It is after a sweet krapfen jam, savored in one of the premises of the historic center of Bolzano, which we leave its charming interweaving of alleys and squares to go to the discovery of two interesting centers located in the north west of Trentino-Alto Adige, Ulten and Glurns.
With the elegant streets of the center of Bolzano still in the eye, we walk along the Adige valley towards Merano until we reach Lana, a town located at the entrance of the Val d'Ultimo. We leave the Val d'Adige to enter the Val d'Ultimo, characterized by ancient farms, thick woods and meadows, and surrounded by the high peaks of the south-eastern Ortles group.
The forty kilometers long valley is, in its highest part, included in the Stelvio National Park.
After San Pancrazio, the first village in the valley, with the interesting Castel d'Ultimo, also known as Eschenlohe castle, symbol of the valley and the ancient residence of the lords of the valley, we continue towards the upper valley up to Ultimo, composed of the three hamlets of Santa Valburga, San Nicolò and Santa Gertrude.
Dominated by the village church, located on a hill, Santa Valburga rises 1190 meters above sea level and is characterized by the lake of Zoccolo, populated by different species of fishes including the arctic char, marble trout, rainbow trout and char of fountain.
It is instead at 1256 meters above sea level that San Nicolò is found, from the beautiful bell tower of the church that dominates the roofs of the town, where we allow ourselves a visit to the Museum of val d'Ultimo, located in the heart of the town, where to deepen knowledge of the culture and traditions of local farmers, including smokehouses, work tools and the reproduction of a typical work room.
The highest of the villages in the valley is Santa Gertrude, at 1500 meters, from where many excursions depart for the Stelvio National Park. On the outskirts of the village are the ancient larches, of which three in particular by the height of 28 meters and the diameter of over eight, declared a natural heritage by UNESCO.
Let's go back to Lana, to continue again towards Merano, the ancient capital of the Tyrol, and continue in the splendid Val Venosta, an important historical connecting area, full of churches and castles immersed in breathtaking landscapes.
Among the most beautiful and historically interesting centers of the valley there is Glurns, the only fortress town, almost completely intact, of Trentino-Alto Adige. At the center of the upper Val Venosta, a few kilometers from the Swiss border, in Roman times it was an important commercial crossroads towards Switzerland, assuming, in the first half of the fourteenth century, an important commercial role by holding the salt trade monopoly from Hall in Tyrol. Enclosed in the virtually intact renaissance walls, with semicircular towers and the three city gates, Glorenza enchants with its elegant historical buildings and the patrician houses of the sixteenth century, the churches, including the beautiful parish church of San Pancrazio, a late Gothic building with a baroque bell tower bulb, and the arcades of the XIII century; then the narrow alleys, the inner courtyards and the beautiful facades of the early Gothic.
Dover of a delicious break based on dumplings, the ancient local peasant recipe, prepared with bread, milk and eggs, and flavored with bacon, cheese, parsley and onion, which we accompany with a white South Tyrolean wine, Alto Adige Classico Bianco DOC .
These are the extraordinary mountains of South Tyrol to accompany us to Bolzano, along the way back. The waters of the Adige, the meadows and the woods still give us many enchanting views, while Ultimo and Glurns are already nostalgic.