17 July 2023
Its quality of life – one of Italy’s highest – is reflected in its openness, youthful energy and an all-pervading greenness. A stage-set-pretty backdrop of grassy, rotund hills sets off rows of pastel-painted townhouses, while bicycles ply riverside paths and wooden market stalls are laid out with Alpine cheese, speck (cured ham) and dark, seeded loaves. German may be the first language of 95% of the region, but Bolzano is an anomaly. Today its Italian-speaking majority – a legacy of Mussolini’s brutal Italianisation program of the 1920s – looks both north and south for inspiration.