Castello di Scena castle, once the home of Archduke Johann and still lived in by his descendants today, was built in the 14th century and looks down from its lofty perch onto the village that was named after it. Schenna is an alpine town that blends historic buildings and traditions amongst modern amenities for winter and summer visitors to the region. The town was once the domain of farmers who eked out their existence on the plateau’s fertile soil, and whilst these traditions continue, the town is becoming a major tourist area through its wide range of outdoor activities and wonderful scenery. A great draw for walkers and hikers, Schenna has over 200 kilometres of trails for every ability that radiate from the town, and can offer serious walkers some challenging routes along the high mountain ridges.
Location: Well worth the trip through the mountains
High in the South Tyrolean Mountains, it can seem a daunting place to visit, but it is actually more straightforward than it first appears. Bolzano Airport is just 32 kilometres to the south and has regular flights to much of mainland Europe. The drive from the airport is along a scenic road, the SS38, via Terlano and Lana, and will have you looking out of the windows at every turn with the stunning views on offer. Therefore, if this is your first time here, it is best to take the bus to allow you to marvel at the views. Driving here will bring you over, or through, some of the most spectacular and well-known routes in the world: the Brenner Pass, the Reschen Pass, or the unusual experience of the car train through the Vereina Tunnel—each an experience to remember.
Culture: Over a thousand years of history to discover
The original church of St Martin dates back to the 12th century, and is the oldest building in Schenna. It is built on the foundations of a Roman building according to Carolingian measurements, which were first introduced by Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. The nearby mausoleum, located next to the parish church, is the family tomb of the Archduke Johann. It features a heavily ribbed crypt vault in its underground chambers.
Activities: An outdoor paradise for walkers and hikers
The landscape that surrounds Schenna is a vista of wide open spaces, forests, and hills that are criss-crossed with hundreds of kilometres of hiking and cycling routes. For those that love the views of mountaintops but do not wish to climb, five cable cars in the vicinity allow you access to the wonderful panoramas that the peaks can give you. For those just wishing to have a more relaxing visit, the spa town of Merano is just a few kilometres away, and offers luxury treatments in five-star surroundings.