Welcome to your dream holidays in Merano
Merano history and Dolce Vita
Holidays in Merano and surroundings... an attractive town that boasts quality of life, elegance and a touch of nostalgia; nestled in the kind of beautiful countryside that attracts many people just like you. Thanks to the delightfully mild climate, you can enjoy beautiful greenery and an exotic array of plants all year round: a touch of Mediterranean flair!
Merano has also played a central role in the history of South Tirol: under the Dukes of Tirol, who had their main seat in the nearby Schloss Tirol, Merano was the capital of the Duchy of Tirol. During the 18th Century the town’s reputation as a spa town grew thanks to its incredibly fresh air, and many notable figures spent time here, not least the famous Empress Elisabeth “Sissi” of Austria.
Today, Merano still attracts many visitors with its impressive architecture, its unique location and its many international festivals (for example the Meraner Music Weeks) making it one of the most visited places in South Tirol.
Discover the history of Merano – Merano over 700 years
- In 857 Merano was first documented under the name Mairania.
- In 1317 Merano was declared a city.
- Merano was the capital of the Duchy of Tirol (which existed officially until 1848) until 1420, having been granted this status in the 13th Century by the Dukes of Tirol.
- From 1420 under the rule of Friedrich "with the empty purse", the capital was moved to Innsbruck.
- Under his descendant Siegmund "the rich in coin" came the transfer of the royal mint, to Hall in Tirol in 1484, weakening Merano's position.
- In 1809 during the Tyrolean struggles for independence Merano once again came under the spotlight: at Segenbühel above Merano the Tiroleans fought and won against French and Bavarian troups under the leadership of Andreas Hofer, who hailed from the Passeier Valey.
- In 1855 Merano became a spa town, popular with the aristocracy and the upper classes that came to the town in great numbers. In 1914 alone, 40,100 guests stayed here.
- After World War I South Tirol, and Merano with it, fell to Italy.
- During World War II Merano served as a hospital town. There is a monument in the courtyard of Otto-Huber-Straße 36A to the Jews who were taken from here to Germany 1943.
- Merano has a long history as a spa town and a stopping off point for travellers. It became one of the first tourist towns of the Hapsburg empire with many famous guests from the worlds of culture and politics. Scientists and doctors rated the spa town very highly, largely thanks to its mild, Mediterranean climate and the pure clean air, which was particularly good at treating respiratory problems. The spa concert even formed part of the prescribed cure.
- Since 1855 there was a small spa band, and later a spa orchestra, which would perform concerts twice daily during high season. The spa orchestra continued until 2005 and was one of the best known of the Hapsburg period. A tradition that continued well into the 9th decade of the 20th century.
- After 1945 the aim was to recreate Merano's name as one of the most important tourist destinations in South Tirol.
- In 1981 the chess world championship was battled out here between Karpov and Kortschnoi, only a short while after the qualifying match between Kortschnoi and Dr. Hübner which had also taken place in Merano.
- The Baths: a fine example of the Merano art nouveau style
- The Royal Castle - residence of the Tyrolean Dukes
- The Church of St. Nikolaus - the cathedral at the very heart of the city
- The Women’s Museum under the Merano arches
- The Modern Art Gallery of Merano - exhibitions of contemporary art and architecture with art cafe
- The City Museum - A local museum for prehistoric and early history
- Jewish Museum and Synagogue
- The Palais Mamming Museum - Baroque museum next to the Church of St. Nikolaus
- The Baths - a peaceful place in the centre of the city. An all-encompassing centre for health, wellbeing and wellness in Merano with 26 pools and a spa complex of 52 000m² (opened in 2005)
- The Merano Hippodrome - an oasis of green in the centre of the City, where the most important and exciting horse races of the Italian season take place. The venue was first opened in 1935.
- The gardens of Trauttmansdorff Palace, awarded the most beautiful botanical gardens of Italy award in 2005. There is also a touriseum, a museum dedicated to the tourist history of South Tirol.
- The Tappeiner Promenade - a 6 km long footpath in the South Tyrolean city of Merano, (opened in 1893) built by doctor, botanist and anthropologist Franz Tappeiner (1816- 1902). It is situated a good 100 m above Talkessel
- The Sissi Path, a historical walk from Trauttmansdorff Palace to the centre of the spa town of Merano
Merano and surrounding areas
The area around Merano is also rich in natural and cultural attractions. The areas around the spa town and the nearby regional capital of Bolzano attract many visitors and guarantee pleasurable and rich cultural holidays.
- The Ötzi museum focussed on Ötzi, the body preserved in the mountain ice, that was found on the Hauslabjoch mountain in 1991
- Sigmundskron Palace with the Messner Mountain Museum
- The Bolzano Cathedral
- The Museion – museum for modern and contemporary art
- The merchant museum and merchant houses tell the story of trade in Bolzano
- The fruit market (open daily) with its brightly coloured fruit and vegetable stalls
- Castle Tirol with its South Tirol museum of history and culture of the region
- Gufyland – bird sanctuary near Castle Tirol with impressive bird show
- The Church of St. Peter with ancient Roman relics
- Castle Schenna with mausoleum for Archduke Johann (end of the 19th Century)
- South Tyrolean fruit tree museum
- Die Parish Church of the Ascension of Mary dating back to the year 1492 with a double winged Gothic altar
- The typewriter museum established by Peter Mitterhofer
- The miniature railway world (opened 2009)
- The St. Prokulus Chapel from the 7th Century with pre-Carolean frescoes – the oldest preserved frescoes in the German-speaking world
- The beautiful Churburg of the Dukes of Trapp, one of the most picturesque castles in South Tirol with the largest private armoury in Europe
- Take a trip around the universe in the fascinating simulation room of the Planetarium right on the town square of the little town of Gummer.
- At “Orchid World” you will discover something new and astonishing, whether you are an orchid fan or not: there’s a network of lakes with waterfalls, hanging bridges, Koi Carp and water turtles, an adventure playground for children, bees in apiaries and of course a number of stations where you can playfully test and improve your knowledge of orchids, their growth and their reproduction.