The last couple weeks have been spent exploring the region of South Tyrol, which as it turns out, is one of the more historically interesting parts of the world in addition to being on one of the most beautiful. The beauty is apparent the moment you arrive. I had been through this area a few times, in car and on trains, going between Germany and Austria down to Venice and always had meant to stop and explore.
I’m certainly glad I did.
South Tyrol is a unique region whose current origins go back to World War I. In 1915, the forces allied against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire offered it to Italy, in exchange for them coming into the war on the eventually winning side. As a result of this deal, the almost completely German-speaking territory was occupied by Italy at the end of the war in November 1918 and was annexed in 1919.
After World War II, the Allies decided that the province would remain a part of Italy, under the condition that the German-speaking population be granted an important level of self-government. Italy and Austria negotiated an agreement in 1946, recognizing the rights of the German minority, but the whole political tension in the area wasn’t fully resolved until 1971, when a new Austro-Italian treaty was signed and ratified. It stipulated that disputes in South Tyrol would be submitted for settlement to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, that the province would receive greater autonomy within Italy, and that Austria would not interfere in South Tyrol’s internal affairs.
It is in Italy, but it certainly still feels like it is part of Austria (or southern Germany for that matter). The people here learn German first in school and Italian is the second language. The architecture also reminded me more of the Alpine styles of Austria and Germany than Italy, but on the other hand, you had the Italian bonus of great wines and food.
Pretty much a nice mix of cultures, in my eyes.
I was in South Tyrol to not only check out the region, but test out the new Galaxy SIII phone that Samsung gave me to evaluate. I wrote about some of the pros and cons of the phone last week, but for me, the biggest feature that quickly drew me in as a Galaxy fan was the camera. Here are a few of the photos I took and edited entirely on the phone while I was there (and posted on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me over there).
Thanks to Samsung for sponsoring a few of my activities recently in South Tyrol and gifting me a Samsung Galaxy SIII. All views expressed here are my own honest opinions, and do not reflect the views of Samsung or the South Tyrol Tourism Board, which also assisted me on this trip.
One of my favorite locations for that exact mix! Love the crisp air, clean, pretty Austro-German look and feel, mixed in with a little Italian warmth and tasty chow. Perfect!
The panorama shot is amazing!
Thanks, Lorenzo. Still experimenting with the camera. Lots of things I still need to learn.
I do feel guilty about going through south Tyrol several times a year without ever stopping to explore. Thanks for the reminder. Time for a New Year resolution.
I’d known for a while that I really should have stopped. So glad I finally did (though I think I am going to go back in mid-summer in 2013 now and try better weather).
South Tirol has been on my bucket list for years and now after your post I know I have to get myself together and go there as soon as possible! It looks and sounds like an amazing place!
And if you are into “wellness,” it really is an interesting spot. Had never seen so many wellness treatments in any other spot I’ve been to.
well, not really. I’m more into hiking and I guess it’d be a perfect spot for that too!
I’ve only passed through as well, seeing it through car and train windows. Sounds a perfect combination of Italian laissez-faire and German orderliness.
I think it tends a lot more to German orderliness… 😉
This area of Italy is so close to where I live yet I really haven’t explored it yet. Your photos make me want to pop over!
Michael, your composition skills in these photos cannot be faulted. But, in my opinion, they would look better in a blog post if they had been taken with your usual camera. To me, they don’t quite have the sharpness. They look great on Instagram and work fine on Twitter, but in a post you really see the limitations of the camera.
I had a look at the Samsung SIII after viewing your photos on Instagram, but after viewing some on here and knowing how much the SIII costs, I will not be upgrading any time soon.
I guess Samsung might not be happy to hear my views, but I’m sure that they will keep improving their cameras until I won’t be able to make this criticism. They are to be commended for sponsoring your trip and putting their product on display. I’m also sure that others might have been won over by the SIII as a result. Sadly, not me.
Damn, why can’t I just say “Nice pics / post. Thanks for sharing” or something equally meaningful?
Thanks. Still experimenting with the camera. Think I am going to upload ones at a bigger size next time, these were smaller sized ones previously uploaded to Instagram. I think at a larger upload size, I’m going to like them even more.
Couldn’t be happier with the phone and the camera. Really amazing what you can do with it these days.
Guess that explains it. Will check out future posts with the SIII to see what it can really do.
South Tirol isn’t exactly high upon my list. But I do like the pics! Looks like that Samsung SIII camera is indeed worth something!
Love the snowy tree shot!
Beautiful landscapes and that pizza are good enough reasons to visit for me 🙂
Damn, I miss the pizza already.
Wow I’ve never been to ether of this places but they look amazing.!!
How long is train ride? and how much?
From London? Its unfortunately expensive. Total was in the 250€ range or so. I wish that air travel properly got taxed for the amount of pollution that it contributes to society, but alas, it doesn’t, so its a lot better deal than longer train routes.
Love the first photo. it’s so wonderful.
Hi Michael, really like your blog. Did you get the chance to visit the Gardena Valley too?It s the jewel of South Tirol and were I am from 🙂
I need to actually look at my notes to see which valleys I went to. I kept hearing everyone there telling me to go to this one and that one, and I got confused with all the names!
That top photo is spectacular! What a beautiful place!
Great shots, especially the landscape ones. I can see why you like the phone!
Going to upload some bigger pictures for a post today. Am curious how those are going to work out. Thanks!
That is an incredibly beautiful region! I visited the area a year or so back, and its true that it has more of a german feel than Italian. This region is best explored on bike!
It would need to be warmer for me to do that, but I think I might just do that next summer.
I never knew that section of Italy had such an interesting history, or that they learn German first, Italian second. Always nice to learn something new!
Some great shots of the landscapes, definitely a part of the world I hope to see firsthand some day, and the cultural mix sounds perfect to me, especially the food!