Bolzano is a beautiful and interesting town.Weâ€™d decided to end our month-long vacation here because we wanted to see the Dolomites.This area of the Alps is known for skiing in the winter and rock-climbing, base jumping and hang gliding in the summer.We were just planning on a little simple hiking after all the riding around in a bus in Croatia.The fog made that impossible or at least pointless.No sense in hiking for the views when you canâ€™t see 20 feet.The fog just seemed to come out of the mountains like they were exhaling summer.A beautiful thought but frustrating to experience.
Luckily thereâ€™s more to Bolzano than mountain walking.We had also planned to see Otzi, the Iceman, who was in a museum there.Otzi was born about 3,300 BC (fifty three centuries ago or as long before Homer as we are after Homer).He died in the Alps and was naturally mummified by the ice before he was discovered by hikers in 1991.
Amazingly this Copper Age man and his clothes and his weapons were well preserved so we have knowledge of all sorts of things previously unsuspected.For instance, Otzi has tattoos, probably to cure pain in arthritic joint.He truly is unique and even has his own museum which does a very good job of explaining what has been learned about life fifty three centuries ago.
I read somewhere that Bolzano has the highest per capita income in Italy and I can believe it.The shopping alone is enough to draw tourists (and I didnâ€™t even get to the part of town that was supposed to have the best shops).The Portici is a long narrow road connecting the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza Municipio and it has been lined with shops for centuries.Since the 15th century, the German merchants have built their homes with ground floor shops on one side of the street and Italian merchants have built on the other.These grand homes with the ground floor shopping arcades are still there, the shopping is still there, and the Italian sense of style is very much in evidence.
As if the above wasnâ€™t enough, Bolzano also has some old and interesting churches.We visited the 14th century Gothic Cathedral and the DominicanChurch.We also bought more t shirts for the grandchildren and had a few meals in Bolzano.The cooking wasnâ€™t up to the standards in other parts of Italy but other than that, we really like the town.
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