Spring in Europe [Part 4] | Brixen/Bressanone, Italy

Since about 1999, I’ve been visiting Brixen almost yearly. My grandmother resides in this quaint town, so I guess I could say it’s my “home base” whenever I visit Europe. It never occurred to me to write about it, but it’s such a lovely little place and deserves a little shoutout.

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This South Tyrolean haven, nestled in the Italian Alps, is most famous for its winter sports on the Plose and hiking in the summer. It’s especially convenient to get to, as many train connections pass through this valley and a lot of them stop at the Brixen train station. From here, you can travel to virtually anywhere in Italy, as well as other parts of Europe, depending on how much time you have. The closest commercial airport is in Innsbruck, Austria.

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What’s interesting about Brixen is that the area has been settled since the Late Stone Age, and was later conquered by the Romans. It also used to be a part of Austria, but was annexed by Italy after WWI, so a majority of the residents speak both Italian and German.

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Plose has a stunning view of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. Unfortunately, when we went up there early in April, the ski-season had just ended. The further we drove up the winding mountain roads, the less people we saw. All restaurants, hotels and shops were closed until the summer season started. It was like a mountainside of ghost towns.

 

This didn’t deter us and we continued until we reached the top. The combination of the desertedness and the breathtaking view of the Dolomites on that clear blue-skied day was humbling…and a little haunting.

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During our intermittent stay (we also traveled to Sirmione, Florence and Rome in-between), we walked through the main part of town munching at ice creams, then stopping for alfresco cappuccinos whilst admiring the Cathedral of Brixen (10th Century). I also bought myself a dirndl, which I shall proudly exhibit during 2014’s Oktoberfest in KL.

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After having consumed a great deal, I compiled some must-tries for those who may end up visiting this historic town. Do try the Nutella ice cream at Capriccio Eisdiele-Bistro on via Plose. Capriccio is a little bit out of town, so another great Gelateria that’s located in the middle of town is called Pradetto, where they serve a mouthwatering Rocher® ice cream.

 

In general, Italian ice cream will likely hit the spot, but a good Pizza does just the same. Osteria Kutscherhof serves a mean pizza and is also located in the middle of town. For a drink after, head to La Habana, a Cuban-themed whole-in-the-wall wine bar that serves a refreshing Spritz, a variety of wines, rum and cigars.

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