18 November 2016

A weekend in South Tyrol, among architecture, art and design (not just for Christmas markets)

South Tyrol is a region full of surprises. We recently visited the areas around Bolzano, we fall completely in love (and don’t think that there are only Christmas markets!).

We want to propose you the perfect route for a weekend, two or three days to discover the architecture, design and art of South Tyrol, among the Middle Ages and the future. On the winter season it’s perfect!

First stop Bolzano, chief town of the homonymous autonomous province in South Tyrol. An ancient city that proudly displays its medieval old town, almost magical. Piazza delle Erbe (lit. Square of the herbs) with the famous fruit, vegetables and flowers market, from here starts Via dei Portici where the medieval arches and ceilings frame in the best way lots of alleys that make us lose in time. We want to tell 3 addresses between culture and pleasure.

Museion – the Museum of Modern Art of Bolzano, founded in 1987, the current site is located in Via Dante. The striking new building, with its large glass facades forging a dialogue between the historic centre and the new city, opened in May 2008. Designed by the Berlin architecture firm KSV – Krüger Schubert Vandreike.

If you are a contemporary architecture lover you can’t miss the Salewa Headquarters and the adjoining Bistrot Salewa both designed by Park Associati (2011-12). The buildings are designed to blend it with the landscape, from the high tower to the warehouse, aluminum perforated plates and glass create exciting and unexpected shapes. From Bistrot Salewa you can admire the majestic vertical wall which hosts a climbing wall gym.

If you want to make a perfect break for a drink or snack and enjoy the view over the rooftops of the old town definitely the Café – Bistrot Thaler Arôme is the place for you. It can be reached with a proper lift that takes us to the top floor of the building which houses the famous perfumery (and more) Thaler, from the terrace you can see very well the city and mountains as in a postcard.

Moving from Bolzano to north we reach in 25 minutes Lana where you will find the start of the San Vigilio cable car that will take us to about 1.200 meters of altitude where there is the wonderful vigilius mountain resort. The cable car is the only way to get from Lana up to 1 500 m above sea level in seven minutes and arrive at a place full of energy where nature is still allowed to live in harmony with itself. Designing a mountain hotel in South Tyrol up Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch demands great care and respect. The architect Matteo Thun solved this great challenge based on the clear principle of “eco not ego”: The 5-star vigilius mountain resort hotel in South Tyrol was supposed to become a refuge where nature and not man is understood as the “creator”. Wood and large expanses of glass are the construction elements of this first A-class ClimateHouse hotel in Italy, where exterior and interior merge successfully.

On the other side of the valley we find The Knottnkino (Knott meaning rock, kino meaning cinema) is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Verano and is located upon the Rotsteinkogel mountain. In the seats made from steel and chestnut wood designed and positioned by the artist Franz Messner from the Ritten plateau, one can enjoy unique views of the Texelgruppe range all the way to Penegal mountain and the Weißhorn peak, as though sitting comfortably in a cinema. But the film is always changing in the Knottnkino: daily, hourly, with the time of day and the changing of the season, with the climate and weather, there is always something new to see.

Further south, we want to speak about the Tramin Winery, the Home of Gewürztraminer wine in Tramin (ita.: Termeno), the original vine was called Traminer, the suffix –er being the German language possessive form, while the prefix Gewürz denotes spice, though in this context it means perfumed. The newly rebuilt and refurbished winery in Tramin was completed in January 2010, designed by the famous architect Werner Tscholl. The idea which gave birth to the project was based on the vine, its morphology and its role in the local countryside. It has become an emblem which draws from the soil thanks to the expert hands of the winegrowers. In the case of the winery, it envelopes the building in which it is accommodated. Consequently the fabric becomes a sculpture.

A project / route which extends throughout the territory is the Messner Mountain Museum. With a central museum in Sigmundskron and five branch museums devoted to individual themes, Reinhold Messner has created a mountain museum that is truly unique. He describes the project as his “15th ascent over 8000 meters” – and makes use of it to communicate to visitors his knowledge and experience and the stories that derive from man’s encounter with the mountains.

MMM currently comprises six museums. MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen is the heart of the Mountain Museum; MMM Ortles in Sulden is devoted to the glaciers and the world of eternal ice; at MMM Dolomites on Monte Rite south of Cortina, the focus is on rock and mountain climbing in the Dolomites; MMM Juval in Juval Castle in Vinschgau relates the myths of the mountain. MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle tells the story of the mountain peoples. The sixth and final museum in MMM circuit in order of time is the MMM Corones, situated on the summit plateau of Kronplatz (2.275 m), is dedicated to traditional mountaineering. The museum is devoted to mountain history and also offers unique views of the great mountain walls of the Dolomites and the Alps. At the edge of the most magnificent viewing platform in South Tyrol, in the distinctive museum building created by Zaha Hadid.