04 July 2018   •   Carolina Attanasio

Instaborghi: Vipiteno, Italy, the King of winter

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“Vipiteno, Italy, is one of the villages that best embodies the atmosphere of the Christmas holidays, but it is a place full of life 365 days a year, you go with Instaborghi»

How can you not look to the north during holiday time? It’s impossible, the imagination immediately runs to snow, sledges, hot chocolate, falls from the skis, badly constructed snowmen and so on. Vipiteno (official site) is the place where not only you can, you must do all these things: among the most beautiful villages in Italy, in Trentino Alto Adige, Vipiteno welcomes you with its colorful houses, which surround the shopping streets, and then come out unexpectedly in some medieval square, all surrounded by snowy mountains and landscapes that not even in an episode of Heidi you will find.

What to see in Vipiteno, Italy

Vipiteno owes its name to the ancient Roman station of Vipitenum, a Roman transit point through the Brenner Pass. We must arrive at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, when the village underwent its most prolific development phase, given by the exploitation of silver and lead mines and the arrival of miners, financiers and various entrepreneurs, who contributed significantly to the economic and artistic flourishing of the place. The urban layout has remained unchanged over the centuries, the Civic Tower – also called “tower of the twelve” – ​​divides the city into two parts, the Old and the New, between the two flows the Reichstrasse, the street with shops and hotels. The Palazzo Comunale (1524) is from the same period and has a polygonal erker adorned with blackbirds. The Gothic church of Santo Spirito preserves inside the splendid frescoes of the 15th century by Giovanni da Brunico. In Vipiteno, Italy, there is also the largest church in the Tyrol, Santa Maria della Palude, which houses the 5 statues of the altar by Hans Multscher, the most famous wooden sculptor of the 16th century, masterpieces of German Gothic realism. The historic center, with its medieval vibe, is a real pleasure to walk around, and in the Christmas period it really seems to have been catapulted into a fairytale. Just outside the village, in the woods, Castel Sasso dominates on its spike of rock, and it is one of the oldest in South Tyrol, famous for its “green room”, the 13th century kitchen and the old residential tower.

What to do in Vipiteno, Italy

Number one is skiing, folks. Not far from the center, there is the ski resort of Monte Cavallo, where in summer it is also possible to hike: the plateau, up to 2000 meters, is a boon for skiers, snowboarders and trekking lovers, with an exaggerated view on the Isarco Valley. Here you can also find the longest toboggan run in Italy. At Christmas time, the market is a must, on the other hand we are in South Tyrol and where – if not here – you can give vent to all Christmas spirit that is in you. In the old city you can enjoy the whole party atmosphere, sipping mulled wine and buying local products in one of the 39 stands, such as the local speck.

 What to eat in Vipiteno, Italy

Canederli all day long: a mix between meatballs and gnocchi, they are balls of bread, speck or cheese, cooked in the meat broth, whose origins date back to the local peasant tradition. They are a typical dish of Trentino cuisine, but also of southeastern Germany, Austria, al the way to Poland. The speck is the king of the kitchen here, hailed as a deity: balanced by spices, smoked in local wood, put to rest for about six months, after which it is ready to delight you in all its local flavor. And then mushrooms, mushrooms in all sauces: you’re in the mountains, what did you expect? For dessert, in Sterzing you won’t think of anything else but krapfen, the typical zeppola stuffed with cream: to tell the truth, the dessert has Austrian origins (from Graz, to be exact), the original recipe provides that it is full of apricot jam, but it didn’t take long for it be stuffed with any sort of creamy delicacy. Of course, let’s not forget the yogurt from Latteria Vipiteno, a real local treat.

A little curiosity about

Famous in Vipiteno is the procession of the day of the Palms, it has been known for as early as the 15th century: during the ritual, the boys compete to bring the most richly decorated palm tree, for the longest time. In summer there are the Yogurt Days, during which you can visit the Latteria Vipiteno and taste traditional dishes and new proposals, made just based on yogurt. Take a trip to Vipiteno, Italy, and you will not regret it!

Carolina Attanasio

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