Brixen is in many ways a traditional Italian town–it was conquered by the Romans way back in 15 BC, and has had ties with the papacy for nearly 1000 years (Pope Damasus II was formerly the Bishop of Brixen), and town’s many restaurants serve hearty Italian fare. However, due to its proximity to the Austrian border, the first language of the town is actually German–only 25% of the population claim to speak Italian as their first language. This mixed heritage is all part of the charm of Brixen. Set in a valley next to the Alpine peaks of the Italy/Austria border, it offers easy access to the popular ski slopes of the Plose. In the summer time, the verdant scenery attracts hikers and nature lovers.
Location: Brixen–well connected
As a popular ski resort, Brixen is very well connected to various parts of Italy and Austria. The local railway station runs between Verona in the south, and Innsbruck in the north, while the Brenner Autobahn runs from Brixen to Germany via Austria and Liechtenstein.
Business: Fruits of nature
Thanks to its natural slopes and snowy winters, the ski season is big business for residents of Brixen, who welcome an influx of visitors from across the continent. The fertile valley surrounding the town is full of vineyards and orchards, maintaining an agricultural tradition, which has seen the town thrive over many generations.
Culture: Alpine Italian
In its long and chequered past, Brixen has belonged to Germany, Austria, and Italy at various points. This has led to a predominantly Alpine culture around the town, with Gothic architecture, baroque facades and Alpine beers and foods served locally. The Cathedral and the Hofburg Castle are worth a visit, as they are packed with important artworks including a fresco called the Adoration of the Lamb by Paul Troger, which sits in the nave of the 10th century Brixen Cathedral.
Activities: Scale the Plose
The Plose Mountain is one of the most favourable ski locations in northern Italy, and the amenities around it are excellent. If you don’t like skiing, try snowboarding or sledging, or simply climb up one of the nearby mountains and take in the snowy vista.