By: Sara Grazia
One of the benefits of my working trips in Italy is that I get to travel to a lot of new and exciting towns, villages and small farmlets that you would not normal see when you’re on holiday.
One of my favourite out of the way towns to visit in northern Italy is Bolzano. Nestled on the Italian and Austrian border, Bolzano is a small city of mixed cultures. Here you will find some of the best Italian flavours infused with traditional Austrian delicacies.
This part of Italy is best known for its cured speck and strudel! I can say that this is the best place in all of Italy to enjoy strudel.
In the street markets, stalls are filled with a variety of produce, flowers and trinkets. The bakery stall sells large pretzel buns along with salami, speck and locally produced cheeses from farms in and around the Alps on both sides of the border.
Speck is a cured smoked meat, traditional to the northern regions of Italy, predominantly close to the alpine region. In this part of the world, it’s as readily available as a McDonalds in a large city. On every corner, and at almost every market stall there is someone selling speck. It’s particularly delicious when it’s sweetly smoked and in a freshly made toasted flat bread with rocket and sliced parmesan. That was breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea for me on this particular day.
Being here was like being on a Hollywood movie set, there are streets that are very Austrian inspired, and then you turn down an alleyway and you’d be certain you were in the back streets of Rome.
Being here in winter was a truly magical experience, there was a large carousal in the centre square which in the evenings is surrounded by a night market at certain times of the year and a live orchestra.
On the edge of the city flows a large river and on the other side, the winter play ground to the rich and famous. Dotted all over the mountain side were villas large and small, some occupied all year around, and others only seasonal.
In winter, this area is famous for its ski fields, and in the spring and summer time, the pathways are full of hikers and walking enthusiasts.
The views are amazing and it constantly changes as you continue moving.
For a magical experience, in any season, I would highly recommend taking the long drive out to Bolzano and stay for a day or two. If you’re planning a foodie trip, you might need more than a couple of days, scattered through the town, its surround villages and throughout the mountains are a multitude of artisan producers.
Some producing in shops and selling their produce over the counter, others are on farms offering tastings and produce to take away over their kitchen tables, some even out the boot of the cars. A wonderfully magically experience nestled away in the Alps.