Tales from the Harvest

Make it Happen – South Tyrol, Italysouth-tyrol-landscape

Essentials

Flights

The nearest airport serving Bolzano is Verona, a two-hour drive away. Alternatives are Venice and Innsbruck in Austria. Deutsche Bahn offers a South Tyrol transfer from Verona airport train station to the Isarco Valley, with local stops. The Alto Adige Bus runs five times a day from Verona, and is the only option if you want to stop at smaller towns and villages. Many hotels in the South Tyrol offer their own transfer service, so ask when booking.

Booking Törggelen

The South Tyrol tourist board has a list of farms offering Törggelen feasts. You can book with each farm directly, or through the tourist board or the place you’re staying. The feasts include several courses and there’s often after-dinner entertainment.

Hiking & equipment

Though the hiking is not hard and the Keschtnwegtrail is well maintained, there are some steep and uneven sections, so hiking boots are essential. Most hotels have contacts with local guides, but you really don’t need one; the route is well signposted. If you don’t want to carry your gear, luggage transfers can be arranged with a local taxi company through your hotel (cost depends on distance).

  1. Most people hike the Keschtnweg in a north-south direction, starting from Bressanone (Brixen). Fortify yourself for the journey at Novacella Abbey, the region’s most renowned vineyard, which has been making wines since the Middle Ages. Here you can take a guided tour before tasting local vintages such as kerner and lagrein.
  2. Hotel Unterwirt in the village of Velturno (Feldthurns) makes a good base from which to set out. Its rooms are modern with valley views, but the rest of the hotel is decorated in traditional Alpine style, and there’s a restaurant serving hearty local dishes like knodel (dumplings), and spinach and ricotta ravioli.
  3. The Keschtnweg runs through Velturno on its way to Chiusa (Klausen), about 8 miles away on foot. Along the way, stop for apple juice, schnapps and meat-and-cheese platters at Radoar-Hof, and visit the hilltop monastery of Sabiona.
  4. The Winklers’ family farm, Larmhof, is in the hills near Villandro (Villanders), five miles or so southwest of Chiusa. They serve classic Törggelen feasts throughout the autumn inside the farmhouse, with its wood-panelled dining room and traditional clay stove. Afterwards you can peek inside the historic haybarn, watch the cows being milked and help Stefan roast chestnuts.
  5. High above Barbiano (Barbian), the Hotel Briol is designed in the Bauhaus style, with an emphasis on clear lines and austere simplicity. The views over the Isarco Valley and Dolomites are sensational. It’s not possible to arrive by car due to the steep track; arrive on foot, or arrange a transfer by 4×4 from Barbiano.
  6. It’s worth detouring from the Keschtnweg for a day to explore the Alpi di Siusi (Seiser Aim), Europe’s largest mountain plateau, famous for summer hiking and winter skiing. Marked trails cross the slopes to local landmarks such as the rock formations known as the Witches’ Benches and the mountain lake of Laghettodi Fi.
  7. Back on the trail, the next stop is the Renon (Ritten) plateau, a 12-mile hike from Barbiano. Hotel Bemelmans-Post in Collalbo (Klobenstein) makes a good stopover. Its rooms are named after composers, and many have fantastic views of the Dolomites.
  8. The trail comes to its official end 10 miles further on in Bolzano, next to Runkelstein Castle, a 14th-century palace decorated with spectacular medieval frescoes depicting jousting, dancing and courtship.
  9. In Bolzano, Hotel Laurin makes a luxurious end to the Keschtnweg trail. This grand city-centre hotel was built in 1910, and has rooms that look out over a park. There’s also a wood-panelled Art Deco bar and restaurant. Chef Manuel Astuto is known for exciting dishes, such as homemade tortellini with octopus and sweet potato, and marinated squid with beans.
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