Bolzano is an arresting town in North Italy, famed for its high standard of living and picturesque beauty. It’s not hard to see why- surrounded by rolling hills and numerous vineyards, the capital of South Tyrol exudes an old-world charm that other European cities will find hard-pressed to match. That’s not to say it’s provincial, though. Bolzano has an extremely efficient public transportation system in addition to 8 major bicycle routes throughout the city, which makes exploring a breeze (literally). Despite these, the overall atmosphere of the town is quiet and unhurried, which makes it an ideal choice for a well-deserved break.
Bolzano (or Bozen) is officially a bilingual city- you’ll hear snatches of both German and Italian on the streets, and road signs are often bilingual as well. As such, it offers a unique glimpse into two different cultures which have learnt to coexist in harmony. There are festivals and fun activities for every season of the year, but this article will focus on happenings exclusively after sundown. Read on for a list of things to do at night during your trip!
1. Visit the famous Bolzano Christmas Market
This is on the to-do list of every visitor to Bolzano come winter. Open from the end of November to early January, the Christmas Market brings an air of festivity unlike any other to Walther Square, and promises joy for adults and children alike.
Fairy lights, beautiful Yuletide decoration, and Christmas carols combine to create the perfect setting for a magical night. As this is an event where the whole local community gathers to share their handiwork, the atmosphere is always warm and merry. The irresistible aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts only enhance the quaint experience. With 80 stalls and food stands, you’ll have no trouble picking out Christmas presents for your loved ones while enjoying hot, comforting local fare the likes of pies and strudels. There’s a wide range of original craft featured- from stationery to household objects to gloves- all handmade with a homely feel and charm. It’s a lively occasion not to be missed. The Bolzano Christmas Market opens from 5 p.m. onwards in the aforementioned period.
Bolzano Christmas Market
Address: Walther Square, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Website: Bolzano Christmas Market
2. Join the Bike Night Bolzano-Resia
14 luglio 2017 al Ca' de Bezzi: FESTA DELLA BIKE NIGHT in vista della Bike Night #Bolzano-Resia con partenza a...Posted by Bolzano Bozen on Wednesday, 12 July 2017
A very special biking event, the Bike Night invites cyclists with a taste for adventure to go on a cycling trip throughout the night, for an experience that can’t be gotten elsewhere in South Tyrol! You’ll take the historic Claudia Augusta route, covering 110km (68mi) with climbs ranging in height for a final altitude difference of 1500m (4900ft). Kicking off at Walther Square, the final destination will be the scenic Curon Lake at Resia.
If such a long ride seems daunting, fear not. There are three refreshment stops on the way for you to take a short break before continuing, and free breakfast upon arrival. You’ll feel a keen sense of kinship with your fellow cyclists as you embark in the dead of the night. It’s not a competition, so there’s no need to be afraid of falling behind. After a celebratory meal, you’ll return to Bolzano by coach- a fitting end to an event which gets bigger every year.
Bike Night Bolzano-Resia
Address: Walther Square, 39100 Bolzano, Italy (Departure)
Website: Bike Night Bolzano-Resia
3. See the exhibits in a different light in the Long Night of Museums
Bolzano is a place rich in history and two cultures. The Long Night of Museums is a day where all seven museums in Bolzano open their doors past normal hours, from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.. Patrons will get the chance to explore these venues made all the more exciting by night. Additional interactive exhibits and small shows are part a special initiative to encourage more people, especially the young to visit Bolzano’s numerous museums which range from historical to natural history to art from various eras.
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4. Try some new vintages during the Calici di Stelle
Held on St. Lawrence’s feast day, where shooting stars have been known to streak across the night sky in large numbers, is the Calici di Stelle. Literally “chalice of stars”, this festival offers you the unique opportunity to taste wines in a vibrant atmosphere under the waning summer sky. Along Portici Street and Municipio Square, more than 20 wineries in South Tyrol will exhibit their best new wines, including Bolzano’s very own Lagrein and Santa Maddalena varieties, and they’ll be more than happy to talk about their passion and profession should you be interested. It’s an eye-opening experience for the uninitiated, and a lovely testament to Bolzano’s reputation as a wine town.
Calici di Stelle
Address: Portici Street, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Website: Calici di Stelle
5. Dine in elegance at the Restaurant Zur Kaiserkron
This exquisite restaurant is a local gem. Serving inventive Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, Zur Kaiserkron fearlessly experiments with its dishes, surprising and delighting diners, of whom many have become regulars. Try their truffle risotto and pork knuckle; those who want a greater variety can opt to sample their tasting menu, which changes from time to time. Regardless of your choice of main, you’ll be able to find the perfect wine to accompany your meal from the extensive list. Expect excellent service and ambiance, as befitting a restaurant of its standard. Restaurant Zur Kaiserkron’s dinner service is from 7 to 9.30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
Restaurant Zur Kaiserkron
Address: Piazza della Mostra 2, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
6. Savor the cocktails at Grifoncino
If you can only make time for one bar, make this the one. Located on the first floor of the Greif Design Hotel, Grifoncino is a classy rooftop bar in a secluded area. Some of the best cocktails in Bolzano are to be found here, with speedy and attentive service to boot. Ask your bartender for recommendations if you don’t have a preferred gin in mind. You’ll find it’s easy to lose track of time seated in the many comfortable lounge chairs; the intimate atmosphere is further enhanced by selective lighting and great music. All in all, a choice you can’t go wrong with.
Address: Via della Rena 28, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
7. Attend an orchestral performance during the Bolzano Festival Bozen
The Bolzano Festival Bozen is a month-long celebration of orchestral music. Various free and ticketed concerts are held in select locations in Bolzano, with the participation of distinguished conductors and musicians, including Bolzano’s very own Haydn Orchestra. The festival culminates in the much-awaited Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, where young aspiring pianists strive to give their best performances, both as soloists and with symphonic accompaniment, in front of a panel of juries.
This year, the Gustav Mahler Academy will be collaborating with the students of C. Monteverdi Conservatory to bring back the hugely popular Spazio Klassik, open-air street performances that connect the crowd directly to the music in an informal atmosphere. You definitely don’t have to be a fan of classical to enjoy this festival- just go to one of their night concerts and let the music speak for itself.
Bolzano Festival Bozen
Address: Various locations in Bolzano
Website: Bolzano Festival Bozen (in Italian)
Effortless charm even by night
There’s no end to Bolzano’s simple appeal. Now that you have our recommendations for things to do in Bolzano after dark, we hope you consider visiting on your next trip, and have a fantastic time!
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