Piazza Walthar and the duomo
Cured meat stall in Piazza Erbe
Medieval castle near the passeggiata
Bolzano coat of arms
View of the Dolomites from the passeggiata

Bella Bolzano

We first visited Bolzano before Christmas last year. In just three hours of wandering around the old town, warming myself with local ale and chilli laced Gulasch and later weaving around the Christmas market, my wife and I decided that we'd like to make this beautiful town our home. A rash, mid-life crisis fuelled decision perhaps, but so far we are yet to be disappointed.

We arrived with our few worldly belongings in May and were greeted by a Bolzano much different to the frozen commune we had discovered in December. The streets of the Old Town, warmed by a Spring Sun and bright blue sky, were buzzing with tourists who thronged between the bountiful market of Piazza Erbe and the central, cafe lined Piazza Walthar.

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An Alpini hat on a shelf

I see Alpini people !

Last weekend saw Bolzano host the 85th meeting of the Alpini. An army of old mountain troops descended on the town bringing with them tents, camper vans, their families and of course their iconic green hats complete with feather. They also brought their memories, comradeship and in some cases they brought their mules too.

The town quickly transformed into a giant campsite on the Friday with Alpini marking a temporary home wherever they could find a patch of grass. Locals, tourists and green capped revellers thronged the streets while the park was encamped by the modern day Alpini together with their artillery and helicopters.

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A mad henchman

The weather can be spectacolo

Well this wouldn't be an English speaking blog without a discussion about the weather, although in my experience Italians can more than match the English in this subject. Now on my way here last winter my guide book confidently reassured me that Bolzano is a sun trap, sheltered from the elements by the monster hills that surround it.

I suspect the writer didn't stay too long and perhaps obtained the information from the local tourist office which admittedly also claims that San Gennaio has over 300 days of sunshine per year. Certainly not this year thats for sure.

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