Well-known spa resort in the province of Bolzano, Merano is the second largest city of South Tyrol. Due to its geographical position, at the center of a lovely valley, at the mouth of the Val Venosta, Val Passiria and Val d'Adige, the city enjoys a breathtaking view of the surrounding Alps and proposes a mild climate, as sheltered from cold winds.
The town's name is documented for the first time in 857.
Ancient Roman settlement in Late Antiquity, it was a fortified "castrum" (castrum Maiense), where, in a Chapel, remain the human rests of St. Valentine of Rezia and St. Corbiniano of Freising. The town recorded a positive demographic and economic increase in the XIII century, under the jurisdiction of the Counts of Tyrol, but when the trading centre was moved to Innsbruck in 1420, the city lost much of its power, though it continued to be the capital of the Tyrol County.
In the XIX century, thanks to the therapeutic benefits of its thermal waters and the healthy climate, the town significantly increased its touristic industry, attracting famous statesmen and artists, such as Sissi, wife of the Emperor of Austria Francis Joseph, and the writer Franz Kafka.
In addition to the brand new spa facility, Merano offers a variety of attractions that can satisfy every possible demand of the tourists who come here to relax or to practice their favorite sports with its golf courses, its famous Maia horse racecourse and its excursions to the fully equipped ski resort Meran 2000.
Sites of Interest:
- the Kurhaus, an elegant liberty style building, opened in 1874, the spa of Merano, which features a large dance floor, used for live shows and conferences;
- the charming Old Town Centre and the Via dei Portici, the latter built in the XIII century by Meinhard II, Count of Tyrol, Merano is the ultimate shopping street, lined with buildings of different ages, perfectly preserved;
- Prince Castle, located in the center of Merano, created in the second half of the XV century by Mussolini Sigismund of Austria. Rich in decor and furnishings of the Renaissance and late Gothic, is a very interesting example of a stately home at the time;
- the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff, recognized in 2005 "the most beautiful gardens in Italy", and for twelve acres surrounding the Castle, which was the Winter residence of Empress Sissi;
- the other Castles in the area (the ruins of the so-called Polveriera - Gunpowder), the Castle of Goyen, the Castle of Kallmünz, the Castle of Katzenstein, the Castle of Knillenberg, the Castle of Labers, the Castle of Pflanzenstein, Pienzenau Castle, Planta Rametz Castle, the Castle of Reichenbach, Rottenstein Castle, the Castle of San Zeno , Castel Winkel, the Castle of Trauttmansdorff).
- the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture of Tyrol, flanked by a tower 83 meters high;
- the Chapel of Santa Barbara, an octagonal shaped building in Gothic style;
- the Parish Church of San Vigilio, originally built in the XII century and has been enlarged and altered during the later centuries;
- the Church with its Convent, entitled to the Capuchins of St. Maximilian;
- the Church of St. Valentine;
- the Synagogue;
- the so-called Roman Bridge over the river Passirio, built in 1616 to replace an existing Roman wooden one;
- the Bridge of the Post, a splendid example of Art Nouveau style, which dates back to the earliest years of the XX century;
- the brand new Spa facility, located along the left bank of the river Passirio;
- the Civic Museum;
- the Puccini Theatre;
- the Jewish Museum;
- the Wine Museum;
- the Museum of Tourism.