Men in Shorts: Alto Adige

When does Italy not seem like Italy?
When you are Alto Adige, the northern most part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region.

Just before snow began falling in this high alpine area, home of the Dolomite Mountains, I attended the fall harvest festival in Merano.

From somewhere around the year 1000 until the end of World War I in 1919, Alto Adige was part of the German speaking area that eventually became known as Tyrol under the Austrian Empire. According to the treaty that ended the war, the Italians got South Tyrol (Sud Tïrol) and re-named it Alto Adige (which translates to High Adige—the area is in the northern most part of the Adige River Valley).

Years of intense struggle between the German speaking population and the Italian government followed. Finally, a treaty in 1971 that included United Nations oversight allowed the region a fair amount of autonomy. As a result, the residents of this area predominantly speak German and a majority send their children to public schools where a German curriculum is taught in German.
IMG_6993
All the signs at the food stands at the festival were written in German.
The local cheeses and smoked meats were decidedly alpine.
IMG_6997
IMG_6998
There was a beer garden atmosphere…note the palm trees because of Merano’s sunny microclimate.
IMG_6994
And most people were in traditional costumes.
IMG_6987
My lunch, a variation on Italian bruschetta that had bacon on it, of course accompanied by a glass of beer.
IMG_7003
After lunch, everyone began lining up for the parade…

IMG_7018
…which began under this stone archway that was once a gateway into the town.
IMG_7022
And wound its way through the streets.
IMG_7020
With bands and costumed people marching along interspersed with elegant floats.
IMG_7035IMG_7036IMG_7045

For more information on this festival (called Festival of the Grape) and others that occur annually, check out this link.

Print Friendly
Previous Post Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 shares