The botanic universe surrounding Empress Sissi's favorite retreat.
One of the things which the Austrian Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria affectionately known as Sissi most wanted was to be able to '"walk undisturbed by the clamor of the world"'', a wish fulfilled every time she visited Trauttmansdorff Castle, the magnificent noble residence which still dominates the city of Merano from the heights of its hillside position.
In 1994, in the place which Sissi loved because of its mild climate and immense natural beauty, a stunning Botanical Garden was created.
Thanks to the area's unique climatic conditions, this part of Alto Adige provides a habitat where plants originating from every corner of the world thrive.
In the Gardens of Castle Trauttmansdorff, eighty different garden landscapes are distributed over twelve hectares of land, divided into four large, thematic areas: the Forests of the World, the Sun Gardens, the Water and Terraced Gardens, and the Landscapes of South Tyrol
The terracing of the steeper grounds, covering a height differential of 100 meters, has allowed for optimum land use and resulted in the garden's natural amphitheater shape.
Whilst walking along the shady paths, visitors discover gardens created using the cultivating techniques present in the world's diverse geographical locations. Next to the Japanese Garden for example, there is a rice paddy and tea plantation.
A living botanical encyclopedia, the gardens have an important educational function and, at the same time, provide a unique resource for both professional gardeners and botanists.
The garden's interactive stations and eleven artist pavilions will entertain both young and old.
Top attractions include Matteo Thun's almost transparent viewing platform, the Adventure Bridge through the alluvial forest, the summer concerts organized by the Lily Pond, the multimedia show in the Grotto and Fern Glen, and the Olive Grove where thousands of sunflowers light up the sky.
The small Forbidden Garden is home to a collection of sculptures surrounded by poisonous plants!
In April, the arrival of spring is announced by the flowering of hundreds of thousands of tulips, followed by that of the rhododendrons which populate the Forests of the World.
In the summer, the gardens are tinged with the blue of the lavender bushes and the delicate pinks of the roses blooming in the Sense Garden, the English Garden and the Rose Garden.
The autumn sun colors the Japanese Garden with fiery ''reds and oranges and ripens the figs and olives in the Mediterranean garden'''.
At the same time, in the Landscapes of South Tirol, the grapes, apples and chestnuts are almost ready to be harvested.
A path for a Princess
As she strolled along the fine gravel paths which encircle the castle, Sissi might not have imagined such an impressive transformation of her favorite retreat, but the Empress and her love of the castle gardens have not been forgotten, so much so that the footpath which joins Trauttmansdorff with Merano, has been named after the princess.
Castle Trauttmansdorff Gardens
Via S.Valentin, 51a
Tel. +39 0473 235730