Some people say that South Tyrol is a land of opposites. But those who know it well understand that majestic mountains and the sensuous Mediterranean lifestyle are entirely compatible. This unique combination forms the basis for the cultural diversity and varied landscapes that South Tyrol is famed for throughout Europe.
It’s hard to express the magic of South Tyrol in words. It’s a poetic landscape of ice-capped mountain peaks that fall away to gentle slopes where wine is cultivated, romantic mountain streams that surge down from great heights and tall palm trees that rise up from the earth. It’s impossible to uncover all the secrets of a land with such a wealth of myths and legends as South Tyrol – but that just makes it all the more enticing to explore and experience.
The Fragsburg is located in the heart of this legendary mountain landscape where the Mediterranean meets the Alps. One truly special place is just a ten-minute walk through the woods from our front gate: the Fragsburger Waterfall. The water cascades 135 metres directly out of the stony mountainside. On the other side of the valley, on the slopes of the Texel Group, the Parcines Waterfall presents a similarly impressive spectacle. It’s around a 40-minute walk along a forest path to the Greiter “Buschenschank”, a traditional tavern where you can meet the llama, ostrich and donkey that live together on the mountain pasture.
At the “Knottnkino” at the top of the Rotsteinkogel, visitors can sit and enjoy cinematic views from one of the 30 cinema seats made of steel and chestnut. The name “Knottnkino” literally means “rock cinema”. From the comfy cinema seats, you can see the whole of the Etsch Valley, including the Merano Basin and the side valleys that branch off in a star formation. Beyond that are the imposing Dolomites, and on the horizon the peaks of the Ötztal Alps and the Texel Group Nature Park, which you can admire in all their glory from the Fragsburg. Or you can trek across the Fanes-Senes-Braies reserve in the Dolomites, an idyllic landscape of meadows and pastures, karst lakes and wild streams. It is also home to a delightful natural amphitheatre known as the “parliament of the marmots” after a local legend. In the mystical Lake Reschen, a solitary church tower rises out of the waters. The tower is an emblem of the Vinschgau region.
For those who don’t just want to explore Merano and the surrounding area but also want to immerse themselves in local customs, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to do so: the traditional Sacred Heart of Jesus Fires, the apple and wine harvest festivals, the colourful sheep and cattle round-up celebrations, the Merano Grape Festival, the WineFestival and the Merano Classical Music and Jazz Festival.
The Music Weeks Merano festival in late summer, during which the Merano Kurhaus is filled with the sounds of classical and romantic music like at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is light years away from the international avant-garde arts festival Transhumanz, which is now as much of a cult event as the Schnalstal farmers’ annual sheep round-up.
On the basis of centuries-old customs, a love of the fine arts and a certain degree of curiosity about the world and its treasures, the South Tyroleans have managed to create a cultural world as diverse as the natural landscapes that grace this region between the Alps and the Mediterranean.
Merano, once a popular destination for the royal family in the summer, is now a vibrant Italian city that inspires residents and visitors alike with an easy-going zest for life coupled with an air of calm contentment. The city is ringed by classical buildings like the Merano Kurhaus and by the enchanting gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle. Elegant cafes and exclusive boutiques are intermingled with a youthful world of street art, design shops, alternative music venues and bars.