If there's an Alpine culture, well, I think Bolzano might be a good representative. The city has little to share with the average impression you may have from any Italian city: of course, Italy is made by several different aspects which may be quite far away one from the other, but Bolzano has something more. It is not just the fact of being a 'different' Italian city, but it seems it belongs to another universe, something partially suspended in the fading lights of the former Aubsburg Empire and something very well based on a reality of an autonomous mountain economy which exists and may be recognized.
The things for sale in the shops in Bolzano aren't cheap but some of the kitchen equipment is of an extremely high standard. There seem to be lots of craftsman made knives. I bought a parmesan cheese grater - the grater bit sits on a wooden box, so after grating you can shake the cheese out. I use it several times a week and it still looks good. Cost about 30 Euro but worth every penny. Ours was from Schoenhuber Franchi.
Bread and cakes are a typical...
Bread and cakes are a typical product in this area. In Bolzano you may find lots of bakeries offering a wide range of interesting breads, including rye bread, though not the integral German one.
I found a nice dry rye bread in round shapes, very hard to bite, with a lot of aniseed in it in Panificio Lemayr - PANE E TRADIZIONE: via Avogadro 8 in the city centre. In the same shop I had a great slice of wonderful apple strudel and the more difficult poppy seed strudel.
Pfelders (German)/ Plan...
Pfelders (German)/ Plan (Italian)
is a very small village in the Passeiertal / Val Passiria and it is worth staying in Pfelders for nice hicking in the mountains. It is souraunded by mountains like in a melting-pot - the street end here.
In Wintertime it is also great to go skiing - but be aware that it is very familiar! Population is 500 in high seasons about 1300. Stay at the Thomas Hof or the Edelweiss - two very old buildings with very familiar flair and friendly hosts.
My main pleasure in staying...
My main pleasure in staying here, was the challenging I did with my bicycle going up and and down these high peeks...I had so much fun and satisfaction with these 'tiny' fights with myself...and some days I would had gone early in the morning to the reach the mountain top, were the hotel group would start the daily hiking...changed my clothes on two feet, and then start walking with them...well you can image how tired I was at the end of the day, after dinner...I fell asleep like a log...no nightlife in those days...but only the will inside to start another day with the fresh early morning air...while my friends were still fast asleep...and I couldn't wait to discover something new of these fabulous mountains...even though, after one intense day of hiking...on my way back to the hotel, with my bike...I was in quite a big trouble, I had nearly no energy left...and my friend that already arrived to the hotel, got so worried, that he came to search me with the car, for picking me and my bicycle up....but I said no thanks!...and I think I got a little mad of him...'cause, yes it was true I was coming back very slowly, but I didn't want to give up...I wanted to win my little battle!! so I sent my friend away screaming at him....my ego,was hurt!! aha! but I did win...;-))
..after a few years, my friend talking to some other guys, about our adventures, said about me: 'that yeah for sure he had his slow rhythm, but at the end he always made it'...he admired me for this, for never giving up...What a compliment he made, thanks! he made me very proud!
Ahhhh I wish I was like this in very life activity....but it seems I'm not!!! ohhhhh!!!