Merano, the cradle of the Tyrol household
Malè – Passo Palade – Merano: km 74
Across Passo Palade (via Mostizzòlo, Revò and Fondo; or also via Clés, Dermulo, Fondo), go down into Upper Val d’Adige against a typical Alpine setting, continue past Tesimo and leave Castel Leone on the right-hand side. Past Lana (the church of Lana di Sotto by the graveyard boasts an imposing 16th Centuury gothic altar), continue on the road that leaves Val d’Ultimo (to the left) and winds amongst orchards, vineyards and castles (13th Century Castel Lebensberg at Marlengo), until you get to the bridge that crosses the river Adige and enters Meran, going by a famous hippodrome at Maia Bassa.
The South Tyrol little town is an important tourist attraction boasting a lively, ancient centre with arcades flanked by shops, bars and restaurants. The Arcades lead to the Cathedral, built between 1367 and 1495, that features a big St. Cristoforo painting above the gothic portal. At the exterior, notice the imposing bell tower (83 m high) and the chapel dedicated to St. Barbara behind the apse (housing a gold alter painted alter from 1450). The interior, with one nave and two aisles, features several 15th Century altars, painted and gold plated. The statues of the Apostles on the presbytery date from the 19th Century.
From the arcades you can reach the Prince Castle (home to the Archduke Sigismondo between 1449 and 1480). The interior, with narrow but fine rooms, gives a good idea of a Tyrolean noble mansion (guardroom, chapel, bedroom, dining room, playroom); each room is enriched with antique pieces of furniture. Not far from the Castle, you can visit an interesting City museum.
Merano was the birthplace of the Tyrol Counts (from the 12th Century to1363 this used to be the ruling household, that was subsequently replaced by the Habsburg family). The Tyrol Count castle, that can be attained with a 30 minute walk from the little village named Tyrol (at 3.7 km from Meran), is one of the most representative monuments in the whole region. The collections of the archaeological Museum are worth visiting, as are the large Sala dei Cavalieri (the Knights’ Hall) and the two-storey chapel (with a huge crucifixion painting from a German school dating from the 14th Century). The chapel features precious Romanesque portals, enriched with symbolic images; a wonderful view can be enjoyed from the Sala del Trono. Walking down back from Castel Tirolo you can take an alternative way (little pre-Romanesque church dedicated to St. Pietro, Castel Thurnstein) that leads to the Meran railway station.

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