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Touring Italy In Winter - The Trentino-Alto Adige Region

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by: Levi Reiss
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Word Count: 410
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 Time: 6:01 PM

The Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy sits on the border of both Switzerland and Austria. Its tourist attractions include the Dolomite Mountains, which the world famous architect Le Corbusier called "The most beautiful work of architecture even seen," glacier lakes, and Alpine forests. Needless to say, skiing and other winter sports are a major attraction, but you cannot really count on the snow until late February.

This region has two parts, Trentino in the south and the heavily German speaking Alto Adige in the north. Alto Adige, also known as South Tyrol, really seems like part of Austria. Its second largest city, Merano (known as Meran in German), hosts an International Wine and Culinara during the second weekend of November. There is a major focus on biodynamic and organic wine as well as Asian food. Talk about multiculturalism, Asian food in a Germanic speaking part of Italy.

The first Saturday in December Passo dello Stelvio, the highest paved mountain pass in the eastern Alps, holds its Festa dei Klosen dedicated to Santa Claus. Costumed locals wander the streets until the church bells are rung and everyone unites in prayer. Given its proximity to Germany, Trentino-Alto Adige is a great place for Christmas markets selingl beautiful local handicrafts with plenty of kitsch. At night these markets are well lit and often provide other festivities. Some of the best Christmas markets are found in Trento and Bolzano. The former is home to a large Nativity Scene in its lovely Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). You'll enjoy the Nativity Scene in Tesero. Cortina d'Ampezzo, "the Pearl of the Dolomites" celebrates Christmas Eve with a skiers' torchlight parade; at midnight hundreds of people ski down the mountain carrying torches.

Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German) is quite Germanic, complete with strudel, dumplings, and oom-pah-pah music. It hosts several special events every January. First comes the Trial of the Witches, Castelrotto was rumored to be full of them. Then enjoy the Dobbiaco Balloon Festival. On the third Sunday this town reenacts a traditional peasant wedding; about twenty sleds transport the traditionally dressed wedding party to the church. The towns of San Candido and San Vigilio hold a great Ice Sculpture Festival in mid January. If you are driving there, make sure to bring along snow chains, a reflective vest and a warning triangle. Winter driving in the mountains is serious stuff. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Trentino-Alto Adige wines.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine with the right foods. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website and his global wine website featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.

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