Two weeks ago we went to Bolzano, E had work meetings and I was able to tag along this time. Bolzano is a 5 hour drive away up into the Italian Alps and the capital of Sudtirol, in the Alto Adige region of Northeastern Italy. We went last year as well and I remember it fondly and loved it. The shops are amazing so of course I had a good time. There was a lot to see but I wasn’t overwhelmed and it still felt familiar. I didn’t mind roaming the streets all day by myself.
Bolzano is very close to Austria and Germany so there are many people who speak German here as well as Italian. Even when people spoke Italian I could hear an accent much different than at home in Tuscany. When I would go into the stores people would always assume I was German “Hallo” they would say, because I obviously don’t have any Italian physical characteristics, and ask me a question in German. I would give a puzzled look and respond in Italian. I don’t think anyone in Europe would assume I am American because America is such a melting pot. Oh the fun.
When we travel to different parts of Italy I’m always intrigued by the different way of lifestyle. Bolzano is very north compared to where we live and not located close to a sea. The style of food in each area of Italy would surprise you as to how diverse they really are. I think most people in America think that everyone in Italy eats spaghetti in a tomato sauce with those huge meatballs. Am I right? Well that is definitely far from the truth. In fact, my boyfriend has never even had spaghetti with meatballs and he has lived in Italy his whole entire life. I’ll begin with sharing my knowledge of Bolzano cuisine.
Northern Italy is in close proximity to Austria, France and Germany. Strong focuses on cheese, buttery sauces, truffles and hearty meats. It becomes very cold in the winter months so it’s common to serve a comforting bowl of hot polenta with ragù that will warm you from inside out. I noticed that Bolzano had a huge German and Austrian influence, I’d see pretzels in the windows next to loafs of Italian bread. I also saw a couple eating a plate of dried meats (common all throughout Italy), but this couple had miniature pickles to accompany the meats and cheeses. That is something you would never see in Tuscany and I assume that is definitely the German/Austrian influence.
Another typical thing you will find in Bolzano is the strudel. Strudel is a type of layered pastry with a sweet filling, it can be filled with apples, pine nuts, cinnamon and sugar and is originated in Austria. Speaking of apples, red apples from the mountainous parts of Italy are supposedly the best in North Italy, our hotel had a large glass vase full of crisp red apples for the guests on each floor. Definitely came home with a dozen of my own, don’t mind if I do!
Until next time Bolzano.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― Augustine of Hippo