This past weekend we took a little trip to the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, in Northern Italy. Our reason for visiting was mainly the Dolomites, a mountain range part of the Southern Alps and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (more on that in a later post).
Just for some interesting facts and background information (which I didn’t know myself before our visit), Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol is an autonomous region of Italy divided into two provinces: Trentino and South Tyrol (Südtirol). The region was historically part of Austria-Hungary until Italy annexed it in 1919 as part of the post-World War I Treaty of Saint-Germain. As a result, one of the most interesting things about this region is the fact that it has two official languages: Italian and German! In Südtirol, 69% of the population speaks German as a native language. This is more than evident as soon as you drive into the region, since every sign is almost always first in German, then in Italian!
So on Thursday evening, we packed our bags and Arya into the car and drove about six hours to our agriturismo (think of it like a farm stay or a B&B), located about 15 miles outside of Bolzano, the capitol of Südtirol. We arrived at midnight and if I had had wifi, this post would’ve been written on Thursday because I was just itching to write about our little adventure to get to the agriturismo itself, the first “hotel” we have stayed at in Italy I am excited to write about (in a good way).
The drive was fairly uneventful, just a bit of fog (actually a TON of fog) once we started getting into the mountains. We took the toll highway and even though it was somewhere along the lines of 45€ from Rome, it is totally worth it in my opinion. The road is absolutely pristine and it is a shorter distance, of course.
We had estimated that we would get there at about 11pm but we left the house a little later than we anticipated and the fog certainly didn’t help. So we called the owner of the agriturismo ahead of time to tell her we would be an hour late. She told us that she would leave the lights of our apartment on and the key at the door and we could let ourselves in and we would see her in the morning.
When we got off the highway, the little town in the mountains was a ghost town and, obviously, our GPS starts acting up. So the GPS sends us up the narrow roads of the mountains (a “street” barely wide enough for one car but is actually a two-way street). It is pitch black and I’m already starting to get worried because, A), we don’t know the area, B), the road is TINY and dangerous, and, C), I have seen the movie The Human Centipede and I definitely did not want to be the person stranded in the middle of nowhere.
So we continued going further and further up the mountain, the road progressively getting narrower, all the while trying to make jokes about the situation. One of the jokes involved this little street we spotted off the main road going into the (steep) dark abyss of the mountains.
We finally reach a little agriturismo (the area is full of them) which was not quite where the GPS said ours should be, but close enough. Plus, there was one window with the lights on, so we thought, what are the odds in this ghost town when every other house we had passed had all their lights turned off.
We parked and Jaime exited the car and went to make sure this was our place before we unloaded our things. Well, may the odds be ever in our favor, because when he returned, he said he saw people sleeping inside through the window. Oops!
We turned back from where we came and I was just about ready to give up and sleep in the car until morning, when we finally saw a sign with the name of our agriturismo. Anyone want to take a guess as to where the sign was pointing to?
Yep. The tiny little road we had joked about earlier.
Once again, may the odds be ever in our favor.
We took the little road, prayed that no one would be trying to exit as we were trying to enter, and kept chugging along, following the signs, and trying to ignore the signs that said “PERICOLO DI MORTE” (Danger of Death) and the statue of Jesus that strangely looked more like a skeleton to me. I SWEAR, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!
But we made it! Finally, we saw the little house we had seen online, with a sign that read Prackfolerhof and the little window with the lights on. Despite the fear and hardship to arrive (partly our fault since we decided to drive at night), this has been the best place we have stayed at in all of Italy. In Rome we have obviously not had any luck at all (as anyone that has read my previous posts know), and in Assisi, we stayed at an agriturismo which was not at all bad but nowhere knew the quality of this one.
What was so great about this place? Well for one thing, it was clean. Spotless, really. First time this has happened to me in Italy. I feared when we arrived that we would have to turn on all the heaters and wait like half a day to take a warm shower, but the little apartment (one bedroom, one bathroom, and a little kitchen with a dining table and a couch) had modern wall heater systems that were already up and running when we got there. And there was no switch to turn on the water heater, so just like in America, we had hot water all the time, no wait. Based on these characteristics, which are not at all luxurious (actually pretty basic), you can imagine how bad our previous places were in Rome.
I guess you can say that Italy makes you appreciate the little things in life.
You must think, wow, sure, super nice (for Italy standards) but also super expensive (as nice places tend to be in Italy). Wrong! The price was the best part of all. I won’t post it here, but you can check it out at this website, which we have been using lately to find agriturismos all over Italy and have yet to have a bad experience.
The next morning, we woke up to a little bag with fresh bread for breakfast at our door, Arya got to play around with the agriturismo’s puppy, and everything that had been so scary outside the night before was a lot less scary under the light of day.
Anyway, I highly recommend this agriturismo, Prackfolerhof, if you are looking to stay anywhere near Bolzano or in Südtirol. We had a great, relaxing weekend and are already planning to return next year!
For more information on Prockfolerhof, visit their website.
DISCLAIMER: I received no compensation in any form for the above statements. All my opinions are my own.