Hotel Cavallino d’Or (Golden Horse) & Bolzano
Tomaž was right! He thought that we needed to go to the Dolomites.
Castelrotto (Kastelruth) is a small town in South Tyrol in northern Italy, about 12 ½ miles northeast of the city of Bolzano. Following A22 until you reach the turn off to Castelrotto. It is a complicated junction. Invariable we had to try the exit several times.
Upon arrival at Castelrotto, Kay Monk, exclaimed “This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.” We agreed.
Pat & I loved it so much that we have been there three times. The first with Kay and Dennis and Monk, the second was with Joan and Harold Young and the third was with Pat’s sister Vicky Manning. This memoir covers all three trips.
Each time we stayed at Hotel Cavallino d’Oro. Not sure how we found about it- perhaps from Rick Steves’ guidebook.
The hotel was built in 1326 and lovingly renovated. The “Cavallino” looks back on 700 years of exciting history, which is reflected in the many paintings and photographs scattered around the hotel. It served wonderful meals. I understand that it has now been changed to a bed and breakfast.
It is located in the center of Village in Piazza Kraus. Immediately outside there is bell tower (with Chapel), and a Catholic Church.
Prior to the end of World War I, South Tyrol and Trentino were part of Austria, which explains why 75 percent of the region’s population speaks German as their first language. Italian is the second language. You can get by with English in lots of places.
Not far from the center of town was a beautiful cemetery and also the place one could catch the bus going up a mountain to a restaurant for spectacular views.
With Pat’s help, we were able to decipher a German language sign saying that there would be a rehearsal of the local band that evening. We four went and were welcomed with great pleasure. The band was made up with men coming in from nearby farms.
The following link shows somewhat how the band sounds: Click here
When they found that we were from Maryland, they honored us by playing “Shenandoah.”
A wonderful video of the Parish Church as well as the town can be found by clicking here.
Festival for the Virgin Mary.
While we didn’t arrange it that way, we were lucky that we were at festival all three times.
The procession left from the church with Mary’s statue. Pat remembers that it was always led by the bachelors of the area. The procession went counterclockwise around the Church – reappearing later from the other side.
After the procession there was a concert by the community band on the steps of the tower, including dancing and with all kinds of festivities. A wonderful day!
There were several outstanding woodcarvers in Castelorotto. We bought two of these works.
As the Monks and we left Castelrotto on our way to Munich via the Brenner Pass, we learned that gas stations were on strike. We were anxious but since our tank was full, we made it.
On our second trip to Castelrotto, two friends (we are not sure who they were) and we took a one-day side trip to Balzano, which is the capital city of the province of South Tyrol in northern Italy. Bolzano is also by far the largest city in South Tyrol.
It is a medieval city. I was thrilled that the central piazza was named Piazza Walther von der Vogelweide. It also contained a large statue of him. In my university music appreciation course, I had read of him and learned to pronounce his name by saying it in trochaic tetrameter. – WA-ter. VON-der. VO-gel. WEI-de. Euphonious.
The other major sight is the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which has the mummy of Ötzi the Iceman. Ötzi, is the natural mummy of a man who lived sometime between 3350 and 3105 BC, discovered in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps (hence the nickname “Ötzi”) on the border between Austria and Italy.
Ötzi is believed to have been murdered, due to the discovery of an arrowhead embedded in his left shoulder and various other wounds. The nature of his life and the circumstances of his death are the subject of much investigation and speculation.
He is Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy.
Before returning to Castelrotto, we had time for a glass of Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige. We were hooked! We often drink wines from the Alto Adige and are not very particular about the venter, nor the year. Just the memories.
Caught the bus back to Castelrotto.
The third time going to Castelrotto was with Vicky Manning, Pat’s sister. On the former trips, Pat had been the navigator and, remembering the complicated exit off A22 to get to Castelrotto, she announced, with some authority, that she was not going to do it again. Instead, she arranged for us to have a driver, Kurt I believe, from the Venice airport to Castelrotto – to the tune of €1000 I believe. Oops!
Despite the cost, it was a wonderful trip in his Mercedes. Lacking a car, getting back to Venice was going to require a bus trip and changing of two trains. I didn’t relish handling all the bags with all those changes. I opted to hire Kurt to return us to Venice. Another €1000.
Back to Venice where we had another wonderful time with Vicky.