch along the hillsides for miles.  The steep granite mountains, the Dolomites, are popular in the summer with hikers and in winters for skiers.

The principal town in Sudtirol is Brixen (German) or Bressanone (Italian).  The Eisack and Reinz rivers meet in town where a major flood control project is underway to limit spring flooding which has left the city underwater for centuries.

Dolomites from Val Croce

Dolomites from Val Croce

 

Gasthaus Majestic

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Our lodgings were at a charming gasthaus 2 kilometers up the hillside from Bressanone.  We had spent a few days in an apartment in center of Bologna, busy traffic, crowded streets, and a bit shabby with graffiti everywhere.  The Gasthaus Majestic Lucy found online turned out to be the opposite of how we lived in Bologna.

We had a spacious and very modern apartment with kitchen, living room, bedroom, full bathroom with a washing machine! And a balcony to sip tea and coffee before going down to breakfast.  After a busy day touring Sudtirol, we came back every night to enjoy a glass of wine on our balcony, marvel at the view of snow-capped alps in the distance and  the sound of a rushing creek below.

We stayed a week.  Enjoyed every minute of it.

Travel buddy, good cook, occasional laundress, hanging wet clothes to dry in the morning sun.

Travel buddy, good cook, occasional laundress, hanging wet clothes to dry in the morning sun.

 

The Majestic provided us with two Brixen cards when we arrived, a nifty and efficient way for tourists to get around the area without paying bus and museum fees.  We used our Brixen cards three or four times a day, saving money, hopping on and off buses, getting into museums, traveling where we wanted using Brixen’s  efficient public transportation.

If only the US  had such efficient and modern public transportation in rural areas.

Plose to Val Croce

Cable car from Plose to Val Croce above Bresannone

Cable car from Plose to Val Croce above Bresannone

Our Brixen cards allowed us to take a bus to Plose along winding hillside roads above Bressanone, then board a cable car to Val Croce, a 6000 foot high plateau with spectacular views of the Dolomites, numerous hiking trails, and lush pastures where dairy cattle were grazing, bells clanging, munching grass, and drinking from streams of fresh mountain water.

Even dairy cattle enjoy alpine views while grazing

Even dairy cattle enjoy alpine views while grazing

 

Along hiking trail in Val Croce

Along hiking trail in Val Croce

Happy wife on the trail

Happy wife on the trail

 

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Contented cows make the best milk and cheese

Contented cows make the best milk and cheese

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Nice to take a break on a handmade wooden bench with a view of the Dolomites.

Who you looking at?

Who you looking at?

Bressanone

Hiking into Bressanonne looking over Rapizwil river

Hiking into Bressanonne looking over Reinz river

We walked through Bressanone daily for sight-seeing, grabbing lunch and a glass of wine, or boarding a bus to travel to nearby villages.  One Sunday, when buses weren’t running regularly, we hiked into town, down steep trails, passing terraced vineyards, crossing bridges until we reached Bressanone.

Along the way, we had nice views of town and the Reinz river.

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Crossing bridge into Bressanone after Sunday morning hike into town.

Crossing bridge into Bressanone after Sunday morning hike

 

Into the historic center of Bressanone

Into the historic center of Bressanone

 

Vipetino

Our travels around Sudtirol including visits to Luson, Vipetino, and Saint Ullrich, all charming alpine villages, scenic, and worth seeing.

Vipetino

Vipetino

Vipetino is a mountain village near Brenner and the Austrian border.  It took our bus from Brixen almost an hour driving along a rushing river, crossing bridges, pulling off at villages to pick up and drop off passengers.

When we arrived, we spent a couple of hours strolling along cobblestone streets, having lunch, and stopping in a few shops.

Sausages hanging in macelleria (butcher) selling cheeses, speciality meats, bacon, wine, breads and cookies.  We bought cheese and bread to take back on our bus.

Sausages hanging in macelleria (butcher) selling cheeses, speciality meats, bacon, wine, breads and cookies. We bought cheese and bread to take back on our bus.

 

Free samples!

Free samples!

 

Fresh proscutto ready for slicing

Fresh prosciutto ready for slicing

 

Wanted to buy this sign in a Vipetino shop; too bulky to travel with.

Wanted to buy this sign in a Vipetino shop; too bulky to travel with.

 

We traveled through Sudtirol last summer on a train from Munchen through Innsbruck to Trentino, about 60 kilometers south of Bressanone. We enjoyed that trip so much, we wanted to return, stay in another town, explore the majestic Dolomites, scenic alpine valleys and villages.  I’m sure we’ll be back!

Nothing like crisp mountain air,  hiking alpine trails, and hearing cow bells to put a smile on your face.

Nothing like crisp mountain air, hiking alpine trails, and hearing cow bells to put a smile on your face.

Next:  Otzi, the 5500 year old man

 

* * * *

In addition to writing this travel blog, I write international thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they track down domestic and international terrorists.

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12 responses to “Brixen / Bressanone, Sudtirol

  1. I an so envious! Looks like you’re both having a great time. Can’t wait to hear the details and see the other pix when you get back!

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    • Lots of photos and stories to share soon, Wendy. You’ll love the alpine mountains around Luzern where I spent a day marveling at the stunning beauty at 7,000 feet. Lucky it was sunny that day.
      A presto!

      Like

  2. Wow, the Dolomites look more dramatic than Yosemite! What a rich week you had in that guesthouse. And yes the guy on the beer sign looks as enthusiastic as you are, Jack.

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    • The Dolomites did remind me a bit of Yosemite, especially the steep granite peaks barren of trees. But Dolomites are jagged like a row of dragon’s teeth.

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  3. Gorgeous views and quaint villages! Wow, what a great week for you and Marilyn. See you in October.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • Yes, charming and people friendly; maybe it’s the fresh mountain air or the great lunch you just had. Food seems to taste better when you’re traveling.

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  4. I lived in a small town near Bressanone/Brixen on the side of the mountain in 1976. My husband was in the US military stationed at a small NATO base, and Italian Caserma. So long ago, but I loved it there. It was beautiful! I miss it. I believe the name was Fumes.

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    • Very interesting, Laurie. Would love to hear what your husband was doing in the Army at the Italian caserna. NATO had small bases in Italy back then, mostly intelligence operations focused on the USSR and Warsaw Pact. But most of them are closed now.
      I’m sure you loved your time there in one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

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  5. I so enjoyed your photo/journey of your hiking in the hills and mountains: with the cows! It evoked great memories of our cable car and hut-hiking in the German Alps enroute to Vienna. (Along the Romantic Strassa.) Hoping that you’re getting ready to put pen to paper for your sequel!! Miche

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    • I’m pleased you could relate to our Sudtirol experience and had your own adventures in Bavaria. We want to return and see more of that beautiful part of Europe.
      I have more photos of the Swiss alps when I spent a few days in a village out of Luzern after Lucy returned to CA.
      Almost finished with my Iceman post, will have it up in a couple days. Incredible story and many scientific discoveries that Otzi provided from his remains and ‘things he carried.’

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    • Yes, we had a great time, our second visit to Trentino. Last summer we spent three days in Trentino, taking
      cable cars one day and bus / train another to visit villages high above the valley. And will be back again; I spend summers in Milano writing a thriller series with DIGOS at the Questura.

      Like

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