December 17, 2017

Italy’s South Tirol: Wine and the Dolomites

Easter weekend my husband and I visited with our daughter in San Luis Obispo, CA.  As part of our weekend, we spent most of Saturday in beautiful Avila beach.  This beachside community is home to Alapay Cellars where we enjoyed tasting some of their great wines.

One of their red wines, Lagrein, caught my eye because I had never heard of these grapes and it tasted great.  Our host told us the grapes are from Italy so I did a little sleuthing and discovered they are grown in the Alto Adigo region or otherwise known as South Tirol.

More sleuthing and I discovered this region is home to the Dolomites, a mountain range I have long wanted to visit.  So where is South Tirol and why should you visit?

Majestic Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Majestic Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Alto Adigo or South Tirol is located in the northeast corner of Italy right up against Austria and Switzerland.  This area is known for its dramatic scenery, medieval cities, apples, wines, olive orchards, castles, the Dolomites, extreme sports and many winter activities and resorts.  The area is Germanic speaking and was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of WWI.

There are many great reasons to visit but here are 4 that looked interesting to me!

Food and Wine: Finding good food in this area should not be an issue since there are 15 restaurants in this one tiny region that have at least one Michelin star.  You will find a nice variety of food that includes traditional Alpine cuisine along with foods more thought of as Italian, pizza and pasta!  Of course, you will also find local apples, olives and chestnuts.  As part of your visit, you might wish to take a drive on the South Tyrolean Wine Road.  This road winds its way through picturesque villages full of narrow streets and grand houses.  Along the way you can discover romantic medieval castles and maybe even take a dip in the warmest lake in the Alpine area, Lago di Caldaro.  All while enjoying great wine!

Vineyards South Tirol Italy

Vineyards from Suditirol Marketing/Helmuth Rier

Castles: If you enjoy castles, then you are in the right place!  The South Tirol region is home to more than 400 castles and manor houses.  You will see these castles high above the valley floor and nestled in amongst the vineyards.  Among the castles is Schloss Tirol Castle.  This castle is a fine representation of both Romanesque and Medieval architecture.

Beautiful Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Beautiful Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Dolomites: The Dolomites have been on my list since the first time I ever saw a picture of them probably 10 years ago.  I am a mountain girl and these staggeringly beautiful mountains still call me today.  What I didn’t know was they were part of a coral reef from eons ago. The Dolomites are part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and are among the most impressive mountains you will ever see.  You might not know about all the WWI history that is in this area.  The Via Ferrata are trails left over from the war and allow everyone access to history and the beautiful views.  For more WWI history visit the Museum in the Tre Sassi fortress.

Medieval Villages: From the smallest village in the area, Glorenza, to the largest, Bolzano, the region is full of charming medieval villages.  The villages still contain burgher houses, arcades, narrow streets and central squares that are all steeped in history!  Glorenza’s 900 residents are surrounded by the intact wall dating back 400 years.  Bolzano, the regions capital, is home to a gothic cathedral, medieval town square, Schloss Runkelstein and an archeological museum which houses Otzi, the 5,300 year old man found in the area.

Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Views of Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Yes there are many reasons to visit South Tirol but it is the Dolomites that are calling me.  In case you aren’t convinced yet, here is a video to watch that will make you pack your bags!


Have you been to South Tirol?

What would lure you to visit?

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  1. Naoemi says:

    What a very wonderful place… How i wish I can see that in reality.
    Naoemi recently posted..Dominos menu

  2. Scott says:

    Wow, the dolomites are absolutely breathtaking, it is so high on my list for my next trip to Italy. It is so under the radar as well. Another great post!
    Scott recently posted..A Locals Guide to Showing Off St Louis- Part One

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! The Dolomites are spectacular and seem to be off the radar. We are planning on being in the area next year and will definitely make the Dolomites a priority.

  3. Tijmen says:

    The Dolomites looks great, always when I see moutains like that I have this feeling I need to climb them 🙂 Usually it’s a bad idea, and it never happens. But the scenery looks great.
    Tijmen recently posted..Lonely Planet Guidebook Giveaway

  4. Christine says:

    Gorgeous photos, Debbie! I love the stark differences of the jagged mountains set against the emerald green trees and countryside. This is definitely a place I want to find myself in.

  5. Sabrina says:

    Do you like skiing? In that case you have another reason to add to your list 🙂 We used to go once a year religiously to Plan de Corones in the Dolomites when I was growing up and it was so much fun: the skiing is great, the mountains are beautiful, the food is super delicious (mix of Italian, Austrian, German), and the schnaps very original (e.g., prune or pear). What more can you ask for?!
    Sabrina recently posted..Cinco De Mayo in Texas

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I do ski just haven’t done much of it lately. Even if I chose not to ski, my husband would love it and I do find apres’ skiing enjoyable 🙂

  6. Ayngelina says:

    I’ve never been there but good wine could lure me anywhere!
    Ayngelina recently posted..Where have all the hippies gone

  7. robin says:

    My other half’s family have holidayed there for many years though I have never been – the wine is surprisingly good as much german red wine is and very reasonably priced. Those shots are stunning!
    robin recently posted..Tapestry

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      That is too bad you have not gone with them on one of their holidays! Maybe you’ll have to go along with them soon.

  8. The Dropout says:

    That area of Italy looks simply stunning. I don’t know that I could afford to eat and drink my way through that region though – Michelin stars sound pricey!
    The Dropout recently posted..Attack of the Asian Baby Snatchers

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m sure you could find a way to eat and drink your way through the Dolomites. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! LOL

  9. Jeremy B says:

    BEAUTIFUL!! These photos are why I love Europe. I love the mountains and countryside. It’s why I love Slovenia and the Alps there and these here in Italy and the beauty of Austria. I could go on and on
    Jeremy B recently posted..Budget travel deals of the week May 3- 2011

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m with you! I haven’t been to Slovenia yet but hopefully will get there in 2012. I have heard marvelous things about it.

      We bought some of the Lagrein wine and will be drinking it Saturday. Maybe if I close my eyes I’ll be in the Dolomites 🙂

  10. Lisa says:

    I’m heading there in the fall with my dog Tanner, I have previously been only as far the Lake Garda area. I’m looking forward to it. You added some great photos!
    Lisa recently posted..Photo Friday Easter in Germany

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I am envious of you! I think both you and Tanner will have a great time in the mountains.

  11. Andrea says:

    Sounds like just an amazing area to visit! I love the look of the mountains
    Andrea recently posted..Montevideo’s Locks Fountain

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Yes, it was the mountains that got me too! But I’m also a sucker for small medieval villages.

  12. Christina says:

    I’ve been to South Tirol, but only in the winter. It’s got vast ski fields and perfect little huts next to the slopes where you can have your lunch. One must see is the Rifugio Fuciade outside Moena. I was in the Dolomites a couple of years ago for snowboarding, and one night we drove out of the village to a parking lot in the mountains, where we were picked up by a motor sleigh that took us to Rifugio Fuciade, a bigger mountain hut with a fantastic restaurant and pub.
    Christina recently posted..Arrowtown- a South Island gem

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      A motor sleigh whisking you off to dinner sounds amazing! For some strange reason I don’t travel much in the snowy winter but think I need to change that.

  13. Laurel says:

    I’m sold! I haven’t been to Italy yet, but have a feeling I’ll be making many trips back since there is so much to explore and the Dolomites look especially interesting to me.
    Laurel recently posted..Lichtenstein Castle- 7 Interesting Things

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I must be a visual person because pictures really say a lot to me and once I saw pictures of the Dolomites, I was sold! I also think the WWI history is pretty fascinating.


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