South Tyrolean traditions, Christmas carols, Ladin gastronomic specialties: you can enjoy all this and much more from late November to 6 January 2020
Missing just over a month but already in the air there's that I don't know that announces the arrival of Christmas. And there is a place in Italy where the Christmas atmosphere comes first: it is South Tyrol where in the Advent season the Christmas markets wind their way through the streets of the main urban centers, giving them a magical and almost unreal atmosphere, with their warm lights, the aromas of freshly baked cookies, children's smiles and Christmas melodies. Everything here has a particular flavor, the rhythms are more relaxed, the speeches are dilated, the small daily tasks give way to the pleasure of finding oneself, sipping a hot cinnamon-scented drink while the Dolomites on the horizon light up with a fiery red . Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Brunico and Vipiteno are preparing to welcome thousands of tourists who every year at this time want to enjoy the fairytale atmosphere of Alto Adige Südtirol Original Markets.
Christmas markets from city to city
TO Bolzano the stage of the Christmas markets will be Piazza Walther and the streets around. Strolling you can find handicrafts but also typical local products or stop to taste traditional South Tyrolean dishes, such as Spattle or Canederli. Among the unmissable events, "The long night of the Museums", on November 29th, in which it will be possible to visit all the museums of the city until late and, a show in the show, "A Christmas of books", with famous writers, Italian and not, who will present their best sellers. And then inside the park, from December 1st, the Advent calendar, with the opening of one box a day, until Christmas.
TO Merano many initiatives for adults and children: you can skate, walk by lantern light or attend classical music concerts. Don't miss the Merano Pop Symphony Orchestra & Marcella Bella on December 8th. For the children the appointment is at the Historic Christmas Village where the mascot Goldy will welcome all the little guests in his little house. There will be gastronomic specialties and handicrafts.
Pagan and Christian traditions mix with Bressanone, one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in all of South Tyrol. Don't miss the cribs, next to which you can see the Krampus, masked devils that parade next to him along the streets of the city during the San Nicolò parade. And still so many shows with "Best of Soliman’s Dream" in the courtyard of the Hofburg, the episcopal palace of Bressanone. Every day from November 22nd until January 6th visitors will be able to learn more about the history and adventures of the Brixen elephant. And that's not all: there are lots of artisanal products and local gastronomic specialties among the stalls of the Bressanone Christmas Market.
TO Brunico Christmas will be breathed around all the alleys of the historic center. On 7th, 8th and 15th December in Brunico Castle you can sip a glass of mulled wine, a spice tea or taste a traditional Goulash, listening to the stories of the artisans. For lovers of essences, don't miss the Fragrance barn, the sensory journey set up in the extended Bastions where essential herbs and oils will inebriate the senses of all. If you are looking for silence and reflection, at Palazzo Strauben you can leave your Christmas wish written on a long ribbon that intertwined with others will create a single long thread, a collective symbol of the spirit of Christmas.
Unique atmosphere a Sterzing, small realm of handmade nativity scenes. There are as many as six that can be admired in the Tower of the Twelve, which with its 46 meters high is the symbol of the city. In the historic center of the town you will find Christmas markets with handicraft banquets and culinary delights of the place. For the most romantic city tour by carriage, while the music lovers will meet in the Church of Santo Spirito in Piazza Città for Christmas carols and alpine music.
In South Tyrol the Christmas markets are also found in the characteristic mountain villages. Every valley from December 1st to January 6th 2020 turns into a magical place, made of scents, lights, colors and music that envelop all tourists in timeless atmospheres. Val Gardena turns into "Christmas Valley of the Dolomites" with its centers, Ortisei, Selva and Santa Cristina. In Alta Badia, San Cassiano and Corvara become the places where to make a real immersion in the Ladin world and in the Alto Adige tradition. In Val Sarentino, time stops to give its guests the rhythms of the past, including local specialties and Christmas songs. In Val Martello you will find the Highest Christmas market in the Alps, set up in a stable. In the total union between man and nature it will be possible to attend the concert of the orphans Martell, the horn players of the Alpi Proveis and the Schianbliamltol Choir of the Val Martello, for an experience that will leave you speechless.
And if you want to try your hand at preparing two local specialties, here are the recipes for the Vin Brûlé and the Zelten. Get down to work!
Vin Brûlé: the recipe
Ingredients for 4 people: 50 ml Schiava from Alto Adige, 2 table spoons of sugar, ½ sprig of cinnamon, 5 cloves, ¼ orange peel from organic cultivation.
Method: put the wine in a pan and cook it with sugar, zest and spices until just before boiling. Before serving, remove the cinnamon and cloves. It should be drunk very hot.
Zelten: the recipe
Ingredients for 4 people: water, 20 g of yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 150 g of flour, 100 g of rye flour, 15 g of salt, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of anise, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 500 g of dried figs, cut into cubes or strips, 250 g of raisins, 120 g of raisins, 120 g of mixed walnuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts) chopped, 120 g of pine nuts, 50 g of lemon peel candied fruit, 50 g of candied orange peel, 50 ml of white wine, 3 tablespoons of rum, 70 g of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind, 1/2 teaspoon of grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 pinch of powdered cloves, 1 pinch of pimento, 1 pinch of nutmeg, walnuts, hazelnuts or peeled almonds and candied cherries to decorate, honey or sugar syrup to brush
Preparation: mix the yeast and sugar with hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the flour, rye flour, salt, oil, anise and cumin and start working the mass with a kneader. Put the dough covered with a cloth in the oven off but with the bulb on, and let it rise for 30 minutes. Marinate figs, raisins, sultanas, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, cedar, candied orange peel in white wine for at least 1 hour in the rum, so that the zelten acquires a good aroma. Add the lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Put the bread dough back in the kneader and add the marinated fruits and nuts. Form round or elongated zelten and decorate with walnuts and almonds. Arrange them on a baking sheet and let them rest for another 20 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and cook at 170 degrees for about 40 minutes, brushing often with honey or syruped sugar until they take on an intense brown color. Let them cool, decorate with candied cherries, then wrap them in plastic wrap to keep them soft.
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