2-3 days in Merano, Italy
A short stay in Italy to discover Alpine art, history, and culture

Do you know where in Merano you can marvel at a cake that Empress Elisabeth of Austria has already nibbled on? And the death mask of Emperor Napoleon? Or a document signed by Duke Rudolf IV of Habsburg?
Continue reading to find out which cultural treasures are hidden in the spa town and how you can visit them during your short stay in Merano, Italy, if you are interested in history, art and culture.

Sissi's cake

Admittedly, it looks a little dry by now, but apart from that, the round chocolate cake could have just come out of the oven.
It can be admired in the Touriseum, the South Tyrol Museum of Tourism, which is housed in Trauttmansdorff Castle. This and many other historical exhibits tell the story of tourism in the Alps and in the spa town of Merano in particular, which was essentially heralded by the visit of the Austrian Empress. When she was served this cake in 1897, she only ate a small piece of it.
Trauttmansdorff Castle is surrounded by the homonymous gardens, which are among the most beautiful in the world and have won international awards. Covering an area of twelve hectares, there are trees, flowers and cultivated plants from all over the world to marvel at from spring to autumn. There are also highlights such as the Sounding Stones, the Botanical Underworld, the Garden for Lovers, the glass house with orchids, the barefoot path, and the beehive, as well as two outlook points. Children particularly enjoy the animals in the garden, including dwarf goats, alpacas, guinea pigs and dwarf silkie chickens. Dragonflies, Japanese carp, and the odd frog frolic around the small pond, where tired walkers can relax with a coffee or ice cream.

Document by Duke Rudolf IV of Habsburg

On the 10th of February 1363, the duke confirmed the rights and freedoms of the town of Vipiteno, the northernmost town in South Tyrol, with this document. Today it can be admired, along with countless other valuable artefacts that tell the long and eventful history of Merano in the Alps, in the exhibition rooms of Tirol Castle above Merano, one of the most beautiful castles in the Alps.
However, the main attraction is the castle itself, the foundation stone of which was laid in the 11th century. It was the seat of the Counts of Tyrol until the 15th century. In addition to the main castle, you can also visit the crypt, the Knights' Hall, the Emperor’s Hall, two chapels, the walkway, the keep and more. You can use an audio guide or book a guided tour in advance.
A visit to Tirol Castle can be wonderfully combined with a walk through the village of Tirolo: To do this, take the chairlift to Tirolo, which is just a few minutes away from the Wosching Haus Apartments in Merano, and then follow the signs to Tirol Castle. The footpaths lead through Alpine-Mediterranean green spaces and vineyards and past pretty villas and dreamy little houses.

Napoleon's death mask

5 copies were made in total - one is in the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, one at Hôtel des Monnaies in Paris, one in the Napoleonic Museum in Santiago de Cuba, one in the Athenaeum in Philadelphia and one - you guessed it - in the Palais Mamming Museum in Merano.
If you are spending 2 or 3 days in Italy and are interested in the culture of the Alps, then you should definitely take half a day or even a whole day to go on a tour through the old town of Merano, Italy, and see rarities such as the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Palais Mamming Museum, which was renovated and reopened in 2015, also provides an overview of the historical development of the city, from prehistory to modern art. Another museum in Merano is dedicated to modern Alpine art as well: "Merano arte" in the building of the Cassa di Risparmio under the arcades. Throughout the year, changing exhibitions on fine art, architecture, literature, music, and photography are shown on three floors.

The historic centre of Merano essentially consists of the Steinach district, the oldest part of the city, and the Via dei Portici, the longest arcades in historic Tyrol. Be sure to also gaze up during your tour: many special features can be seen on the facades of the listed houses. In the centre of Via dei Portici, you may notice a shallow gutter: in the Middle Ages, it was used to remove wastewater. Today, the arcades are a popular shopping street. For a small lunchtime snack, you can stop off at the "Trattoria Flora" under the arcades - what is now a stylish Italian restaurant was once Merano's prison. The 14th century walls still hint at its long history. At the end of Via dei Portici lies the parish church of Merano, St. Nicholas. Today, there are 7 clocks on its tower, which are mounted at different heights. This is because the lower clock faces were no longer visible due to the growth of the town. Of the original four city gates of Merano, three still remain: to visit the Venosta gate, all you have to do is look out of the window of your apartment at Wosching Haus. You can walk through the Passirio and Bolzano gates on your tour of the historic centre.
Some of the sights in Merano date back to more recent times. In fact, Merano is one of the best places to see Art Nouveau buildings in Italy: the Wandelhalle (roofed promenade) with paintings of South Tyrolean villages, the Puccini Municipal Theatre and the Kurhaus on the Passirio Promenade are all built in this style. If you are interested in further information, you can join one of the many themed city tours in Merano, which are offered at any time of year.


From ancient times to the present day, Merano has played countless roles, which makes it one of the most diverse cities in the Alps: it has served as a military base, transport hub, market town, government centre, hospital town, spa town, and always as an artistic and cultural centre. Each of these phases has left its mark, which those interested can discover on a 2 or 3-day-holiday in Italy. The best place to stay is right in the centre - that way you won't waste any time getting to Merano's most beautiful sights. The luxurious Wosching Haus Apartments right next to the Venosta gate are ideally located for a city tour of Merano and for all those who want to discover the treasures of the spa town.



IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige/Frieder Blickle

IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige/Angelika Schwarz

IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige/Marion Lafogler