The origins of Merano/Meran as a spa town date back to the 19th century, when the first guests began frequenting the spa at the newly established health resort. Following Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s visit in the 1870’s, Merano soon became a popular spa resort for the aristocracy and bourgeoisie from all across Europe. Luxury hotels were erected as well as architectural works of art such as the Pavillon des Fleurs, the Kurhaus and the Kurmittelhaus as well as the theatre.
The local economy flourished, but languished in the decades of the two world wars. After the end of the Second World War, visitors began returning to Merano and the town regained its role as a holiday destination. Strong factors behind the revival were the area’s radon-rich springs and the organization of events aimed at promoting the city as a salon and meeting place for musicians, painters, poets and writers. Nowadays, the main tourist highlights are the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle and the Terme Merano thermal baths.
The Kurorchester Orchestra
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Merano Kurorchester was known as the “best orchestra in Austria-Hungary.” During this period, numerous musical compositions were specifically written for the Merano Orchestra, and dedicated to South Tyrol. The Kurorchester Orchestra Music Archives hold nearly 7,000 works of this genre.