Today we didn't need to travel anywhere for a change, so we opted to have a relaxing day in Bolzano. We spent the morning exploring the town centre, which is really beautiful. The patterned roof of the cathedral looked lovely against the clear blue sky.
Turrets seemed to be a popular feature on many of the big buildings.
The centre of town is quite compact and so before long we found ourselves walking in a park alongside the river Talfer. We saw an enormous castle, surrounded by vineyards.
The weather was so clear that in the distance we got our first glimpse of the spiky Dolomites.
The views of the countryside surrounding Bolzano were gorgeous...
...and we spotted even more castles in the distance.
After a few miles we crossed the river and walked back along the other side. We were aiming for the Siegesplatz, where there is a controversial victory monument.
The monument was erected on the orders of Mussolini following the annexation of South Tyrol, to celebrate the victory of Italy in the First World War. Its construction was seen as extremely provocative by the German-speaking population at the time and it continues to be a source of tension, to the extent that it is permanently fenced off to stop people defacing it.
We walked back into the centre of town, towards the archaeological museum. We don't often visit museums when we are on holiday, but this one is the home of Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy of a man who lived around 3000 BC and who was found in the nearby mountains in 1991. There is an interesting exhibition in the museum featuring his tools and clothing and what they have allowed scientists to deduce about life at the time.
In the afternoon we decided to take the Renon cablecar to Oberbozen, which is situated on a high plateau above the town. The cablecar is extremely modern and is apparently the longest cable car journey in the world at 4km. It certainly felt like a long journey and there were some beautiful views.
When we got off the cablecar it was a bit tantalising, because the flat nature of the plateau meant that it was difficult to find a good vantage point to get views over the mountains. The shape of this mountain was particularly striking.
Some of the other mountains looked very spiky too, but it was difficult to capture them clearly in photos.
The Italian maps and path markers weren't quite as easy to understand as in Switzerland, but we eventually found a nice path to walk along towards the village of Maria Himmelfahrt.
There was a lovely restaurant there where we stopped for a late lunch and didn't hear any Italian spoken at all. Pudding was distinctly un-Italian anyway!
We could have continued our walk down to Bolzano, but unfortunately by the time we had finished eating the afternoon storm clouds were starting to gather. We decided to walk back to Oberbozen and take the cablecar down again instead.
We managed to get down just before the rain started. It was another lovely day in beautiful surroundings