Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Holidays in the Pusteria valley in South Tyrol

South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian) region in the north-eastern Alps in Italy is a beautiful land with snow covered mountains, grassy meadows, amazing lakes and breath-taking panoramas. We visited the tiny mountain town of Rio di Pusteria in this region for a short holiday.

An evening view, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The image above shows an evening view of Rio di Pusteria, nestled among the Alps mountains.

Historical background & General information

Rio di Pusteria is an old market town on the Rienza river, located between the Isarco and Pusteria valleys. Near the town, a sluice gate on the river creates the Pusteria lake.

Pusteria lake on Rienza river, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

In olden times there was a toll station here, including a defensive fortress built in the 13th century. The ruins of this fortress are located towards the east of the city.

Ruins of the fortress, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Till the First World War, South Tyrol was a part of Austria. Thus, in this area, many persons speak German and all places have an Italian name and an Austrian name. For example, Rio di Pusteria is called Mühlbach (the mill on the torrent) by the German speakers.

Rio is a tiny town with less than 3,000 inhabitants. Its altitude varies from 777 to 1,414 metres. The city includes some neighbouring mountain areas, which are famous for their skiing-slopes.

Our holidays

We wanted to explore the nature in this region. Initially, we were thinking of staying in Bressanone city. However, we thought that to visit the lakes and the mountains, it would be better to stay in a smaller town, and thus we decided to stay in Rio. I did the online booking at hotel Rosenhof and we were very happy with our choice.

Hotel Rosenhof, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The hotel was beautiful and its owners were friendly. Our room on the top floor had a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. The breakfast was huge and very satisfying. The hotel was close to the city centre and a couple of nice pizza restaurants.

Rio di Pusteria town

Rio is a tiny town, full of narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old houses with their balconies full of flowers.

City centre and the church bell tower, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The city centre has the St. Andrea church built in the Gothic style in the 14th century. It has an old part where the grandmother of Pope Benedict XIV, Maria Tauber Peintner was married in 1858.

Interior, St Andrea church, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The church includes a new part, which has beautiful modern stained-glass windows.

New stained glass windows, St Andrea church, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The city centre also includes a sky-lift station from where you can take the cable car to Maranza and from there to other mountains. Persons staying in a hotel in Rio get a free travel card which allows unlimited journeys on the sky-lift. I will write about Maranza in another post.

Cable car of the sky-lift to Maranza, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Walks around Rio di Pusteria

There are different hiking trails starting from Rio including the one going to Selvaggio lake from Valles and another, going to Malga Fane-Alm. These trails are for the serious hikers.

If you do not wish to do strenuous hiking, you can go for a walk towards the fortress ruins or along the Via Holden, which goes along a torrent passing near the city centre. It passes under the railway bridge.

The railway bridge and the torrent, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

A little further down, when the torrent joins the Pusteria river, you can proceed along the river bank on a forest path for a couple of kilometres. We went for a walk on this road and found it easy and yet very stimulating.

A walk along Via Holden, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Conclusions

During our stay in Rio di Pusteria, except for a couple of walks, we did not spend much time in the town. Rather we used it as our base to explore the nearby mountains and lakes in Maranza, Braies, Neves and Dobbiaco. Except for Maranza, we didn't have enough time to explore the different mountains through the sky-lift even if we had the free sky-lift pass. Still we loved this little town.

City centre, Rio di Pusteria, South Tyrol, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

It was one of our most memorable holidays. In fact, I would like to go back one day to Rio di Pusteria for another holiday and this time, spend more time exploring the mountains through the sky-lift!

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6 comments:

  1. Very nice write up. Wonderful pictures and superb place to visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shubhangi for the appreciation. Rio di Pusteria is totally worth a visit! :)

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  2. Wonderful description of a very beautiful place !!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for your appreciation Soumya :)

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