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A small but wonderful pocket of northern Italy, the autonomous province shares more than just a border with Austria; this is an alpinista lifestyle that flirts with La Dolce Vita. South Tyrol (Alto Adige/Südtirol) is all about a marriage of cultures, languages, traditions, progressive architecture and spectacular mountain nature – home to the Dolomites and the Three Peaks of Lavaredo (Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Die Drei Zinnen) - a triptych declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
Le Corbusier arrived in 1907, and he famously declared the Dolomites 'the most beautiful natural architecture in the world'. A further 332 Jurassic peaks storm into the sky; the highest mountain is the Ortles in Val Venosta (Vinschgau) at 3,905m, and the highest plateau in Europe, Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm). South Tyrol covers 7,399.97 km and has over 13,000 km of hiking trails; road cyclists adore the region for its legendary climbs. More than forty regional dialects are spoken; South Tyrol has three official languages: German, Italian and around the Dolomites region of Alta Badia, the traditional Ladin is spoken - also home to the oldest Rhaeto-Romanic people in the Alps.
The provincial capital of Bolzano (Bozen) is a vibrant university city and home to Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300-year-old mummy, discovered in 1991, protruding from the glacier near the Tisenjoch Pass. Blessed with more than 300 sunshine days a year and faded Habsburg grandeur, the second city Merano (Meran), has been a tropical hotspot since the days of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. She came for the mild Mediterranean mountain air and healing waters. Glorenza (Glurns) in the south of Malles (Mals) is one of the world's smallest cities and a wonderful melange of narrow medieval streets, churches, and its famous castle.
A chameleon of the Mediterranean and the Alps - expect snow-capped peaks to sun-kissed palm trees, traditional Tyrolean huts to strike-a-pose sustainable architecture, pasta to Knödl, dapper Italian styling to Lederhosn, Habsburg villas to sleek modernist architecture, expresso to Schnapps and the ski piste to botanical gardens.
The Good Life, Das Gute Leben and La Dolce Vita - South Tyrol, Südtirol, Alto Adige – it is an enchanting destination.
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