THE South Tyrolean Christmas Markets have been certified "Green Event"FromProvincial Environment Agencythanks to the commitment and work on the part of the Tourist Board, the municipalities and all the commercial operators involved, which lasted 3 years!
Very important, to achieve this achievement, was the support in all phases of certification by theEco-institute South Tyrol,which since 1989, the year of its foundation, has been engaged in consulting activities to ensure the ecological development of the region, thanks to the skills gained in the following areas:mobility, climate and energy, environmental education, green events, society and sustainability.
To verify for yourself whether the measures relating to environmental protection provided for in the certification "Green Event"Have actually been implemented and respected, this year I went to visit theSouth Tyrolean markets in Bolzano, Merano and Bressanone.
Obviously I reached Bolzano in a "green“, With the comfortable train Milan - Verona - Bolzano and then use theMobilcard, which gives access to all local transport to reach Merano and Bressanone.
THEBolzano Christmas markets they are located in Piazza Walther, the main square, which also overlooks the beautiful Cathedral, flanked in this particular period of the year by the majestic illuminated Christmas tree that you can see in the opening photo of this article.
Themarket standsare made inwood, with recyclable modules in future editions, and the items on sale must be, with very few exceptions, actually produced in the municipalities of South Tyrol: this is an essential point for the organizers necessary to protect "the originality of the South Tyrolean markets"And the link with the territory.
The only exceptions are allowed for products which, due to climatic conditions, cannot be grown inSouth Tyrol: coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar but in this case they must come from fair trade.
Details "green attention"Are reserved formenu available in food stands that must offer at least 1 vegetarian menu and must indicate regional products, organic dishes and gluten-free dishes with special indications.
Mineral water, soft drinks and beer are only sold in returnable containers or on tap. All placemats and napkins are made exclusively from recycled paper. Banned cans.
Great attention is also paid tolighting: all lights are mandatory alow energy consumption, thanks to the use of technologyLED and cannot be turned on before 3.30 pm.
The decision of limit noise pollution, thanks to the ban on loud music which I found annoying in other similar events.
They were created near the marketsrelaxation areas to allow visitors to rest in the heat after shopping.
Markets in Bolzano: dwarfs and other wooden characters on sale at one of the stands
If you manage to carve out some time, I suggest you do not miss the opportunity to visit theArchaeological Museum of South Tyrol, located a few hundred meters from the markets, where you can see Oetzi, the famous mummy of Similaun, exhibited to the public in a "super-technological" case to recreate the humidity and temperature of the ice in which it was found.
I dedicated the second day of my stay in South Tyrol to visit theChristmas markets of Merano, located along the embankment of the Passiria, the river that crosses the city.
Among the interesting initiatives this year of themarkets of Merano I point out the project "Trees in Merano”Which offers visitors Christmas trees made by artists and personalities from entertainment, fashion and design from all over the world, including Renzo Arbore, Syusy Blady, Patrizio Roversi, Marco Lodola, Elio Fiorucci, Rosita Missoni and Matteo Thun.
Also toMerano, all criteriagreen already mentioned above, are the bearing guide of this2014 edition.
The Merano markets, along the Passiria river, the Christmas tree designed by Rosita Missoni, with the thermal baths behind it, and the ice skating rink
After visiting the markets, I opted for onewalk on the banks of the Passiria river, along the path called Winter Walk that leads to the ancient Roman bridge and continues up toCastel San Zeno, perched on a rock spur.
For those looking for rest and relaxation after visiting the markets, a very valid option is offered by the Terme di Merano, located right in front of the markets. For the more sporty, an illuminated ice skating rink or an uphill walk towards thepowder keg tower, from which you can enjoy a splendidview on the city of Merano.
View of Merano from the Polveriera tower
THEBressanone Christmas markets they were my destination of the third day spent in South Tyrol. Located in the square of the splendid Duomo, they have a smaller number of stands but without sacrificing the variability and quality of the products.
The manager of the Bressanone markets organization was really kind, dedicating a lot of time to answer my questions about the Green Event certification at a time when he certainly had another 1000 urgent things to do.
I could thus see the"Behind the scenes" of the markets, where another fundamental condition is fulfilled to obtain certification "Green Event": Therecycling of all the waste produced by the stalls. Thus, I was able to see the impeccable organization even at this juncture which provides for the separate collection of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, organic waste and non-differentiable waste.
A further step consists of a compacting machine located, in a secluded position, but right next to the markets in order to significantly reduce the volume of waste and reduce the number of steps required for collection by dedicated vehicles.
The Green Event logo which the South Tyrolean markets can boast of
Among the most interesting stands inmarkets of Bressanone I point out that of the essence distilleryBergila, the one for glass processing, such as for creating balls for the Christmas tree and the one for woodworking that you see portrayed in the following image.
Distillates of natural essences, glass and wood processing at the Bressanone markets
Do not miss the visit ofBressanone Cathedral (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Cassiano) and the spectacularcloister dating back to the 10th century, with Gothic frescoes dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: both are located rightin front of the markets.
The Markets of Bressanone and the Cathedral
Another interesting visit that I managed to do is the one atEpiscopal Palace of Bressanone which in this period houses a collection of vintage Christmas cribs (from 1700 to the present day).
One of the common factors that characterized the visit of the three South Tyrolean markets was certainly the gastronomic - culinary one: the restaurants where I had lunch and dinner have always served me dishes of great quality, in most cases with ingredients produced in South Tyrol.
My three favorite dishes however were:
– Variation of Baccalà to theParkhotel Mondschein Luna of Bolzano.
– Squash risotto with roasted shrimp to theLaurin restaurantof Bolzano.
– Tagliatelle with venison sauce at the adjacent restaurantTerme di Merano (with tables inside "giant Christmas balls"! :-)
Variation of cod, Pumpkin risotto with roasted shrimp and tagliatelle with venison ragout
THESouth Tyrolean markets await you until 6 January 2015 but, with all the work done by the friends of South Tyrol to obtain certification Green Event, the least you have to do is to reach them too in a green way, relying on the train! :-)
For more information and to better organize your visit, you can visit the official websites:
– Markets in Bolzano
– Markets in Merano
– Bressanone markets
Credits images: Matteo Di Felice - ViaggieVacanze.com