Sterzing, once home to the Fugger dynasty; Brixen, seat of the bishops; and Bruneck, Italy’s most liveable small town – these three cities in South Tyrol have it all, and make great destinations for your next city break. Read why you should visit!
A city atmosphere amidst mountains and nature
South Tyrol is a small land between mighty mountains. It’s perfect for hiking, biking – or for a city break... One moment. A city break – in South Tyrol? Yes, that’s right – I’m talking about Brixen, Bruneck and Sterzing, cities that are all worth a visit. Here I tell you why!
Sterzing – the City of the Fugger dynasty
Sterzing is a real Alpine town: its location, between the Brenner Pass, the Jaufen Pass and the Penser Joch pass made it into an important trading post in the Alpine region. It currently counts just over 7,000 residents: it boasts impressive town houses, medieval squares and – of course – a breathtaking mountain backdrop. While you can both visit the shops and sample delicious traditional cuisine here, there is also a range of cultural attractions to take in: examples include the former House of the Deutschorden (Teutonic Order); the parish church of “Unsere liebe Frau im Moos [Our Lady in the Marsh]”; and the Multscher and Municipal Museum, in the former home of the Order of Knights. And, to make absolutely sure you don’t miss anything important, it’s best to take a guided tour of the city! 🙂
By the way, Sterzing is also referred to as the “City of the Fugger dynasty” because so many enterprises made it their headquarters and redesigned existing buildings in the Patrician style. The Fugger family – whose mining activities probably continued longer in and around Sterzing than anywhere else – also left their architectural mark here. The mining industry also left clear traces of this small town’s great prosperity.
Brixen – the City of the Bishops
Located 45 kilometres further to the south, in the Eisack Valley and near the entrance to the Puster Valley, is the charming town of Brixen. One of the oldest cities in all Tyrol and the third largest city in South Tyrol, it is currently home to some 22,728 inhabitants. And, as befits a city in South Tyrol, Brixen is also surrounded by impressive mountains – to the west by the Sarntal Alps, to the north by the Pfunderer range (part of the Zillertal Alps) and to the east by the Lüsner peaks of the Dolomites.
The City of the Bishops is so called because it was ruled for centuries by Prince-Bishops. In keeping with this, one of Brixen’s cultural highlights is of course the cathedral and its cloister. The baroque Hofburg, the Renaissance palace built for the bishops in the 13th century and subsequently renovated, today houses the fascinating Diocesan Museum and Diocesan Archives. The city’s oldest district, Stufels, actually dates back to the New Stone Age: its location, between the Rienz and Eisack rivers, made it a desirable place of settlement. Stufels is nowadays regarded as the artists’ quarter. And, whether you are shopping or simply walking through Brixen, be sure to take a stroll through the historic arcades – they perfectly reflect the city’s style!
Bruneck – Italy’s most liveable small town
It is admittedly a few years since Bruneck was awarded the title of “Italy’s most liveable small town” – in 2009, to be precise. But the reasons still hold true! Bruneck will immediately delight any visitor with its charm. This small town of almost 17,000 inhabitants is located exactly where the Badia Valley and the Tauferer Ahrntal Valley join the Puster Valley. This vibrant town on the River Rienz is characterised by its mountainous scenery and medieval town centre. Bruneck Castle, the Rainkirche church, not to mention the long street known as the Stadtgasse with its shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants are all definitely worth a visit.
The town of Bruneck probably takes its name from Bishop Bruno von Kirchberg, who founded it as a settlement in the 13th century. He also had Bruneck Castle built on a hill above the town, from where he could oversee his territories in the Puster Valley. Today, Bruneck Castle is home to Reinhold Messner’s Messner Mountain Museum, which also merits a visit.
So, to conclude, a city trip to South Tyrol is definitely worth your while, even if you’ve already seen Bozen and Meran, its two most famous cities. And, if you’re not quite sure what exactly to see and do here, you’re in good hands with our city specialists <https://www.suedtirolprivat.com/de/urlaubstyp/stadt.html?specializations=8f2a5907-ea34-42e9-bef5-43e>– or, better still, right in the midst of it all!
Yours from the heart