Ötzi the Iceman @ Mummy Tombs






Visiting Bolzano, Italy

Ötzi the Iceman resides in the northern Italian city of Bolzano (also known as Bozen).

Books about Bolzano

I can't recommend a visit to Bolzano highly enough. The city is full of many charms in this corner of northern Italy. Just south of the Austrian border, Bolzano was not always part of Italy, and the German-Austrian influences are apparent in the architecture. Don't be surprised if you hear German spoken (or at least the local dialect of it). Most residents are multilingual.

If you are driving into Bolzano, don't hesitate to park in a garage on your way into town (or you'll spend forever trying to find a street space). There is a large multi-story car park near the train station. The streets are narrow, as in most Italian towns, and there are many pedestrian-only areas that make walking a pleasure.

It is a special treat to be there in December with all of the Christmas displays and the charming Christmas market (similar to those in Germany and Austria), which carries hand-crafted and locally-produced goods.  

If you can't visit at Christmas, don't worry. A visit at any time of the year will be memorable; Bolzano is simply that kind of town.

The food is not bound by any language: pastry, pizza, pasta, bread, cheese, and fresh produce, flowers, and clothing (in the market stalls). What more could you want?

My hotel recommendation is the Parkhotel Laurin, near the city center. The appeal: charming rooms (each individually decorated) and the best breakfast buffet I have ever encountered. The hotel is a member of SRS Hotels and often offers special rates (especially on the weekend). But it is a popular hotel , and it is best to book well ahead of time. Do not miss the opportunity to take a meal in the hotel restaurant.

But if you are looking for something much less expensive, the center of town boasts a good pizzeria. Near the market square, Subito Pizzeria offers many varieties, including prosciutto. Subito is a small chain (there's also a branch in Innsbruck, Austria, among other places). You have to stand up to eat (or take out a slice or two and eat in one of the nearby squares), but you won't mind especially if the pizza has just come out of the oven.