The spa town of Merano/Meran and its surrounding areas are located in the center of South Tyrol/Südtirol and deeply attached to the region’s customs, traditions and rich cultural heritage. The eventful history of the area has left visible traces in this border region, which is characterized by the meeting of two major European cultures and languages. At the same time, Merano also has a notable sense of innovation, and is host to a varied arts and cultural program of events, including the International Merano Music Weeks.
The heritage of the area’s history, including many castles, churches and landmarks, is well maintained and demonstrates the role that the territory played in the past. There are castles and palaces such as Trauttmansdorff Castle, chosen by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary as her winter residence, or the charming Juval Castle, now home to one of the six Messner Mountain Museums of the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner. The fascinating history of the spa town of Merano is also revealed in its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. The Brunnenburg Castle next to Tyrol Castle above Merano was the former home of the poet Ezra Pound.
Not far from Merano is the pristine Val Senales/Schnalstal Valley and its massive glaciers. This was the place of discovery of Oetzi, the ice mummy who lived over 5,000 years ago. The archeoPark Schnalstal open-air museum offers an interactive area, which presents aspects of daily life at Oetzi’s time.
The surroundings of Merano are characterized by historic villages, but there is also a great deal of internationally renowned contemporary architecture, such as the Timmelsjoch Experience in Val Passiria/Passeiertal Valley, Merano’s thermal baths, or the award-winning Merano 2000 Cable Car. Historical museums like the Museum Passeier or Palais Mamming civic museum stand alongside contemporary museums such as the Mooseum and art spaces like KunstMeran.
Discovering South Tyrol/Südtirol means experiencing both natural beauty and cultural heritage. While the landscape is characterized by unspoiled nature, human additions are often intended to emphasize the area’s charms.
The centuries-old larch trees in the Val d’Ultimo/Ultental Valley are true natural monuments, and are regarded as the oldest conifers in Europe. Merano and its surroundings are home to various natural spectacles, including gorges, majestic waterfalls and high peaks.
The cultural heritage includes numerous churches and castles from across many centuries. These range from the ancient Prokuluskirche church in Naturno/Naturns, which preserves pre-Carolingian frescoes from the 7th century (the earliest Christian frescoes in Central Europe) to the Pfarrkirche Tisens parish church with its renowned glass paintings of the Augsburg school. Moreover, the Merano region has several interesting Romanesque churches and mountain churches, including the St. Margareten Kirche Lana church dating to the 10th century, St. Vigiluskirche church above Lana, St. Hippolyt in Narano/Nauraun, St. Jakob in Tesimo/Tisens which displays the first frescoes of the Dolomites, and St. Kathrein in Avelengo/Hafling.
Newer landmarks include the award-winning botanical Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle east of Merano, and contemporary artworks like the Knottnkino artwork above Verano/Vöran.