Cycling in Bolzano, bike friendly city
Bolzano is one of the top 10 cities where to live in Italy, according to the annual report of Italia Oggi.
Bozen (the German name of Bolzano) is the capital city of the province of South Tyrol and is even known for its “bike friendliness”, due to 75 kilometers of cycle paths in the urban circuit, with new bike paths under construction, connections with the provincial cycle network, 29% annual average of urban journeys made by bike, many events dedicated to cycling (BimbinBici, Bolzano in Bici, Bicicaffé, only to mention a few). This city in Trentino Alto Adige (South Tyrol), in fact, shows a sign at the entrance of the town that announces: “Welcome to Bolzano, city of cycling”.
There are many services for bikers in town, for example the bike sharing and the free workshop for bike repairing.
In fact, every year the municipal administration offers a mobile workshop for small repairs and revisions of bicycles in the main Bolzano squares. Citizens can request the overhaul of the bike, the replacement of the light wire, the brake wire, the bulbs, etc. Those who wish can also have their security code engraved on the bike (Bike Security Code). Then there is the “Bici barometro”, an integrated system that measures the passage of bikes and displays some information in real time: it counts the cyclists crossing the detection station and provides the number of passes made in both directions. Two counters display both daily and annual passages.
To discover Bolzano on the saddle you can start from piazza Walther in the historic center. You can arrive in piazza Duomo, then along via Posta and piazza Domenicani. The route continues along via Ospedale, climbs onto the new bridge of the Museion and continues on the cycle path along the Talvera river.
The route passes through the Druso underpass and the yellow bridge of the Eurac. Along the cycle path, you can admire the Druso stadium and continue to Ponte Roma. Then you cross via Dalmazia, via Palermo, viale Europa, viale Druso, via Mendola, via Penegal and crossing the vineyards you arrive in the Gries district.
The route continues towards via Michael Pacher, via Defregger, via Fago, via della Torre, via San Genesio, via Rafensteiner and stop under the cable car of San Genesio. Crossing the road to the Val Sarentino you will find another cycle path. Proceed to Sant’Antonio towards Bolzano, via Sant’Arrigo and then towards the center. Turning onto Andreas-Hofer street you can reach the Dodiciville district.
First of all, don’t miss the cathedral that stands on three superimposed churches: an early Christian from the IV century, a high-medieval one from the VIII century and a Romanesque one from the XI century AD. Then stop at the Fontana del Nettuno in piazza delle Erbe, dating back to 1725, built in marble and bronze, a fountain that depicts the god of the sea with three dolphins.
It is worth visiting Castel Firmiano, which stands on a large rock and dominates the valley and Bolzano. The Archaeological Museum of South Tyrol is famous for Ötzi, the iceman, the mummy of a man who lived in these areas more than 5300 years ago. Climb on the Colle cable car is a must, because it ‘s the oldest in the world, it was inaugurated in 1908.
Discovering the Isarco Valley
The territory of the Südtirol is crossed by cycle paths that exploit disused railway sections, forestry and secondary roads and allow cyclists to travel in absolute safety.
One of the main routes is the one that starts from the Brenner Pass, on the border with Austria, and arrive in Bolzano through the Isarco Valley. The Valle Isarco cycle path (for further info about this itinerary, click here), almost 100 kilometers long, connects the pass to the city.
You can also lengthen the journey to the north by entering Austria, to the south by crossing the border with Trentino, to the east by entering Val Pusteria and to the west by pedaling towards Val Venosta.
On the Isarco cycle path, a passage in the Val di Fleres is a must. The valley is 16 kilometers long, in the past it was known as the Silver Valley, thanks to the presence of silver mines used until 1818.
To visit even Colle Isarco and Vipiteno (the Torre delle Dodici tower, the church Madonna della Palude, its castles), Fortezza (gateway to the Val Pusteria) and San Candido, finally Bressanone (to see the abbey of Novacella, known for its production and sale of herbs, fruit and prestigious wines, then a fairytale castle such as the Ratzötz).
The next steps are Chiusa, Ponte Gardena and Colma, to continue the journey along the old Brenner-Bolzano railway line, a route that guarantees maximum safety as you often ride along old abandoned tracks, so without the cars, it is also suitable even to less experienced cyclists due to its low gradients.
Credits preview photo: www.greenmobility.bz.it/it/projekte/bolzano-citta-della-bicicletta/bolzano-citta-della-bicicletta/.