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Val Venosta / Vinschgau: the region and the localities
The Val Venosta (Vinschgau in German) is a panoramic and sunny alpine valley on the western side of South Tyrol (Alto Adige), in the province of Bolzano, bordered to the west by the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland and to the north with Austria.
It is the most extensive and wide valley in South Tyrol, between Merano and Reschenpass and between the high snow-capped peaks of the Ortler Alps in the south and the Ötztal Alps to the north, in the heart of Stelvio National Park. It spreads over a length of about 80 km, initially in the east-west direction from Naturno, west of Merano, until Prato allo Stelvio, hence folding in the south-north direction up to the Reschenpass.
In the central valley some beautiful alpine valleys, like Martell and Val di Solda from the south, Val Senales and Val di Mazia from the north merge.
The Val Venosta Valley is surrounded by snow-capped peaks over 3,000 meters in height and are covered by glaciers, among which in the south is the
"Re" (King) Ortles / Ortler (3,905 m, the highest mountain of South Tyrol), the Great Zebrù / Königspitze (3,851 m), the Cima Vertana / Vertainspitze
(3,545 m) and the Peak Sternai / Hitere Eggenspitze (3,443 m), while to the north the peaks of Punta Lago Bianco / Weißseespitze (3,526 m), Palla
Bianca / Weißkugel (3,738 m), the Similaun (3,597 m) and of the Altissima / Hohe Wilde (3,480 m) mark its border with Austria. The high barrier of
mountain peaks north and along the south retain the moisture-laden clouds, resulting in a rather mild and sunny climate that is worthy of the
reputation of the Val Venosta valley with 300 days of sunshine a year.
The Val Venosta (valley) is without doubt the most beautiful valley in South Tyrol, characterized by the pleasant contrast between the mild climate of the valley, with apple and apricot cultivations, and the eternal snows of the glaciers on the peaks of the Ortler, separated by green forests, meadows, pastures, orchards and vineyards. Wonderful orchards alternate with steep cliffs, shady forests and alpine meadows in bloom, against the backdrop of the peaks of the snow-capped mountains. The variety of its natural environment makes the Val Venosta (valley) an ideal destination for hikers along easy trails and mountain climbers who venture out to the highest peaks, and for families who like to walk in the woods or bicycle or mountain bike riding. The valley is easily accessible from the Adige valley and Merano and can be crossed with the modern means of efficient public transport, such as the train of Val Venosta or "Vinschgerbahn", which opened in 2005, that travels through the slow and silent valley offering ample views of the mountains and surrounding towns.
Val Venosta is composed of districts of Passo Resia / Reschenpass in the northern part of Val Venosta and Tubre / Taufers, from the Ortler region and the towns that alternate along the valley forming popular holiday resorts such as Silandro-Lasa, Castelbello-Ciardes and Laces- Val Martello. Many are historic towns and villages worth visiting along the valley, such as Glorenza, Curon Venosta, Lasa, Laces, Malles, Martello, Prato allo Stelvio, Silandro, Sluderno, Stelvio and Castelbello-Ciardes. Among the most important tourist attractions are the Stelvio National Park, the castles and forts, ancient trails along the irrigation canals, as well as the ski areas always covered with snow in the winter months. Val Venosta is now one of the most peaceful and best preserved valleys in the province of Bolzano, having been discovered by tourism only recently, and offers numerous masi (typical mountain farms), cottages and huts to stay over, assist in the production of local foods and taste the typical local products. The accommodation on offer makes it an ideal destination for family holidays, due to the presence of numerous hotels for children who organize trips in the mountains suitable for children and visits to museums and castles of Val Venosta. There are numerous excursions suitable for families with children from walking along the old irrigation canals to the trails with a pram or bicycle. The beautiful landscape, the fantastic climate and the hospitality of hotels, agriturismi (farm cottages) and holiday homes guarantee tourists wonderful summer and winter holidays.
In the summer
The Val Venosta is characterized by an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year and low rainfall due to the presence of the two great mountain
ranges of the Ortler-Cevedale range, the Ötztal Alps that prevent the clouds providing guaranteed sun in the valley. In the summer there are numerous
possibilities for outdoor activities, including hiking along the trails of the Stelvio National Park a stroll of up to 3,000 meters on the "Waalweg,"
paths along the old irrigation canals that brought water for the crops in the valley, ideal also for children, cycling and mountain biking around
Lake Resia or along the ancient Via Claudia Augusta, which runs parallel to the river Adige or along the flat paths that run through the natural
landscape of the river, but also adventure sports, such as excursions to the high mountains and mountain huts, climbing, “via ferrata” (iron roads),
mountaineering, alpine skiing, horse riding, Nordic walking and kite surfing in Lake Resia.
The Stelvio National Park, among the largest protected areas and the most beautiful in Europe, is the ideal place for summer excursions to discover the alpine flora and fauna. The park's visitor centers provide information on the history, geology, alpine fauna and the culture of the mountain areas and suggestions for excursions and sports activities for every season of the year. The Consortium of the Stelvio National Park, in collaboration with the Alpine Guides affiliated, organizes both summer and winter excursions to discover nature and the characteristic environment of the Val Venosta.
In the winter
Winter holidays in Val Venosta are naturally dedicated to winter sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and even snow
kiting feasible on Lake Resia. The Val Venosta has six beautiful ski resorts, such as Belpiano, Watles, Maseben, Trafoi, Malga Tarres, San Valentino
alla Muta, all in the ski resort "Ortler Skiarena" that extends to the Swiss resort of Mischuns which allows you to ski from one area to the other
using a single electronic ski pass.
Cross-country skiing enthusiasts will find their ideal place in the beautiful Vallelunga, at the foot of the glacier of Palla Bianca, while lovers of adventure sports during windy days can try snowkiting on Lake Resia, famous among fans of the sport that here can find both snow and wind. Mountain climbers will find quiet ski mountaineering itineraries among the snow-capped peaks and frozen waterfalls to climb upon.
For the little ones adventure and fun in the snow are held in numerous "kindergarten on the snow" and for children over 6 years of age there are many ski instructors ready to teach them how to ski and have fun. There are opportunities for hiking or ski tour with snowshoes, for sledding and sleigh rides in the snow or carriages for the whole family. During the pre-Christmas Advent markets Val Venosta awaits you for pleasant shopping in the stalls which are lit and immersed in the magic of Christmas.