An opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve in Bolzano, Italy, just knocked, three star hotel included. I’ve never been, so who am I to say no? Train leaves tomorrow morning at 10:28, so some quick research into this Alpine town, nestled in the shadow of the Dolomites and just south of the Austrian border, was in order. Among the things I learned:
— The city’s tourism office doesn’t have a website, at least not one I was able to locate quickly. The Trentino–Alto Adige region does, but it’s only in Italian and German. (By the way, the province’s Office for Bilingualism and Foreign Languages does have an English language website, and it employs at pair of Dinocrocs named Hocus & Lotus to teach languages to children.)
— Bolzano’s South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is home to the famed Iceman, an extremely-well preserved specimen from the copper age, whose frozen remains were accidentally discovered on a nearby glacier by a pair of German tourists in 1991. Among the things learned from the discovery was that man wore underwear 5300 years ago. His name is Ötzi and he was apparently wealthy. I’ll have to pick up a book or two. Here are a few pics, but don’t look if you’re easily offended by graphic images of naked mummies.
— Construction on the city’s gothic Duomo (cathedral) began in 1292, and wasn’t completed until the 16th Century. Maybe they were waiting for Ötzi to show up for work?
— It’s apparently the most Austrian city in Italy, with German spoken as regularly as Italian. Besides a few choice words, I don’t speak either.
— REM played there last January the night before their gig in Ljubljana.
— A local saying goes like so: Pane e vino fanno un bel bambino. “Bread and wine make a beautiful baby.” I’ll have to add that to my List of Things I Wish I Had Written.
— The wines produced her are primarily white. The Trentino–Alto Adige region accounts for less than 1% of the country’s wine production, but for 10% of its total grappa output. Most of the best wines from the northern part of the region, the vineyards nearest Bolzano, are primarily sold locally and in southern Austria. That might mean bringing an extra bag for souvenirs.
— The forecast is nearly ideal for late December, ranging from 0-7 C. (32 and 42 F.) between Friday and Sunday, partly sunny to sunny, with a chance of rain on Sunday. The latter isn’t a big deal, since I’ll be on trains for 7 1/2 hours that day, sipping wine and reading about Ötzi.