Located in the Alto Adige region, near the Austrian border, the town of Merano is perhaps best known for its spas and resorts. Situated in a lush valley, Merano is surrounded on all sides by snow-capped Dolomites.
The Alto Adige is closely linked, both physically and culturally, to neighboring Austria. Locals refer to the region as “Sudtirol,” literally, the south of Austria. German, rather than Italian, is most locals’ first language and is spoken in the markets and piazze. Because of this close cultural association, the food of the region also resembles that of its neighbor to the north. The region is known for its use of rich ingredients like sauerkraut, horseradish and liverwurst, food more in the model of the Austro-Hungarian Empire than the Roman.
Located just minutes outside of the city center is Trauttmansdorff Castle. Built in the fourteenth century, the castle was revived in the mid-nineteenth century with neo-Gothic elements. The castle and its surrounding gardens are some of the most beautiful in Italy.
It’s said that Sigmund Freud participated in an annual Grape Cure in in the city of Merano. For about a week, participants would drink five to six glasses of freshly pressed unfermented wine grape juice a day. Today, one of Merano’s best attractions is an enoteca called Il Curato. The restaurant’s beautiful selection of wines from all over Italy has led me to devise my own (fermented) version of the Grape Cure!