Well I’ve finally made it to Italy, but as anyone who has crossed the border from Austria would know, it doesn’t quite feel like Italy yet. Alto Adige is also known as Sudtirol or South Tyrol. This is because for centuries the whole area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up until the end of WWI. After this point the Italian border was set at the Brenner Pass on the Southern side of the Alps, but the citizens remained proudly Tyrolean. Hence they continued to speak German (albeit an Austrian dialect), ate Austrian food, and made many wines from German/Austrian varieties such as pinot bianco/weissburgunder, pinot grigio/grauburgunder, gewurtztraminer and muller-thurgau. During the fascist era Mussolini attempted to make Alto Adige an Italian speaking region like the rest of the country, by introducing southerners into the area. But the inhabitants are stubborn and proud, and now there is a mix of Italian and German spoken, almost on opposite sides of the narrow valley that makes its way south towards Trentino.
|Pergola trellising at Tiefenbrunner; now I’m south of the Alps|