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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Better than Chocolates?

Better than Cookies, better than Candy.

Dried  Kumquats.

They're not easy to find.  

Of course the Piazza Walter in Bolzano, Italy has them.
The vendors of the Piazza have everything, no matter what time of year, Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall.  

The Piazza is named after Walther von der Vogelweide (1178-1238), one of the great German poets and storytellers of the Middle Ages. 
The Südtyrol region passed from Austria to Italy in 1919.  To this day both Italian and German is spoken. 

Bolzano is just over the Alps.  Getting there is very easy.  It's about a 2 hour drive from Innsbruck, Austria on the well maintained super highway, the Brenner Pass.  You can also take the train which is an unforgettable experience.  

Warning, most likely you will be driving on an Austrian Autobahn.  You must have a special sticker attached to your windshield.  They are available at any gas station and cost 8.50 Euros.  The permit is good for 10 days.  
(The fine is 120 Euros) 

Continuing from the Piazza, to the Lauber Gasse, you will find Bolzano's Medieval shopping Arcades.

 This is where the people meet.   

 Here and there remnants of beautiful and early frescoes can be seen inside the arches.  

If shopping is not your favorite pastime then admiring Belle Epoch architecture, visiting one of the more than 200 castles in the area or taking the funicular to high alpine meadows and continuing in a narrow gauge wooden rail car to charming villages is as easy as one, two, three. 

If you are a wine aficionado than this is the place to test your palate.  Hundreds of vintners grow their favorite grapes in the region.  

Sooner or later you will have to take a break for lunch.
So many interesting Restaurants to chose from.  Or you can have a Würstel right in the middle of the square and people watch, one of my most favorite pastimes.   

A basket of an assortment of fine breads, along with a glass of local wine, is always brought to your table, pronto. Shopping under the Arcades in the Lauber Gasse is serious business and soon requires a little nourishment.

There is beauty everywhere.  Most likely unnoticed unless you're walking with your head in the clouds.  

Has anyone else noticed this beautiful angel.  

The Bolzano and Alto Adige regions are known for their  fine wines.  Christmas is a special time to visit Bolzano and its famous Christkindl Markt.   But so is Springtime, when the valleys are a white puff of pear and apple blossoms.  Then there is wine tasting in the Fall and cross country skiing in Winter. 

 More than 20 major Museums are to be found in and near Bolzano.

A must visit is the Museum of Archeology to see the excellent installation of Ötsy, the 5,300 year old Neolithic Man.  The glacier mummy was found by two hikers on October 31, 2011 in the Ötztal Alps. Locals call him "Frozen Fritz".   


I was thinking of you.  Maybe Bolzano will be in your near future. 



  1. What a lovely post...I tried the fruit one time, was not crazy about it...but like squash and beets...one day long long ago, I could not eat them either, but now...I do. Happy New Year~

    1. Hello Mary, The sweetness in the Kumquat is in the skin. You have to pop them into your mouth whole. Dried Kumquats are very different and as you can see have been tossed in sugar. The inside becomes liquid and is a wonderful treat.
      Isn't it interesting how our palates change. When you see dried Kumquats give them a try.

  2. Hello

    Hello Gina, I have just started reading your blog and truly enjoy you. I have many questions I would like to ask you but first I need to figure out how to make comments. I am also glad your home and that you had a wonderful time on your travels. Barbara

    1. Dear Barbara, Thank you for your sweet comment and thank you also for visiting my blog. I am here to answer any questions you might have. Wishing you Happy New Year.

  3. Dear Gina,
    Bolzano and Alto Adige seem inviting at any season but to imagine the valleys in the spring sounds just wonderful. But then again there is
    wine tasting in the fall.....Tried to read some of the poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide but need some words translated.
    Wonderfully informative post, as always.
    Warm greetings, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde, I can see a trip for you to Bolzano next Summer when you visit Germany. Having a car is the best way to experience the area. We have been there so many times.and we know some of the best places to visit, the best places to stay and the best places to eat. If you can plan 5 days then I can highly recommend the Geyerhof in Soprabolzano.

  4. Dear Gina - You have tempted me to revisit Bolzano.
    I have special memories of discovering my first ever Spring Soldenella alpina in the mountains above Bolzano, and wandering around their market at pumkin time.
    I love your photos, and would love to see the Neolithic Man.

    1. Dear Rosemary, I would love to know more about your visit to Soprabolzano. Did you take the funicular to the top or did you drive? Aren't the hiking trails spectacular? I can't think of a better way to spend a holiday.
      You will be amazed at the "Frozen Fritz" exhibit. To think that he is older than the Pyramids. Even his clothing and travel articles were preserved in the ice glaziers.

    2. Dear Gina - we did not stay in Bolzano but in a hotel across the mountains by Lake Molveno during springtime so our journey to the mountain tops was mainly by car and then walking. We also visited by car again, but one autumn when we stayed near Lake Garda.
      It is a beautiful area.

  5. Thank you, Gina, for these gorgeous photographs. You've added Bolzano to my travel list, with the visual images taking hold in my visual memory bank. Perhaps you might be sharing a few more pictures with us?

    Happy New Year! xo

    1. Dear Frances, There will be more pictures. For now, I would like to wish you a most wonderful New Year, with much happiness and prosperity. Thank you so much for being such a loyal visitor. It is so appreciated. ox, Gina

  6. Beautiful images for all the senses! We used to have kumquat trees in Southern California growing up...

    1. Hello Ellen, Thank you for your lovely compliment. How lucky you are that you live in California where Kumquats grow. Did you ever try drying them? Happy New Year to you and yours and thank you for your visit and comment.

  7. Hello, Gina! So glad you had such a wonderful trip. I will definitely put Bolzano on the list. Wishing you a Happy New Year!!! x

    1. My dear Georgianna, When you are ready to visit let me know so that I can point out a few places that you don't want to miss.. Springtime would be the ideal time...but then so would be the Fall,
      Wishing you and David a very Happy New Year and lots of opportunities to take more of your fabulous photographs.
      Thank you also for sending Christmas greetings. Those photographs of the horses and large green vistas have permanently invaded my mind. ox, Gina

  8. I too would love to visit here Gina - your pics are beautiful - it's an area I've never seen.

    Hugs - Mary

    1. Dear Mary, I will disclose and share everything I know. ox, Gina

  9. I was thinking about you and wondered if you were back! I see that you are, and by the sounds of this post, you had a wonderful time. I am looking forward to reading more about it! Welcome back, Gina, and Happy Anniversary to you and Mr. Gene!

  10. Hello Barbara, Thank you for thinking of us. Yes, we are back. We had a really special trip. And of course, anytime we can include Italy into our itinerary I am delighted. I know that there is some Italian blood mixed in with the East Prussian from the Baltic Sea.
    Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new Year and lots of success with your upcoming travels to Italy. ox, Gina