Menhirs and other peoples have lived here since the 3rd millennium BC, but the town's history really began with the Roman occupation in the valley. The first settlement was mentioned in 857, and the counts at Castle Tyrol gave the place city status in the 13th century, turning it into their capital of the county of Tyrol. It remained an important capital until 1848. The city eventually became a part of the Kingdom of Italy, officially decreed by the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye after WWI. This prompted a new coat of arms to be made; but it went back to the historical one after the end of WWII with its signature crowned eagle.
Location: A comune in Northern Italy
Called both Meran and Merano, this city is in South Tyrol, a province in northern Italy. It sits at the entrance to the Passeier and the Vinschgau Valleys. This puts it within a basin, surrounded by mountains that can reach up to over 3,000 meters high. The Passer River is actually a tributary of the Adige. Where the two rivers join is where the whole valley begins, and then it stretches all the way into Austria. The climate here is rather mild, which has caused many notable people to call this place home. Some of these have been Ezra Pound, Franz Kafka, and Paul Lazarsfeld.
Culture: Food and Historical Landmarks
Wine, beer, and food are well known in the area. Many vineyards span the province and make their way into the town. Those produced in the town are world-renowned, both red and white. The local wine called Meraner Leiten is best drunk young unlike other wines, and is of a light red color, making it quite unique. The Forst Brewery provides other libations for those who enjoy local beers. Extensive orchards run through the town, giving it a major export sold throughout all of Europe. Beyond this, tourists often enjoy exploring the many historical landmarks scattered throughout the town. Numerous medieval city gates are still intact, including those belonging to the fortifications. St. Nicholas' Church, the Princely Castle, and the St. Barbara's Chapel all date back to the 15th century, and the Princely Castle was once home to Sigismund, Archduke of Austria.
Activities: Health Tourism and the Outdoors
If you're looking for recreation in Merano, start with the outdoors. There is an adventure to be had in every season. Cycling is popular in summer and fall, with a choice of romantic and scenic paths to more challenging, high altitude trails. In the spring, you can take a stroll through the blooming orchards all around the city. Wintertime brings the most exhilarating experiences with winter hiking, snow shoeing and, of course, skiing on some of the best slopes in Italy. After a long day of challenging activity, the city also offers a way to relax. The Merano Thermal Baths offer unique ways to heal your mind and body, with 50,000 square meters of indoor and open-air swimming pools, saunas, scented Jacuzzi baths, and massage therapists.