Second city of the region of Alto Adige, crossed by the stream Passirio, an affluent of the river Adige, Merano is situated at the centre of a valley between Val Passiria, Val Venosta and Val d'Adige.
Famous thermal resort since the XIX century, Merano is not only a synonym of body and mind well-being, but it is also an important cultural centre: a city in which it is possible to meet traditions and modernity, genuine glamour and urban refinement.
The Kurhaus, an elegant Liberty style building, is the symbol of the thermal programs of Merano: it was opened in 1874 as a place of cure and leisure for its guests.
The high street, via Portici, built in 1200 on request of the Earl Tirolo Mainardo II, is still the most important trading spot of the city. It is a 400 meters corridor with low archways, supported by stone columns, that connects the Cathedral Square to the Piazza del Grano. The facades, of different architectonic styles, are enriched typical bulk (Erker). To be admired inside is the typical order given to these buildings with stair cases, courtyards and skylights. At the end of Portici Superiori (top part of the street), the parish church of San Nicolò is located, one of the most antique examples of Gothic architecture in the Tirolese area.
With its 83 meters, the Bell Tower is one of the tallest in Alto Adige. The largest church of Merano was stated for the fist time in a document of 1220. Of cultural interest are the valuable frescos, the rose window and altar with a series of small doors.
Worth a visit: The Botanic Garden of Castel Trauttmansdorff, honored in 2005 as "Most beautiful garden of Italy", twelve hectares that surround the castle, which was the Winter residence of the Empress Sissi.