Definitions

Merano

Merano

Merano (Italian, now most common in English; German: Meran, also used in English; Ladin: Meran; Archaic (857 AD): Mairania; Latin: Merona; many of the region's Italian languages/dialects use Meran), is a town in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy. Generally best known for its spa resorts, it is located inside a basin, surrounded by mountains standing up to 3,335 m (11,000 ft), at the entrance to the Passeier Valley, the Vinschgau (Val Venosta) and the Ultental (Val d'Ultimo) valleys.

In the past the town has been a popular place of residence for several scientists and artists, who appreciated its mild climate.

Among the town's landmarks are the Museum of Tourism, which was opened in the spring of 2003 and shows the historical development of tourism in the province, and the Giardini di Castel Trauttmansdorff, a botanical garden. Both sites are located in the Trauttmansdorff Castle.

History

The area was inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC, as showed by the presence of menhirs and other findings. The story of the city proper began in 15 BC when the Romans occupied the Adige valley founding a military camp, Castrum Majense. Merano was elevated to the status of a city during the 13th century. It was capital of the County of Tyrol from 1418 to 1848.

After the county had been handed over to the Habsburg family in 1363 after the abdication of Countess Margarete Maultasch of Tyrol, in 1420 Friedrich IV moved the court to Innsbruck. Merano subsequently lost its predominant position and almost all its importance as an economic hub across the roads connecting Italy to Germany. The important mint was also moved to Hall in 1577.

The Tyrolean struggle for freedom of 1809 drew attention again to Merano. In that year, on the Küchelberg above the city, the Tyroleans eked out a victory against the French and Bavarians troops.

The county was later restored on the person of Anna Maria Josephine Plochl, morganatic wife of Archduke Johann of Austria. After World War I, Merano became part of Italy with the rest of the province of Bolzano-Bozen.

Languages

According to the 2001 census, 51.50 % of the resident population speaks German as mother language, 48.01% Italian, and 0.49% Ladin.

Sports

In 1981, the World Chess Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi was held in Merano. A chess opening, the Meran Variation of the Semi-Slav Defense, was named after the town. The first act of the musical Chess is about this world chess championship match in Merano, and features a song entitled "Merano", which includes the line, "rosy cheeked Merano, flourishing to a fault".

The city's handball team is one of the most important of Italy, winner of the scudetto in 2005. The ice hockey team won two national championships, but it is currently playing in the Second Division (A2 series).

Each September, the Gran Premio Merano takes place in the Maia Racecourse; this is the most famous Italian Steeplechase.

Tourism

Merano is a popular tourist destination especially for Germans and Italians. In summer there are concerts on the promenade almost daily, and there are fine walks around the town and in the surrounding hills, not least "Merano 2000", where there is also ski-ing in winter.

Fruit, Wine and Beer

The area is well known for its wines, both white and red, and vineyards extend right into the town. The local wine, Meranese di Collina, is a light red, best drunk young. . There are also extensive orchards, and apples are exported throughout Europe. The Forst brewery on the edge of the town produces a popular range of beers, sold throughout northern Italy.

Sights

Notes and references


Images

External links

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