Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol is an autonomous region in Northern Italy, divided in two provinces – South Tyrol and Trentino. The former is the northern predominantly German-speaking part, with significant Italian and Ladin minorities; while the latter is the southern Italian-speaking part with a small German minority. Other cities in the region are Bolzano, Brixen, Meran, Rovereto, and Trent. Its capital is Trento. Trentino-Alto Adige is bordered by East and North Tyrol (Austria) to the northeast and north respectively, by Graubünden (Switzerland) to the northwest, and by the Italian regions of Lombardy to the west and Veneto to the south and southeast. The region is also known as Trentino-South Tyrol. It has a total land area of 13,607 square kilometres (5,254 square miles), covering a large part of the Dolomites and the southern Alps, and a population of 1,036,707, as of the 2012 census. Its official languages are Italian and German, with some municipalities also speaking Ladin, Mocheno, and Cimbrian.
What to see & do
There are plenty of places to visit in Trentino-Alto Adige. One would be Bolzano (Bozen), which is a vibrant and zestful city. Despite its small size, it is a lovely city with rows of pastel-painted town houses against a backdrop of green hills, with riverside paths perfect for biking, and wooden market stalls that offer Alpine cheese, speck (cured ham), and dark, seeded loaves. If you prefer to steer clear from all the hustle and bustle, you might want to go to Trento, fairly quaint and more intimate compared to Bolzano. Its collection of medieval frescoes, along with Renaissance fountains, stone castles, and porticoes – not to mention, its Austrian influences – will surely fascinate you. The farming valleys of Val di Non, Val di Sole, and Val di Rabbi, a train ride away from Trento, are also worth checking out. Visit the lovely town of Merano (Meran), known for its sunny microclimate, and see its beautiful Jugendstil (art nouveau) villas, spa hotels, and get in on the fun at the annual open-air play that celebrates Napoleonic-era Tyrolean freedom fighter Andreas Hofer. Learn more about the historic Riva del Garda and wander around its maze-like streets and period facades.
How to get around Trentino-Alto Adige
Trentino-Alto Adige’s public transport is managed by two main companies, Trentino Trasporti in Trentino and Servizi Autobus Dolomiti in Alto Adige. You can reach the main towns and several ski resorts directly from major Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Genoa.
How to get there
By air transit, one can get into the region via Bolzano Airport, a small regional airport near Bolzano in the province of South Tyrol. It is served by one airline, the Darwin Airline-operated Alitalia, which provides domestic flights to and from Rome-Fiumicino, although this service will cease by June 2015, which leaves the airport yet again without any scheduled commercial traffic. Travellers who will be coming from other destinations can book flights to the nearest bigger international airport, which is Innsbruck Airport in Austria, located approximately 120 kilometres to the north. Other nearby airports are in Verona and Bergamo. You can take a train from here to Bolzano.