Lana, Italy

Photo: Vigilius Mountain Resort
Photo: Vigilius Mountain Resort

There’s no rush. You’re sitting on your balcony watching waves of clouds move in between the mountain peaks. They’re so dense, you can’t see the valley or the village below. It’s just you, the already warm sun, and happy birds chirping in the distance. You breathe in the fresh mountain air and larch while you sip a cup of tea. No rush at all.

After running around Northern Italy, it feels good to do nothing but stare at beautiful mountains. You hurried your way—and ate your way—through Milan, Parma, Verona, and Venice, not wanting to miss anything. But now, near the Austrian border, you can finally relax.

You’re at the Vigilius Mountain Resort on Vigiljoch, a car-free mountain in Trentino-Alto Adige. Yesterday, you parked your rental car in Lana, at the bottom of the mountain, and rode a cable car high into the larch forest. The resort perfectly melds modern and traditional, minimal and nostalgic. The lodge is wooden, but the rooms have clay walls. Decorations are unnecessary when every little nook has an amazing view.

Photo: Sascha Vogelgesang (Username: SaschaV) (Own work, composition of 26 Pictures) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Sascha Vogelgesang (Username: SaschaV) (Own work, composition of 26 Pictures) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
You spent the afternoon eating a long lunch by the 100-year-old tiled stove at Parlour Ida and getting used to the switch from the Italian to the German language. You swam in the quartz-lined indoor pool and had an apple-honey-polenta peel at the spa. You drank a Forst beer on the sun terrace and learned how to take panoramic photos on your new camera. And you stuffed yourself with tagliatelle, ravioli, and light Müller-Thurgau wine while the sun set at Restaurant 1500.

Now you’re trying to figure out how to spend your second day. Hike to St. Vigilius Church, a 13th-century church where locals pray for protection against bad weather. Continue on to find some of the area’s 14 bubbling springs. The clear, pure water is believed to have healing properties. Visit Trauttmansdorff Castle and wander through its beautiful gardens that are filled with cypresses, olives, oleanders, and figs. And ride a chairlift from Merano to the ancient Tirol Castle to learn the fascinating history of this long-disputed area.

That’s your plan, at least. Once you can tear yourself away from your peaceful balcony and the ever-expanding view as the clouds lift away. Or maybe tea turns into wine, and you just stare at these amazing mountains all day.

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