Merano is always worth a visit. Empress Sissi was also aware of this and spent two winter stays in Trauttmansdorff Castle, which was rebuilt by Count Trauttmansdorff on ancient medieval ruins. Today the noble residence houses the Touriseum, which traces the 200-year history of tourism development in Tyrol.
This jewel of the past is surrounded by the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, which with an obligatory stop in the Merano basin. The Gardens are an extensive area where plants from all over the world are gathered, but the typical vegetation of South Tyrol is also present. In over 60 different sectors the plants are arranged according to the place of origin, highlighting the relationships between natural vegetation, climate, soil and human influences.
Thanks to the mild climate of Merano in the Gardens of the sun grow cultivated Mediterranean plants such as olive trees, vines, figs, cypresses and lavender. In the Water Gardens and terraced stairways, descend towards the Italian Garden, the Garden of the Senses or, even more, towards the delightful Lake of the Water Lilies. In the South Tyrolean Landscapes sector, crops and natural associations typical of this area are observed, while in the one dedicated to the Woods of the world, Asian and American hardwoods and conifers alternate.
In eleven pavilions created by artists you can discover the secrets of plant life. Furthermore, a multimedia journey through time in the cave shows how life on earth was born.
The varied cultural program of the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle includes, among others, outdoor summer concerts such as the "Evenings at the Gardens".
Sip a coffee by the water lily pond, sit on the restaurant terrace and let your gaze wander over the backdrop of the Merano mountains ...
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle: an experience in all senses.
From March to November there is an uninterrupted spectacle: it begins in the spring with citrus flowers, followed by camellias, Japanese ornamental cherry trees and rhododendrons. At the beginning of the summer season, English roses scatter an intoxicating fragrance into the air, in summer it is for lavender flowers to welcome visitors. On clear autumn days the grand finale is on stage: take the opportunity to spend the hottest hours immersed in volutes of colors that fade slowly.
At the center of the gardens stands the castle that Count Trauttmansdorff, around 1850, had rebuilt on ancient medieval ruins. Empress Sissi spent two winter treatment stays there.
Today the castle is home to the Touriseum - the Tourism Museum. After a careful restoration work, the rooms where the empress Sissi lived, precious furnishings and period reconstructions recall the development of South Tyrol in one of the most sought after holiday destinations in Europe.
In October 1870 Elisabeth Empress of Austria chose Trauttmansdorff Castle to stay there during the winter months. He settled with his little children Gisela (14 years) and Marie Valerie (2 years) on the top floor of the castle, in the frescoed rooms and with richly decorated wooden ceilings. The enormous court of 102 people following the Empress settled into the noble residences and the surrounding castles.
The fame of Merano as a health resort was born right then, when a few weeks later the Vienna newspapers reported that the health of the frail Marie Valerie was already improving in the mild climate of the spa town. Sissi, the empress so loved by her subjects, remained at Castel Trauttmansdorf for seven months and received the visit of Emperor Franz Josef four times.
The empress returned to Trauttmansdorf Castle in September 1889. Eight months earlier, Crown Prince Rudolf had taken his own life. During the entire stay "the woman in black", as the people called her now, led a very retired life without almost never leaving the castle.
Today the apartment where Sissi stayed is home to a collection of studies from the Touriseum.
The Baron von Deuster, once the owner of Trauttmansdorff Castle, organized a princely festival in 1908 in memory of the visit of the Emperor and the Empress of Austria. On this occasion a white marble bench, three meters long and with the image of the imperial couple, was placed in the open space where Empress Sissi loved to stand in the shade of an old chestnut tree.
The "Panca di Sissi" now relives its glory on the recently finished terrace of Trauttmansdorff Castle. A marble and slate staircase with comfortable steps leads up to it. Here the visitors, seated on the throne in front of the imposing castle, can immerse themselves in the memories of the past and admire the wonderful view over the Gardens.
Castel Trauttmasdorff Gardens: Useful Information
Duration of stay: Minimum 2 hours and a half
Opening hours: 15 March - 15 November: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm (last admission: 5.30 pm)
May 15th - September 15th: 9.00 am - 9.00 pm (last entry: 8.30 pm)
Rest day: none
Disabled people: The Gardens and the Touriseum are accessible for those who travel in wheelchairs.
Free rental of electric or manual wheelchairs.
Families: The Gardens and the Touriseum are suitable for baby buggies. There are numerous offers for children: the "Irrgarten", the adventure bridge, the geological mosaic, etc.
Entrance fees: single entrance ticket for Giardini and Touriseum:
Single ticket ,50 9.50;
Ticket for families (2 adults with children under 18) Ђ 21.00; Elderly (over 65) Ђ 8.00.
Groups of at least 15 people (per person) 7.00
Guided tour of the Gardens: in Italian, German and English
Euro 4,00 / person, duration about 90 minutes, reservations at least 3 weeks before
Audioguide for the Gardens: in Italian, German, English and French
Euro 2,00 / person, duration: between 50 minutes and 3 hours
Restaurant: in the Gardens with 150 seats in the hall and 100 seats on the terrace
Cafè: bar-café with a small list of snacks by the water lily pond
Picnic area: around 50 covered seats
Sanitary facilities: 10, accessible for wheelchairs, with changing table
Events program updated at www.trauttmansdorff.it
Promotional information: Leaflet, various advertising material, internet (www.trauttmansdorff.it)
Possibility of purchases: shop in the entrance building
How to get there: Motorway Modena - Brennero (A22), exit Bolzano south, highway Bolzano - Merano (ss38), exit Merano sud, deviation towards Scena, after 1.5 km on the right Trauttmansdorff Castle
Parking: 250 paid parking spaces, free parking for 9 buses
The photographs and information used to prepare this form have been kindly provided by the management staff of the gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle.
In the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle it is also possible to admire a "living fossil", whose existence remained hidden from science until a few years ago.
Wollemia nobilis was considered extinct until, in 1994, a small population was discovered in a deep gorge of the Wollemi National Park in Australia. David Noble, a ranger in the New South Wales National Park, during a hike through the wet tropical forests, discovered a plant previously unknown to him, which an international team of renowned botanists identified as a species of Araucariaceae that until at that moment it was considered extinct. It was given the name of its discoverer: Wollemia nobilis.
Today fewer than 100 specimens live in the wild and the place of discovery of this threatened species is kept strictly secret. In fact, only the isolation of trees in the gorges of humid tropical forests has made it possible to survive this species over millions of years. Therefore access is reserved exclusively to researchers with permission. The researchers are carried in the throat with eyes bandaged by a helicopter and lowered with ropes to the rocks where the Wollemi Pine grow.
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle participate in the commitment to the conservation of this rare species. The acquisition of the plant was made possible by the foundation of the Alto Adige Savings Bank as a sponsor.
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