Itinerary: Dolomites, South Tyrol, Ahrntal, Campo Tures, Lutago, San Giovanni, Valle Aurina, Predoi, Casere
Ahrntal, the pearl of Tyrol in the extreme north of Italy
Valle Aurina (generally known in English as Ahrntal from its German name) is located in the extreme north of Italy, in the province of Bolzano and near the Italian border with Austria. The valley is located in a beautiful environment between the National Park of Vedrette Ries Aurina and the Zillertal Alps, in one of the most impressive areas of the Dolomites. Here, the towering peaks of the Dolomites, some of which are even higher than 3000 meters a.s.l., offer unforgettable views!
The valley extends from Campo Tures to the Austrian border in one of the most pristine natural environments in South Tyrol. Because of being surrounded by high mountains and then a little more isolated, the valley has been able to preserve its own ancient folklore and traditions. So, it is a perfect destination to learn about the people living here, in an unspoiled environment, where 98% of the inhabitants speaks German and not Italian, although the area politically belongs to Italy.
Also, in Valle Aurina (Ahrntal) it is impossible to get bored, as you will get the chance to choose from a multitude of activities, such as all-level trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, let alone mountaineering, free climbing, rafting, skiing, biathlon, ice climbing, sledding, and downhill skiing.
Some not-to-be-missed activities are a visit to the National Park of Vedrette di Ries-Aurina, where you can admire the wonderful waterfalls of Riva di Turies, and a long walk at the foot of the impressive mountains that surround the valley.
Sport and nature are not the only attractions of this region, as it is also a good culture-oriented destination.
Speaking of that, we suggest visiting:
- the South Tyrol Museum of Mining in Predoi (Prettau). It is an interesting exhibition mine, located 15 kilometers from Cadipietra (Kornkasten) with over twenty mining tunnels. A visit of 45 minutes includes a ride on the mining rail. A not-to-be-missed attraction!
- the Museum of Nativity of Maranatha Lutago. It is the largest museum in Europe dedicated to displaying Nativity scenes.;
- the Mineral Museum Artur Kirchler in S. Giovanni, with minerals of the Zillertal Alps and the Hohe Tauern. It displays one of the most comprehensive collections of minerals, even rare rock crystals, of the Eastern Alps.
The small villages that scatter all over the valley are beautiful and peaceful spots full of charm with their picturesque alleys and mountain-style houses.
In Campo Tures you can visit Castle of Tures (Burg Taufers) (pic n°3), which is one of the most beautiful castles built in the Alps, and where many exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Not far from Campo Tures, there is Castel Neumelans. This Renaissance-style residence was built in the sixteenth century and, although you can visit the exteriors only, since today it is a private property, it is really worth a stop.
In Casere, you can visit the small Church of Santo Spirito. As it was built in the fifteenth century, it is one of the oldest churches in South Tyrol, and it used to give shelter to the Tyrolese and Austrian miners.
Some pics of Valle Aurina (Ahrntal):