The entire territory is protected by the imposing mountain massifs of the Ortles-Cevedale group (to the south) and the Ötztaler Alpen (to the north). The two chains form a barrier capable of retaining the perturbations coming from the two sides, keeping the water-laden clouds on the peaks of the two areas. If in the past drought has often been a difficult problem to solve, it is equally true that the benevolent and sunny climate of the valley attracts many tourists every year in love with nature and the unique characteristics of this wonderful land. Of the 300 waalwege built in the past, which were used to convey the water that came down from the mountains and irrigate the fields, today only a dozen remain, along which it is possible to take pleasant walks on foot or by bicycle. The function of these ancient irrigation canals today has taken on a purely tourist purpose, as they have been replaced by more modern irrigation systems.
The Val Venosta is a land that over the course of history has witnessed an unparalleled living continuity: the presence of man in a stable form has been attested since the most remote times, as evidenced also by the discovery in the Ötztal Alps of the Similaun Ötzi Mummy. Discovered by a couple of German hikers in September 1991, the mummy seems to date back to over 5200 years ago, while some artifacts unearthed in the surroundings even belong to the Mesolithic period (9000 – 8000 BC). The conservation status of the Ötzi mummy is unique, having come down to our times completely intact, through the conservative action of ice. The mummy of the Similaun was covered by the advance of the homonymous glacier, which returned it after millennia, exactly as happened for the mammoths found in Siberia. After being disputed for years between Italy and Austria, it was exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Bolzano, located at number 43 in Via Museo. The Otzi mummy is not the only archaeological attraction in the area –
Val Venosta reaches its maximum splendor in many places that require a stop: Glorenza, Castelbello, Lasa, Laces, Martello, Malles, Resia, Ortles, Silandro, Sluderno , Prato allo Stelvio, Solda, Tubre and Trafoi are the major inhabited centers of the Val Venosta, each one with its own characteristics and a special charm, coming from a mix of elegance, hospitality and architectural beauties. Here are some of the stops not to be missed during a stay on site: the Castel Coira di Sluderno, perfectly preserved and dating back to 1260; the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria in Malles, built during the twelfth century; the Church of San Benedetto di Malles, built in 800 AD; the stately home of Castel Coldrano in Laces. Without forgetting what many call the “white gold of Val Venosta”, or the marble of Lasa, known throughout the world and used for the construction of museums, churches and buildings of all kinds. And what about the famous apples from Val Venosta? Available in six different variations, they are protected by a brand that has been a guarantee of taste and quality for decades. In short, this land is ready to welcome any visitor with a truly endless list of proposals, proud of its unmissable treasures and enchanted nature, capable of captivating any mountain lover in any season of the year. Easy to reach and able to offer a great variety of different activities and attractions, Val Venosta is one of the most suitable places in the Alps for those who love skiing, trekking, mountain biking and outdoor walks. And those who want to observe the valley in its entirety can opt for a short trip aboard the now famous Val Venosta train, the so-called “Vinschgerbahn”, which travels on a modern railway system inaugurated in 2005 and offers its guests views and exceptional panoramas. The historic train crosses the entire Venosta region slowly and silently, in total harmony with natural rhythms. And now let’s take a look at some of the most enchanting places in this historic region.