A weekend in Campo Tures in the name ofecotourism it was my experience of the last 3 days that allowed me to discover a place in theSouth Tyrol that I had not yet visited, where theeco-sustainability it is a cornerstone of daily life and tourism development policy.
Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers in German) is a municipality in the Ahrntal Valley, located 867 meters above sea level and with about 5,000 inhabitants. It can be reached from Milan in about 4 hours.
The Campo Tures Castle (Castel Taufers), which I chose as the opening image of my article, is the symbolic building of the town located in a dominant position and strong of its 800 years of history.
Its construction was in fact completed in 1215 by the noble Taufers family with the function of a stately home. The castle was later enlarged in the 16th century with the impressive fortified works of the entrance.
The guided tour I took at 11 (it is essential to show up at least ten minutes early) lasted an hour and allowed me to appreciate all the main areas of the castle:
- the Hall of Judgment, where justice was administered and the adjoining Hall of torture for the unfortunate convicts who did not want to admit their sins.
- the chapel with frescoes by Friedrich Pacher
- the Chamber of the sick, a room separated from the chapel, from which even the sick could attend religious services without risk of contagion. This room was later used as the seat of the Noble School active in Castel Taufers during the sixteenth century. Hanging on the walls you can thus see small paintings with the faces of the pupils portrayed individually rather than in groups as in the current "class photos". The school was mixed and also accepted female students, a very unusual practice for the times.
- The spirit room where Margarethe von Taufers decided to lock herself up for 7 years and then committed suicide by jumping out of the window, after her parents had murdered a farmer from the area she fell in love with. Legend has it that Margarethe's spirit still roams the hall with nocturnal sounds and moans.
- the Cardinal's Chamber
- the guest room
- The Hall of the Knights and armory
- the library
- the main tower, accessible by climbing a few flights of stairs.
The Campo Tures Castle it is now managed by the Burgeninstitut on whose official website you can find more information to organize your visit.
The armory of the Castle of Campo Tures
In my weekend in Campo Tures in the name of ecotourism I could not miss a walk through the paths of the place: among the many options the choice fell on the path that gives Riva di Tures, within the Vedrette di Ries-Aurina Nature Park, leads up to the hutKnutten Alm at 1911 meters and then continue to the border with Austria at 2288 meters.
The route lasts about 2 hours and climbs gently and is therefore also suitable for people without particular training. The Knutten Alm is located exactly in the middle of the route so it is ideal for planning a stop for a snack or lunch, as I did. The kitchen offers dishes made exclusively with local ingredients: I chose the delicious "schlutzkrapfen“, Tyrolean ravioli stuffed with spinach.
In the images that follow two moments of the walk: the first at low altitude, at the beginning of the path in the Vedrette di Ries-Aurina Natural Park and the second a few hundred meters from Klammljoch, the border point with Austria at 2288 meters, interspersed with the tasty plate of schlutzkrapfen.
Two sections of my walk in the Ahrntal Valley interspersed with the Schlutzkrapfen plate
Upon returning from the walk I went back to the hotel that hosted me for this weekend in Campo Tures, L'Drumlerhof hotel, one of excellence in the field of eco-sustainability and ecotourism of South Tyrol.
As the owner, Stefan, who manages the Drumlerhof together with his wife Ruth, explained to me, the entire philosophy of the hotel is based on sustainability and harmony with nature, so much so that guests are provided with the "balance of good comune ”created with the support of the“ Terra Institute ”and in which all the virtuous practices actually implemented at the Drumlerhof are certified.
The "balance of the common good”Is thus divided into one matrix that relates 5 key values:
1) Dignity of the human being
4) Social equity
5) Democratic co-management & transparency
with i different stakeholders like:
3) Employees and owners
4) Products and partner companies
5) Social context (population, future generations and nature on a global level)
assigning a score and a percentage score to each correspondence.
Finally, a series of negative criteria relating to values and stakeholders that determine a decrease in the score were identified.
This creates a document that highlights strengths and weaknesses on which you can focus your efforts.
More information on this model can be found on the website www.economy-del-bene-comune.it
Compliance with these virtuous criteria thus make customers appreciate everything offered at the Drumlerhof with greater satisfaction because they are certain that it derives from an overall project that puts eco-sustainability at the center of development.
Relaxation in the panoramic swimming pool with a view of the Dolomites or in the Jacuzzi with a view of the castle of Campo Tures (spectacularly illuminated at night) thus takes on an even greater value when you are sure that the energy needed to operate the system arrives from eco-sustainable sources and that supplier companies are also evaluated for compliance with social equity criteria and not only on the basis of economic convenience criteria.
The Drumlerhof Jacuzzi with a view of Castel Taufers
Do not miss the Biosauna at 60 ° and the Sauna at 80 ° entirely made of wood and the holistic treatments: I indulged in a relaxing one hour massage, passed with flying colors! (the masseuse was named Sandra)
Obviously, the cuisine at the Drumlerhof is also characterized by dishes made with exclusively natural foods and for the most part at Km 0. Fruits and vegetables come from the farm owned and the meats from local farmers.
Surely if other hoteliers adopted this philosophy of sustainability we would certainly live in a better world!
Attention to sustainability is also an essential point of the action of the Municipality of Campo Tures which uses multiple renewable resources (water, sun, wind and wood) for the production of electricity, obtaining numerous national and international awards.
Today Campo Tures is thus able to produce more energy than it consumes and has set itself the even more ambitious goal of becoming the first CO2-neutral municipality in South Tyrol.
To achieve this goal, a series of key themes have been identified on which investments will have to focus:
- Awareness and training of the population (residents and tourists)
- Solar power
- Municipal electricity and district heating network
- Energy cooperative
- Energy saving
- Sustainable mobility
- Technique and innovation
- Hydroelectric energy
Among the sources of clean energy is the Tobl hydroelectric plant which exploits the power of the Riva waterfalls to produce hydroelectric energy.
At the same time, the waterfalls offer an exceptional spectacle, which these days can also be admired at night, thanks to an illuminated path set up in the Riva wood that leads up to the first of the three waterfalls.
Campo Tures - The illuminated waterfall
At the foot of the waterfalls, some stalls strictly integrated into the surrounding forest offer food and handicrafts in the area to visitors.
To reach the path that leads to the waterfalls at this Christmas time, you can use a carriage pulled by imposing horses that completes the "fairytale experience".
Typical products of the area, food or craft, are then available to guests in the markets of Campo Tures that unlike those that take place in other locations in South Tyrol, they are located inside a historic building, with the advantage of being able to linger at the various banquets, talking with the various managers, without the danger of the cold.
Straw processing, cheese and speck tasting and an unusual dress of pine branches at the Campo Tures market
For dinner on the second day spent in Campo Tures I was able to try the cuisine ofArcane, the herb restaurant inside the hotelMoosmair, run by the Ebenkofler family.
The menu of the day included 3 exceptional zero-kilometer dishes!
A duet of first courses consisting of:
- Potato strigoli with pine pesto and leek splinters
- Tagliatelle with red sauerkraut with duck sauce, marjoram and juniper
- Saddle of venison wrapped in strudel and spinach crust with red Acereto turnips and mountain pine polenta
- “Schneemilch” frothed milk with hazelnut cream and marinated figs.
The 3 dishes offered by the Arcana restaurant in the Moosmair hotel
My weekend in Campo Tures concluded with a hearty, hearty dinner with local natural products.
Thanks to the attention to all the environmental issues mentioned above, Campo Tures was awarded by Italian Touring Club the prestigious recognition of Orange Flag, which rewards only the municipalities that have actually implemented the environmental protection, ecotourism and sustainability interventions set by the expert committee.
On the next occasion, I set out to visit the Campo Tures and Plan de Corones ski areas, for a nice ski ride or perhaps for a more peaceful walk on snowshoes in the splendid Dolomites.
However, the exceptional nature of South Tyrol remains at the center!