Bolzano (Italian) or Bozen (German), (Ladin: Balsan, Bulsan) is the capital city of South Tyrol, the German-speaking region in the northern part of Italy. Bozen-Bolzano is the largest city in the region. Its archaeology museum is famous worldwide as the home of the alpine iceman “Ötzi”. It is also known as the Italian Capital of Christmas thanks to its characteristic Christmas market. Bozen-Bolzano’s population is around 100,000 (140,000 including the metropolitan area). 25% of inhabitants speak German as their mother tongue; the population of German-speakers is much higher in the non-urban parts of the province (up to more than 90% in some areas), making the city and province officially bilingual.
Together with Innsbruck, Bozen-Bolzano is officially the capital of the Alps because the seat of the Alpine Convention is located here. The world-famous Museum of Archaeology with the Iceman and the Messner Mountain Museum’s main seat make Bozen-Bolzano a world city of mountaineering history and culture.
Near Italy’s northern border with Austria, the city is a gateway to the Dolomites, the majestic white mountain peaks that are part of the Alps and UNESCO World Heritage. Bolzano is an Italian city with Austrian flair. Its two lifestyles, one Northern European and the other more Mediterranean, combine to make the perfect union, which can be clearly seen in the historic and artistic treasures of this city.
Bolzano is constantly among the top-ranked cities in Italy when it comes to quality of life. It has one of Europe’s lowest unemployment rates, excellent services and a wonderful landscape. The landscape of the surrounding mountain sides is characterised by old wine hamlets and villages nestling amid vineyards watched over by 200 castles, stately country houses and ruins.