Category: Italian travel

Trento to Innsbruck via Bolzano

Today’s guest blog post comes from one of our readers, John Fellin. Since many of us make pilgrimages back to our ancestral roots in the Trentino-Alto Adige, John’s post will be of particular interest to our travelers. My husband and I often travel by train while visiting Northern Italy and I found this to be very helpful information. Mille grazie John!

 

John:

Below is a translation from the regional newspaper Il Dolomiti about a new train service uniting three great Tirolean cities. The service restores a previous service that was severed when Italy annexed the South Tirol. It means that if you’re visiting the Val di Non, you can take “al tram” (the light rail line) to Mezzacorona and transfer to this new service to go to Innsbruck. “ÖBB train” stands for the Austrian Federal Railways (German: Österreichische Bundesbahnen or ÖBB).

 

Il Dolomiti (English Translation):

For the first time a direct, round-trip train will be established between Trento/Trient, Bolzano/Bozen and Innsbruck. In addition to this there will also be an Italo return train from Bolzano/Bozen to Rome.

This is the news from December 9th that will come into force with the new timetables for trains and buses in Trentino – Alto Adige/SudTirol.

There will be an ÖBB train which will depart in the morning and in the evening, will connect Trento/Trient, Bolzano/Bozen and Innsbruck in both directions. In the morning it will start from Trento/Trient at 6:40 am and with intermediate stops in Mezzocorona/Kronmetz (6.52 hours), Egna/Neumarkt (7:05 am) and Ora/Auer (7:10 am), arriving in Bolzano/Bozen at 7:28 am, arriving in Innsbruck at 9:02 am. Departure in the evening from Innsbruck is at 9:00 pm, arrival in Trento/Trient at 11:59 pm.

There will be a new connection between Bolzano/Bozen and Trento/Trient, departing from Bolzano/Bozen on weekdays except Saturday at 20:06.

You can read Il Dolomiti at: https://www.ildolomiti.it/ 

 

About John Fellin:

John is a second generation, 100% Tyrolean American, with all of his grandparents hailing from the Val di Non. He speaks both Italian and Nones, and has remained in-touch with his Trentini cousins. His father’s family is from Revo and his mother’s side is from Vigo Ton (Vich per Nones).

Guest Post by Cecelia Joliat

Cecelia Joliat, a descendant of the Genetti family, is the granddaughter of Regina Branz Daly (1931-2017) and Dr. Joseph E. Daly (1919-2013). She is also the great-granddaughter of Henry Branz (1897-1971) and Erminia Genetti (1896-1971).

Last year Cecelia made the long journey to her ancestral home of Castelfondo in the Val di Non. Today Cecelia shares with us an essay she composed about her family’s homeland along with personal photos from her trip. Many thanks Cecelia for your beautiful words and images!



The Val di Non – by Cecelia Joliat

Winter and spring had met in the valley and decided to form a truce; through the air was warm, little patches of snow clung to the grass and hid in the shadows of the houses at the base of the mountains. The mountains themselves served to break up the monotony of the blue sky, which threatened to swallow the valley whole. Indeed, the Val di Non was a place of perfect peace and clarity, a place where the tedious actions of every day life seemed to be carried away with the wind. It was there that my family packed its belongings and, with heavy hearts, left the comfort and security of their homeland to travel to America.

Over a hundred years later, I was inspired to make a personal pilgrimage to the land of my ancestors, and what I found exceeded expectation. The hillsides were covered in bare apple trees, slumbering in preparation for the next harvest, and the roof of every church glittered like a green gem. Train tracks cut swaths through the fields and bored holes in the sides of the mountains, with the stops punctuating the vast stretches of empty land in between. Neither photographer nor painter could do such sights justice.

No measure of time spent in the valley would have been long enough, so when it came time to leave, I left with the same heaviness of heart that my ancestors had. The windows of the train framed the snowy peaks, quaint farms, and ancient castles until the sun retreated and I was left peering into the darkness, hoping one day to return. ~ by Cecelia Joliat

 

(click on photos to view larger)

 

 

Canederli – A Tyrolean Food!

Canederli di Speck, photo from "Italian Food, Wine, and Travel"

Canederli di Speck, photo from
“Italian Food, Wine, and Travel”

I just came across a delectable post on the blog: Italian Food, Wine, and Travel. Written by Chefbikeski, the Culinary Director and Owner of Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine, the yummy post is entitled: Canederli di Speck – Traditional Dumpling from Sudtirol.

If you travel through the provinces of Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy, you’ll find various versions of these heavenly bread balls on most menus. Stop at a mountain hut while hiking (also known as a Malga or an Alm) and canederli will be the main attraction, handmade with love in the back kitchen!

Canederli can be sweet or savory, made steamed or poached, with meat or no meat, eaten alone or in a bowl of broth. They are sumptuous dumplings created by combining leftover stale white bread with milk, butter, flour, eggs, seasonings and whatever else you want to throw into the mixture. Upon one of my visits to a traditional malga, I had a tri-color combo of canederli – white (made with cheese), red (made with beets) and green (made with spinach). The dish was delicious and VERY filling!

For a taste of our ancestors, stop by the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel blog and clip their recipe for Canederli di Speck. For those of you who have never tried “speck”, it is a smoked prociutto-style ham that is made in Trentino-Alto Adige. My mouth is watering just thinking about the salty, smokey slices of speck that always accompanied every breakfast when we visited the city of Bolzano in Alto Adige. Click here to read the full blog post by Chefbikeski.

Want to try your hand at other Tyrolean dishes? I found two cookbooks on Amazon that you might like:

Traditional Cooking – Tyrol (Amazon link)

Cook Book from Tyrol (Amazon link)

Our thanks to Italian Food, Wine, and Travel. Stop by and read more of their wonderful travel posts, illustrated with beautiful photographs of Italy.

Arrivederci Italy!

Although I’ve been home for ten days, I thought it fitting to close my Italian blog posts with how I began … in Milan. We embarked on our journey at the beginning of September with three days in the fashion capital of Italy. Although a metropolitan city, Milan is still walkable with many sites to enjoy. With an eight-hour time difference to contend with, our first days were spent adjusting and trying to get enough sleep! But in three days we managed to tour the magnificent Duomo di Milano, several other churches, Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Castello Sforzesco. Then is was off to Bolzano!

At the end of our Italian trip, we boarded our last train from Verona, arriving back in Milan. With only an afternoon left, we opted to view a retrospect of Chagall’s paintings at the Palazzo Reale, have a final stroll around the Piazza and conclude with a light dinner and our favorite bottle of wine. Ahhh … the entire journey was a memorable adventure!

Thank you to all for reading my blog and following my exploits in Italy! Our next posts will return to family genealogy. Enjoy the following photos of Milan …

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II is one of oldest enclosed shopping malls in the world. Look closely between the Louis Vuitton store on the left and the Prada store on the right. Yes, that is a McDonald's!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II is one of oldest enclosed shopping malls in the world. Look closely between the Louis Vuitton store on the left and the Prada store on the right. Yes, that is a McDonald’s!

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The Duomo di Milano is incredible inside and out. It is one of the largest churches in Europe and took almost 500 years to complete. The floor is composed of three different colors of marble and each square is pieced together as a mosaic.

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We booked a roof-top tour of the Duomo. This is the view looking down at the Piazza.

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From the Duomo roof-top you can see so much more! The entire outside is covered in carvings and statues. Plus many little secrets are hidden within obscure corners. So glad we took the time to do this!

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Milan’s Duomo at dusk.

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This is a copy of Da Vinci’s Last Supper (or L’Utima Cena in Italian). Only 30 people at a time are allowed into the specially conditioned room to view the masterpiece. It was awe-inspiring standing before the Renaissance fresco which takes up an entire wall. Absolutely no photos are allowed! To get tickets, you must book online several weeks ahead of your visit.

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Ciao a tutti da Milano! It has been fun. Hope you enjoyed my photos and posts. Until next time … Arrivederci e buona fortuna!

 

 

Fair Verona

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was exploring the streets of Verona. Home of the Montagues and Capulets (remember your high school lit class?). Verona was entrancing! The architecture, churches and meandering streets transported me back to an age of Gothic grandeur, with a Roman arena towering over city center.

The City of Verona is also a World Heritage Sight. For you history buffs, I recommend visiting the UNESCO website for more info and to view a gallery of photos: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/797 

Such a gem of a city …  doth I say, as beautiful a lady as Venice?

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The streets of fair Verona with the Roman arena on the right.

 

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The Verona Arena was built in AD 30 by the Romans. It looks like a smaller version of the Colosseum. The interior has been updated with stadium seating and is still in use today for rock concerts and expansive opera productions.

StripedBuilding

Renaissance splendor! The architecture of Verona began with the Romans in the 1st century BCE and spans many historical periods and styles.

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Juliet’s house – Casa di Guilietta – and her balcony are one of the main attractions of Verona.

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Sant’ Anastasia is an exquisite Gothic church built between 1280-1400. Frescos cover the entire interior. The church recently underwent an extensive restoration and the artwork absolutely sings with color! This was my favorite church from our entire trip.

PontePietra

The Ponte Pietra (Italian for Stone Bridge) is a Roman bridge completed in 100 BC that spans the Adige River. It is massive and a truly impressive piece of architecture.

My handsome husband, Michael, standing on the Ponte Pietra.

My handsome husband, Michael, standing on the Ponte Pietra.

Home Again!

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Me on the Ponte Pietra in Verona – only one day left before we leave lovely Italy.

I am finally back home after our six-week adventure through Northern Italy. During that time I met wonderful Italian cousins, visited the birthplace of my ancestors, lived as an Italian in the charming city of Bolzano, hiked in the Alps, visited many historical sights and churches, and ate my fill of tradition Tyrolean cuisine. Yes, it was a memorable trip – one that I will never forget.

Our last week was spent in fair Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And we concluded the trip where we began with a final dinner at the Milan Park Hyatt, toasting a bottle of our favorite wine (a vintage from Lombardy that we cannot purchase in the USA). More photos to come in future posts of these two beautiful cities!

Leaving Italy - view of the Italian Alps from the air as we fly towards France.

Leaving Italy – view of the Italian Alps from the air as we fly towards France.

Then there was the VERY long trip home. In our final 48 hours we rode in a train, three taxis, three planes and a car. With lay-overs in both Heathrow and Dallas, the total trip from Milan to Santa Fe took 25 hours! I was one tired traveler by the time we arrived home at midnight on Thursday. I’m almost recovered from my jet lag and will soon post more fascinating info about the Genetti clan and our Italian adventure. Stay tune!

I would be especially grateful if each of you reading this post helped spread the word about the Genetti Family website and blog. Email a sibling or cousin today and tell them about this unique genealogy resource. Information for the Genetti Family Genealogy Project can also be found on FaceBook at: www.facebook.com/genettifamilygenealogy.

Arrivederci!

Photos from Bolzano

Just a few more photos for your enjoyment.

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Countryside above Bolzano with the Dolomite peaks in the background.

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While hiking in San Genesio high above Bolzano, you pass many alpine pastures with well-fed cows!

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View of the Dolomites and vineyards from San Magdalena.

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The Santa Magdalena vineyard produces an excellent regional wine.

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Evening at Piazza Walther, city center of Bolzano, Italy. The Duomo is in the background.

Viva Venice!

StMarks-3 Last week held another Italian adventure … Venice! About 3 hours by train from our apartment in Bolzano, we decided a mini-trip to glorious Venice was a must. Off we went for three days to see the sights and sounds of this elegantly decaying lady of northern Italy. And she did not disappoint.

With thousands of tourists from all over the world streaming into Venice every day (including George Clooney and his new bride!) it’s a sensory overload compared to quiet, laid-back Bolzano. After getting over the initial crush of bodies on our first water taxi ride up the Grand Canal (I don’t like crowds and usually avoid them as much as possible) and locating the little boutique hotel where we were staying, Venice became a joy to explore.

StMarks-1With map in hand, we navigated the tangled streets  opening into wide piazzas. Around every corner were surprises and what we used to call “a Kodak moment”. Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square) was exactly how it looks in photos: expansive views, regal architecture and filled with people from all over the world. And yes, the bell tower in this photo is leaning precariously! This is a relatively new structure since the original “campanile” collapsed in 1902.

We wandered through cobbled streets connected by little bridges crisscrossing willy-nilly while gondolieri in their striped shirts navigated the slender black boats in the canal below. Tiny specialty shops operated out of every available niche, while richly decorated designer stores made for interesting window shopping.

StMarks-4Day 2 brought rain – a blessing in disguise as the crowds were less and it was much easier to see the sights. We had come prepared with umbrella and rain jackets. I was singing in the rain that day as Venice was a memorizing, watery reflection of beauty. Michael and I whiled the morning hours away at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, enjoying the modern masters that graced the lovely villa, once home to the heiress.

After a light “pranzo” (lunch) we climbed the steep stairs to the top of San Marco Basilica. There we could see the complete interior of the massive Gothic structure from the balcony, walk through a thousand  years of church history in the museum and climb out onto the roof to gaze at the square below. It was a very good day!

StMarks-2Day 3 was a boat ride to the Venetian island of Murano. Quaint and cozy, this is the place where famous Murano glass has been manufactured for centuries.

I left with many photos and memories, and just a taste of historic Venice.

As we boarded our train for the trip back to our adopted home in Bolzano, I wondered if my ancestors ever made it to this island wonderland. Before the automobile, it probably took two days of travel by horse and carriage down river valleys and over mountain passes to reach the shore. Then a ferry ride to finally arrive at the city. I don’t know if they ever travelled east of their mountain home and gazed upon beautiful Venice.

But I do know that they were courageous people who made a difficult decision to travel west, to a strange country. Between the 1870’s through the 1920’s, many Tyroleans made their way over the Alps to the south of France where they boarded a crowded ship bound for a new country. They may not have seen the treasures of Venice, but they did create their own fortunes in America.