An hour north by train from Bolzano, MERANO (Meran) lies in an attractive, broad stretch of the Adige (Etsch) Valley. Neatly tended apple orchards and vineyards cover almost every square inch of the lower slopes and valley floor, but when you look upwards the scale changes due to the two great mountain ranges – the Ortles (Ortler) and the Giogaia di Tessa (Texelgruppe) encircling the town. Closer geographically and in looks to the Swiss and Austrian Alps than the Dolomites, the grandeur of the landscape turns up a notch here – and a simple event like a summer storm becomes a drama, with the whole valley reverberating to the rumble of thunder.

A well-heeled spa town, relaxed, stylish and packed with affluent shoppers and spa-goers, Merano has a mild climate that attracted Central Europeans at the beginning of the last century after Empress Elizabeth of Austria – known as Sissi – chose the town for her winter cure. The époque bequeathed a resort of fin-de-siècle hotels, gardens and elegant promenades.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Italy has long been one of Europe's most popular destinations. From the magnificent remnants of ancient Rome to the coolest in contemporary culture, secret beac…

08 Jun 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Not so long ago, Turin (Torino) – Italy’s great northern powerhouse – was largely ignored by tourists, unfairly dismissed as little more than a giant Fiat…

26 May 2017 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
6 enticing alternatives to Italy's big sights

6 enticing alternatives to Italy's big sights

You’ve hiked the Cinque Terre, gondola’d down Venice’s Grand Canal and got Renaissance art fatigue in Florence’s Uffizi. So what’s next? Italophile Na…

15 May 2017 • Natasha Foges insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month