IMPRESSIONS ABOUT MERANO AND SURROUNDINGS IN SOUTH TYROL

THE SPA CITY OF MERANO

No place embodies the cultural diversity and Alpine-Mediterranean lifestyle in the holiday destination Merano and Environs better than the spa town of Merano itself. This is a crossroads between the majesty of the Alps and the allure of the South: a place where the barrenness of high mountain terrain is cancelled out by lush Mediterranean vegetation, a place where town and country interact in unique symbiosis. In addition to a wide array of spa and wellness options, Merano offers a rich array of recreational and cultural activities. A long tradition as a spa town has left its mark on Merano. Historical and contemporary architecture are in perfect harmony along the Passer River: modern design hotels stand right next to traditional buildings from the Belle Epoque. Even today, Merano is all about the personal wellbeing of the guests who come to the area in search of rest and relaxation. Highlights of a feel-good holiday include the new Merano Thermal Baths spa complex and the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle botanical gardens. www.meran.eu

 


EVENTS IN MERANO

The diverse and innovative array of activities, culture and recreation available in the holiday region of Merano and Environs is truly impressive: it ranges from the Lana Live jazz weeks to the soirees at Tyrol Castle, and from the renowned Merano Music Weeks Festival to such enjoyable events as Stars Castles Mountains and the Merano Christmas Market. Events in Merano

 


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THE KURHAUS

Artists, musicians, scientists and congress participants are all equally impressed by Merano's Kurhaus. As a member of the HCCE (Historic Conference Centres of Europe) it is one of Europe's most renowned conference centres. In the second half of the 19th century the city of Merano enjoyed the patronage of famous guests. An annual stay in this Alpine town with its mild climate on the "southern balcony" of the Habsburg monarchy became socially de rigueur for Europe's aristocracy and rising middle classes. The sleepy little country town gradually became a spa resort. At first there was a lack of suitable places to stay and entertainment for the noble guests. Only following several initiatives by ambitious citizens of Merano and a costly planning and building phase was the first Merano Kurhaus finally opened on 14 November 1874. Built in neo-classicist style according to plans by Josef Czerny, it housed a reading room with periodicals from all over the world, a smoking salon, a ladies' room, a hall of mirrors with a movable stage for concerts, gambling and entertainment as well as carbonated baths for the cure. But by the turn of the last century this Kurhaus, today's west wing, had become too small. Today visitors are received in the elegant foyer with its wide staircase. The magnificent Kursaal is decorated with light-hearted paintings and delicate art nouveau ornamentation, while the Rotunda and the Gallery offer views from above. Musicians of all styles appreciate the Kursaal for its excellent acoustics. Organisers from widely-differing fields book it because of its elegant radiance, while guests from around the world love it for its festive yet relaxed atmosphere. On the south side there is a fine terrace with visitor access to the famous Passer Promenade, while dancing graces salute strollers from the roof. The whole architectural work is surrounded by an atmosphere of lightness and elegance. The silhouette of the Kurhaus in the centre of Merano's Old Town can be seen from afar, with the shops and restaurants under the attractive porticoes just a short distance away. On the other side of the River Passer stands the new Merano Thermals Baths and the adjacent "art drive in" car park. The large Kursaal with its stage, gallery, cloakrooms and gastronomy, the Pavillon des Fleurs and the numerous other convention and exhibition rooms offer the perfect setting for congresses, trade fairs, concerts, conventions and conferences, meetings, gala dinners, dance events and celebrations. Kurhaus of Meran

 


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SHOPPING IN MERANO

Meran's town centre is a veritable paradise for everyone who loves shopping. There are exclusive boutiques, trendy jeans outlets, branches of the most famous fashion chains, gourmet shops, bookshops and jewellers. There is nothing you will not find here. Just come and see! Shopping in Merano

 


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MERANO THERMAL BATHS

Though the treatments offered still include radon-containing mineral water (radon spa), the Merano Thermal Baths of today do not have much in common with the traditional health resort of the past. An impressive oasis of well-being has been created in the heart of the city. A transparent cube of glass and steel with warmly accented wooden elements, arches above the thirteen indoor pools. In the 50.000 sq. meter park belonging to the thermal baths, thirteen open-air swimming pools have been added. The overall effect offers pure relaxation in the midst of nature. www.thermemeran.it

 


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MERAN ART

In a finely restored building in the Lauben (porticos), the Meran art society stages exhibitions of contemporary art, architecture and literature as well as offering a programme of events with guided tours, excursions, concerts and readings. The historical hall of the building is also available for external events. The Caffè Kunsthaus is the meeting place for the Meran cultural scene. www.kunstmeranoarte.org/

 


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WOMEN'S MUSEUM

The women's museum documents two hundred years of women's history with numerous collector's items: women's dresses, accessories, personal implements and items from everyday life relate the different social roles and the development of women – a collection unique in Europe. Besides the permanent exhibition with its emphasis on "Ideals of Beauty, Typical Women's Roles and Women & Work", special exhibitions are organised on women-specific topics, as well as cultural meetings and readings. There is also a specialist library with original literature on the subjects of costume, fashion and women's studies. www.museia.it

 


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GARDENS OF TRAUTTMANSDORFF CASTLE

The botanic garden of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano truly deserves the quality mark "most beautiful gardens in Italy", which it was awarded in 2005. And if there were an award for the diversity and individuality of the flora, it would certainly go to this garden. The visitor may in fact experience the whole world in a garden. This is made possible by the special climate of the sun-drenched Merano health resort. Being the area with the mildest winters in the entire central European area, it allows both the exotic ornamental plants from the Mediterranean areas and the sturdy plants of the whole Alpine area to flourish. Botanic Underworld: Tthe new "Botanic Underworld" is a 200 metre long tunnel into the huge, rocky mountain. Inside the mountain, visitors can explore a mysterious underworld where water, earth, nutrients, root systems and light are the focus of this spectacle about life under the earth's surface. www.trauttmansdorff.it

 


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CASTEL TIROLO

Tyrol Castle is Tyrol's most historically important castle. Its owners, the Counts of Vinschgau, who were also known as the Counts of Tyrol, represented the region that was named after them for almost a thousand years. The castle was constructed between 1138 and 1160. The decline of Tyrol Castle, which eventually only housed a castle attendant, chaplain and woodsman, began with the end of the 16th century. In the first half of the 17th century the entire northern side, where the royal suites were located, was removed – due to fears arising from the fragility of the moraine hill on which the castle stands. Eventually, in 1816 the city of Meran acquired the castle and subsequently gifted it to Emperor Franz I. After the First World War the castle passed into the ownership of the Italian state and only changed hands again as a consequence of the Package Agreement in 1972. Today the regional government of the Autonomous Province has established its museum for culture and regional history there. The gate to the palace courtyard and that at the chapel entrance are notable examples of local art in the Romanesque spirit of the 12th century. The large hall still has three original coupled round arched windows with centre pillars. The two-storey chapel can be accessed through the second, richly adorned marble doorway. In the chapel with its round apse are a gothic altar, marble sculptures, numerous early-gothic wall paintings, Tyrol's oldest stained glass and a powerful, carved wooded crucifixion group from the 14th century. www.schlosstirol.it

 


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MERAN MAIS RACECOURSE

The Meran Mais Racecourse in Untermais is among the largest in continental Europe, and one of the most beautifully-situated in the world. It was opened in 1935 on a 40 Hectare site, after only one year of construction work. It has a rich and varied programme of events to thrill racing fans. Among the special highlights are the traditional 'Farmers' Steeplechase' with world-famous Hafling horses, the 'Maia Oktober Festival' and the 'Meran Grand Prix'. The latter, the oldest race held at this course, dates from its opening in 1935. It is an international Steeplechase of over 5,000 m., with high-value prizes, linked to the Italian National Lottery. There is a colourful programme of fringe events during the race meetings, offering diverse events, involving music, art, culinary specialities and folklore, to meet every taste. www.meranomaia.it

 


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PRINCE'S CASTLE MERANO

The former residence of the ruling princes of Tyrol, converted around 1470 by Archduke Sigmund the Wealthy of Tyrol, the castle is today a museum. In the 15th and 16th centuries it served as an elegant lodging for the Habsburgs: it is a gem of profane architecture, with Gothic furnishings from the time of Emperor Maximilian I. It notably contains a collection of historical musical instruments and weapons, one of the oldest Gothic ornate stoves in Europe and the bedchamber of Maximilian and his wife. Prince's Castle

 


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THEATRE PUCCINI

From 1870 on, tourism resulted in a wave of building activity in the now-fashionable spa resort of Meran. The remaining sections of the city walls disappeared. Guests taking the cure strolled along the Promenade. There was the Kurhaus with baths, a casino and a festive hall of mirrors. But the calls for a proper theatre became louder, and thus the city commissioned the Munich architect Martin Dülfer with the building of a municipal theatre. The building provoked considerable enthusiasm and Art Nouveau became the in thing in Meran. The façade, in classicist style, was an attractive mixture of roughcast, smooth surfaces, stucco works, Art Nouveau ornamentations and a splendid porch on columns with a balcony. The interior was an outstanding example of Art Nouveau decoration. The Theatre was officially opened on 1 December 1900 with a performance of Goethe's "Faust". Up until the outbreak of the First World War, the theatre had its own ensemble of a high artistic quality. The theatre became a magnet for artists and musicians from all over the world. Following the 1923 stay of the opera composer Giacomo Puccini in Meran, the theatre was named the "Teatro Puccini".Merano's Theatre is an architectural jewel in the heart of the city. It is easily accessible, located on the Theaterplatz, between the Freiheitsstraße and the Theaterbrücke. Richly decorated, with its elaborate ceiling, beautiful stucco works and gilded ornamentation, the Theatre provides a charming ambience for theatre, cabaret, concerts, readings, presentations, film performances and conferences. The seating in the stalls and the boxes is covered in salmon-pink velvet. A red and gold curtain comes down at the end of each performance. The orchestra pit, stage, stalls, boxes and gallery are all conveniently dimensioned with a total of 292 seats. The interval can be spent in the elegant foyer, while on warm summer evenings the clinking of sparkling wine glasses can be heard on the terrace. The perfect conditions for a wonderful evening. Merano Theatre