South Tyrol is the most Northern Province in Italy. It borders with Switzerland and Austria, and is a region abounding with contrasts, between Mediterranean landscape and Alpine peaks, deeply rooted tradition and cosmopolitan curiosity. The allure of South Tyrol lies in its variety and the harmony of opposites. You can have snow-covered mountains and palm promenades alongside cappuccino on the piazza, witness the living traditions and modern trends, view architecture ancient and modern. Only three percent of South Tyrol is inhabited, and the number of farms and hotels is still equal. Here, culture means more than visiting museums, churches and castles. Here, culture is a lifestyle, which can be felt in everyday life.
We've been working with the experts at the South Tyrol/ Südtirol tourism office who talked to us about the region's virtues and showed us some places to stay for either a winter or summer break. Both work.
Winter in South Tyrol
There are around 30 ski areas spread throughout South Tyrol, the majority of which belong to either the Ortler Skiarena, with their family-friendly ski areas located in the west, or to the world’s largest ski circuit the Dolomiti Superski. The latter extends across numerous Italian provinces, allowing you to ski a cumulative 1,200 km of slopes with a single ski pass. Related activities range from skiing and ski touring to cross-country skiing, snowkiting and ice climbing. The combination of perfect snow conditions, plenty of sunshine, stunning views and ski runs ensures the most memorable winter sports holidays.
Born as coral reefs 250 million years ago, these white towers of rock might just be the world’s most beautiful construction. The Dolomites are part of the Alps, stretching across Northern Italy through the provinces of Südtirol, Trento and Belluno, reaching their 3,343m peak atop the Marmolada. The South Tyrolean Dolomite region is particularly rich in possibilities for adventure and the highlight is a walk around the triple towers of Three Peaks (Drei Zinnen): Cima Piccola, Cima Grande and Cima Ovest. The Dolomites has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Alta Badia At the heart of the mountains in the Val Badia valley lies the holiday region of Alta Badia, known in German as Hochabtei, for its legendary mountains, world-famous ski slopes and gourmet cuisine. It is the home of the Ladin people, known for a strong sense of tradition, striking efficiency, a keen sense of community and a romantic language spoken since Roman times.
Where to Stay:
Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa
This beautiful homely hotel in the quaint village of San Cassiano has been owned and run by the Pizzinini family for over three generations, and owner and general manager Hugo Pizzinini has been known to go skiing with guests to show them around personally. Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa is truly a wonderful base whether clients want to experience the Dolomites in winter or summer. Surrounded by the beautiful pink tinged Dolomite mountains the hotel has a warm atmosphere enhanced by the chic alpine lodge feel, complete with log fires. It offers 51 rooms designed with a contemporary twist but still encompassing the traditional alpine spirit. No luxury hotel is complete without a beautiful spa – here they have not one but two indoor swimming pools, one is specifically for families to enjoy without disturbing couples relaxing in the other. For a more luxurious stay, the Chalet Zeno accommodates up to 8 guests with 3 bedrooms beautiful exposed beams, a large living area with private outdoor jacuzzi and sauna.
For a completely unique alpine experience, Rosa Alpina offers guests two private mountain cabins known as 'Refugios' which have incredible sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. These can be hired for exclusive use during the day and overnight as well, providing guests the perfect romantic accommodation for the evening with fresh food delivered to their doorstep from the hotel. The food at Rosa Alpina is just as impressive as its location. Guests can choose from 3 restaurants including the two Michelin-starred St Hubertus Restaurant run by the famous local chef Norbert Niederkofler. It's recognised as one of the best restaurants in Italy and, let's face it, any chef that can corral his team into cavorting round a snowdrift (see pictures below) merits your attention.
Alpine Tradition and luxurious comfort, wellbeing and relaxation, beauty and revitalisation, unforgettable landscape and sporting activities in the mountains – that’s what makes the Hotel Fanes unique. Quality and personal service is their forte, along with comfort. The rooms and suites of the Hotel Fanes are generously sized and all rooms and suites have a balcony with a panorama view. The spa is exceptional, with a pine sauna, salt bath, Turkish steam bath, brine Jacuzzi, panoramic relaxation room with a vitality corner, indoor pool and outdoor brine pool and Alpine sauna in the garden. A team of beauty experts creates your personalised care program of treatments, remedial baths, massages and health and vitality treatments. Hotel Fanes has a restaurant with a capacity of about 200 seats divided into 6 themed rooms and a wine cellar with hundreds of local and international fine wines. This is a place of hospitality catering to every wish – including a private helipad.
Val Gardena/ Gröden The Val Gardena valley is a renowned ski and hiking area in the middle of spectacular Dolomites rock towers. It offers outstanding holiday value. The area is strongly influenced by its Ladin population and the coexistence of three official languages: German, Italian and Ladin, a peaceful co-existence reflected in the seductive blend of cultures in the numerous Alpine farms, mountain huts, or restaurants. Wood carving is a cornerstone of Ladin culture worth seeing for yourself. It is the source of Val Gardena’s nickname “Valley of wood carvers”, an aspect that has now been modernised and enhanced throughout the region.
Where to Stay:
Alpenroyal Grand Hotel
Imagine looking out from the private terrace of your room over the captivating mountain landscape, while in the next room the Jacuzzi heats up for a relaxing soak: enjoy this and more in the VIP Suite at the Alpenroyal Grand Hotel. Located at the entry to Selva in the heart of Val Gardena, this horseshoe structure has a 60-year history originating with a family of woodcarvers, the Prinoths, who bought, built and developed a small guesthouse into one of the Leading Hotels of the World. Today, Hannes Prinoth manages the venue. His philosophy is simple: 'Royal moments… forever.' The regal landscape helps, with a 15,000 square metre park, the La Ferata walking trail and the unique mountain surroundings all close by. Inside, there's everything you have come to expect from five-star accommodation: panoramic balconies, satellite flat screen TVs, wifi, luxury bath products, minibar and a safe. As for the food? We'll leave that one to the Michelin Guide, which says, "The gourmet restaurant of the Alpenroyal hotel boasts a classic and elegant dining room and highly attentive service. However, star billing must go to the cuisine. It is beautifully presented and prepared mainly from local Alpine produce, as well as ingredients from further afield." There's also The Alps' largest outdoor pool, and it's heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit; the perfect warm-up for the VIP Spa, with its enormous hot tub, Kneipp bath and fitness room which seems to be wrapped around the rocks.
We move to Ortisei for another elegant retreat complete with private cinema and top-notch pampering – the Hotel Montchalet. Opened in November 2016, it's the place to discover the magic offered by a mountain chalet, with the class of a small luxury hotel. There are just 16 suites and most come with a Turkish bath. The VIP Suite also has a private Spa with steam bath, infrared sauna and whirlpool in the private garden. The Concierge service is there to help, but we also like the sound of the private cook who prepares traditional South Tyrolean dishes and Mediterranean delicacies directly in your suite - an exclusive service for all your senses. Different tastes and dining preferences will find pleasure and novelty: meat and fish, game and, truffles and mushrooms but also vegetable dishes, all executed with an original style and modern flair. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Montchalet and live with elegance and class, the fundamental moments of cooking, living, resting, curing body and soul.
This is just an introduction to a fantastic region and four special places to consider. There are of course many other areas to consider with a range of accommodation to suit different budgets and tastes. Please contact us on 020 8989 9445 or email@example.com or make an appointment to discuss further.