We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Bavaria, the Austrian Tyrol, the Sudtirol area of Italy, and Salzburg. I wanted to share some of the travel joys we experienced in case someone else is planning a trip and might enjoy our adventures. We like to experience some of the out of the way places that seem to make the trip so much more memorable. So here is a blog of our adventures in and near Bolzano, Italy (located in the Alto-Adige province of Italy and very near the Austrian border). Before I begin, I'd like to give a brief history of this part of Italy. Up until World War I, it belonged to Austria. Even to this day, the towns have two names: one Italian and the other German. For instance, Bolzano is also known as Bozen. Many people here still speak German, and in fact, some don't even speak Italian! There is a movement here to become independent. They would like to be called the Sudtirol and be independent from both Italy and Austria.
Our first excursion around Bolzano was via the Ritten cablecar (La Funivia del Renon) to Oberbozen. This cablecar rises high above the city of Bolzano, over beautiful valleys covered in vineyards and filled with beautiful Dolomite views. The trip only takes 10 minutes, but it takes you to an altitude of 1200 meters.
Once in Oberbozen, you can purchase a ride on an old cogwheel train to the town of Collalbo. This old train also offers culinary night journeys where visitors can enjoy a gourmet meal with local wines and music. Once in Collalbo (Klobenstein), we followed the old wooden signs towards the Ritten Earth Pyramids. It was about a 4 km walk (one way) along mostly paved roads via small towns. The walk does have lots of hills but it is easily walkable for most people. The last part is along a well-maintained dirt trail through the woods.
The views of the valley with it's tiny towns and churches all below beautiful Dolomite peaks is spectacular. The highlight is the famous Earth Pyramids. These are a phonomenon of erosion and very unique looking formations.