Südtirol or Sudtirolo. South Tyrol. The Italian Dolomites. Whatever you call it, the NE corner of Italy was our favorite cycle touring location from our trip through Europe.
A German traveler first insisted we visit this place, a sentiment echoed by other people we met along our way. They were right; the little-known, sparsely populated region is a captivating area. I could see myself living there for an extended period sometime.
South Tyrol lies in Italy’s far northeastern tip. It is distant from Rome to the point of autonomy, and even retains most of its tax revenue rather than passing it along to the national government. The region was formerly part of Austria (almost 3/4 of people speak German as their first language) and retains that country’s efficiency and organization. On the other hand, its capital, Bolzano, has won the Italian “best quality of life” award. (In fact, all menus and signs feature both German and Italian.)
On top of that, throw in a stunning mix of scenery and riverside cycle paths through mountain valleys or through picturesque Italian towns. Fair warning that even with the bike paths, there are some long, steep climbs! The mountain biking was also awesome, and I can’t wait to get back to explore more of that realm.
If you are planning to cycle here (do it!), the links and details are in my logistics post about bicycle touring through Europe. Everyone else just check out the photos and video documenting our two weeks in this cycling paradise (email subscribers click here, web visitors can watch the embedded version below). I finally bought some real video editing software and had a great time trying new features and honing my video production skills on this 2.5 minute compilation. More to come…