Natural and cultural treasures
Anyone travelling to Merano and environs
should not miss out on one special gem in this region: Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch, which can only be reached by cable car, preserving and protecting its idyllic nature that is unrivalled in its captivating diversity. And yet, during some seasons, a place of therapeutic solitude. For example, in winter it is easy to be the first person to leave quietly crunching tracks in the freshly fallen snow. In the summer, Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch naturally offers coveted cool freshness when the stifling heat builds up in the valley.
Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch has been very popular as a recreational area for local and famous spa guests from Merano/Meran since 1912, when the new Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch cable car first made the trip up to lofty heights easier. Idyllic small villas with carved hearts on colourful window shutters and typical traditional weaved wooden fences around neat little gardens are evidence of this. The old Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch mountain hotel looked similarly neat until its ruin. Today, the vigilius mountain resort is integrated subtly and carefully into the landscape out of respect for nature and the local cultural treasures.
However, the history of Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch dates back much further. The former swampland in the valley made it essential to pass over the mountains. Mysterious rocks from the Bronze Age that line numerous paths here appear to attest to this. The romantic Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch chapel on a picturesque hill, which warned the farmers of storms, has also been ringing for more than a thousand years, and it is highly likely that it is situated on an ancient Pagan cult site. By the way – the Gasthaus Jocher directly below it is said to be the first tavern in the region where even the Romans once fortified themselves on their campaigns of conquest.
Merano/Meran and surroundings
have to thank Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch for a special delicacy. In a little valley below the actual col, which is really worth seeing, lies an area extremely rich in water, the Bärenbad, where you can stop for a rest on your hiking tour and drink the refreshing water directly out of the old wooden well. The 14 Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch springs extend over more than 12 hectares of natural countryside. Because these slightly radioactive springs are so rich, the city of Merano/Meran and its surroundings use this precious elixir to make the typical South Tyrolean Forst beer, and they sell it bottled and sometimes carbonated as “Meraner Mineralwasser”. The spa town of Merano/Meran uses the Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch spring water for baths and therapeutic drinking treatments as it has been said for 80 years that it has great healing powers. The romantic summer retreat hotels, farms and restaurants of the region and vigilius mountain resort also use the precious mineral water. In fact it flows through all the pipes there!
Sights in Merano/Meran and surroundings
The most beautiful day trip destinations and cultural events nearby…
The UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site is situated within sight of Monte San Vigilio/Vigiljoch. Wonderful views over the striking pale giants are offered from the vigilius mountain resort. It is a roughly one and a half hour drive to the base of South Tyrol’s most stunning mountains.
Authentic, distinct and with its own very special charm – that is Val d'Ultimo/Ultental Valley, both in terms of its cuisine and its impressive natural and cultural landscapes. You should not miss out on hikes along interesting farms steeped in cultural history and surrounded by the famous ancient larch trees!
Waalwege irrigation channel routes:
There is a kilometres long network of paths along the “Waale”, which have been serving as an irrigation system for the dry alpine valleys with low rainfall since Maria Theresa’s reign. You can leisurely walk along the sedately flowing water channels as there are no significant climbs.
A harmony of cultures. South Tyrolean charm meets Italian flair in the old towns of Bolzano/Bozen and Merano/Meran. Farmers in their typical blue aprons sell bacon from the farm alongside the familiar clinking of espresso and cappuccino cups and the hissing of the milk foamer. The historic arcades, narrow lanes and vast, spacious squares are a wonderful setting. During Advent, Christmas markets attract lots of guests with crafts and mulled wine.
South Tyrol offers an exciting museum culture, with the “newer” museums in particular being unique in their presentation. Visit the Touriseum in the blossoming Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, the Messner Mountain Museum, the Ötzi Museum, the Museion in Bolzano/Bozen, the Andreas Hofer Museum in Val Passiria/Passeiertal and many more.
A popular series of events brings musical glamour to Val d’Adige/Etschtal. Highly recommended: the South Tyrol Jazz Festival, Merano/Meran Music Weeks, Merano Jazz Festival and Lana Live – the international festival of culture. South Tyrol also cultivates its own musical traditions, of course.
Culture and events:
Culture in the heart of the Alps is lively and offers established series of events all year round: the Bolzano/Bozen Dance Summer, the South Tyrolean Classic Vintage Car Rally or warm summer nights in the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle.
When the Romans reached South Tyrol, they already found a lively wine culture. The oldest wine-growing area in the German-speaking region offers exquisite wines along with traditional wine cellars and events, such as the Merano Wine Festival, of course the Vernatsch Cup at vigilius mountain resort, and many more.