The mountainside village of Tramin will capture your heart with its vino-inspired vibe, age-old historic treasures and a festive spirit that’s as sweet as wine. Here’s how to visit this ancient beauty of South Tyrol’s Wine Road.
It is easy to visit South Tyrol and give all of your attention to the stony giants crowding the horizons. But strolling the cobbled village streets rivering its mountainsides can do as much to instill a sense of wonder as traversing any remote rocky trail.
Especially those along South Tyrol’s Wine Road, the oldest such road in Italy. Exploring these idyllic medieval hamlets rooted in the vine-riddled hills is like plugging into charging stations for the soul.
In this post, we uncover the romantic charms of Tramin (also referred to Tramin an der Weinstraße and Termeno), home to the most aromatic white wine in the world: Gewürztraminer. You’ll discover how to indulge in the village’s historic sights and its jubilant traditions.
Tramin (also known as Termeno) lies in the heart of the South Tyrolean Wine Road (Südtiroler Weinstrasse) just beyond the bright blue shimmer of Lake Caldaro. Whether coming from Bolzano to the north or Trento to the south, you can be in the village in less than 40 minutes.
As you approach, its old-world contours dawn beneath the sandy hues of the Mendola mountain ridgeline. Soon, Tramin’s towering parish church steeple welcomes you like a signpost noting: “Tranquility this Way ⇒”. Its Gothic character lines are unmistakable amid the lush Mediterranean foothills.
Once you arrive in the village, we recommend parking near the center to set out on foot. A free lot is located off Via Mindelheim, which places you right next to the official Tramin tourist office. It pays to stop in to pick up a map as well as discover any special markets and events taking place that may be of interest during your time in South Tyrol.
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Touring the Treasures of Tramin
Tramin has roots thousands of years deep. Archaeological findings indicate settlements in the area as early as the time of Ötzi the Iceman.
However, Tramin as a village did not come to be until the Middle Ages. This medieval history is inescapable. Narrow alleys, stone archways and windows bedecked in flowers seem to greet you at every turn — making its historic roads enchanting to wander all on their own.
In addition, set along the cobblestones of Tramin are two stellar South Tyrolean wine estates that you should fit into your day. Elena Walch and J. Hofstätter offer exceptional wines that you can enjoy in their tasting rooms or while dining at their restaurants located onsite.
But before letting wine slow your pace, it’s perhaps better to see Tramin’s three main religious treasures first. These sites are priceless in their historical significance to South Tyrol.
Parish Church of St. Quirikus and Julitta
Not far from the heart of Tramin is the magnificent Parish Church of St. Quirikus and Julitta, the towering symbol of the village. Founded in 850 AD, the church transports you to another time with intricate craftsmanship that has long since been discarded in our hurried age.
The addition of its iconic Gothic stone steeple occurred in 1492. At a height of 282 feet, it is the tallest tower of its kind in South Tyrol.
Inside, you can admire Gothic frescoes depicting the martyrdom of the church’s patron saints as well as ornate altarpieces dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Joseph, St. Jacob and St. Sebastion.
The Church of St. Jakob
A bit further up the mountainside on a hilltop called Kastelaz resides another treasure of Tramin: the quaint Church of St. Jakob. A steep path from the village carries you to the church where you can admire some of the most impressive and unique medieval artwork in South Tyrol.
The St. Jakob Church was first mentioned in 1214. The church’s Romanesque frescoes from the 1200s are remarkably well-preserved and among the oldest in Germanic Europe. The vivid depictions are utterly fantastical in form.
Decorating its sacred walls are nightmarish figures of skinwalkers, shapeshifters and various beasts of ancient lore. In addition, biblical characters such as the twelve apostles, Cain and Abel and a large Gothic fresco of fallen Goliath meeting his end at the hands of diminutive David grace the stone. There is simply no other church like it.
Outside the church, be sure to soak in the sweeping views of Tramin and Lake Caldaro. From up here, it’s easy to see why the Ancient Romans also chose this lofty location as a place of worship. According to legend, a temple to the goddess Isis once stood where the church is today.
The St. Valentin Church and Cemetery
On the southern end of Tramin directly off the South Tyrolean Wine Road stands the St. Valentin Church and cemetery. First documented in 1276, this small church requires obtaining keys from the tourist office to enter. However, if you cannot obtain them for whatever reason you can peer through windows to see its interior.
Adorning its walls are colorful frescoes in Venetian style from the late 1300s and early 1400s. Among them are a captivating Passion of the Christ and the retelling of the Legend of St. Ursula, the patron saint of educating young girls. She was sadly murdered with an arrow in 383 AD.
Even if you do not tour the church, walking the St. Valentin cemetery rewards with stunning sights unfurled between stately cypress trees and sun-drenched palms.
If you plan to visit the St. Valentin Church, consider driving to it either before or after you have explored Tramin’s village center. You can reach the church in a matter of minutes by car versus embarking on a somewhat lengthy trek on foot.
Reveling in Tradition
If you can time your visit to Tramin during one of its many annual events, you will be immersed in a thrilling cultural experience. These lively celebrations may even leave you feeling more festive than polishing off a bottle of its wines.
Wine lovers will definitely find revelry swirling about during the annual Tramin Wine Lane. This fall celebration occurs on a Saturday in late October beginning in the early afternoon until midnight.
The festival takes place in the alleys of Tramin allowing you to sample a variety of locally produced wines while nibbling on roasted chestnuts and other seasonal delights. As you wander the alleys, you’ll encounter local groups performing traditional Tyrolean music and dance.
Not to be missed is the traditional Schuhplattler Group of Tramin. These energetic group of men clad in festive lederhosen stomp, clap and slap their way through the Wine Lane. It’s a raucous display of camaraderie that will leave you with a bigger grin than the wine you consumed.
If you have never watched such performances, enjoying them in the old-world atmosphere of Tramin is especially fascinating. The spirit of the event is infectious and will no doubt create a lasting fond memory of your time in South Tyrol. For more information on the Tramin Wine Lane, check out the event’s official page.
Every other year during February is another unique event of Tramin known as the Egetmann Parade. This Carnival celebration occurs on Fat Tuesday and attracts thousands of spectators.
The parade has a long history in Tramin with records indicating it occurred as far back as 1591. We have yet to participate in this notorious raucous custom but have heard it can be loud and brash with a good measure of harmless naughtiness flung from the floats. Certainly, a rousing tradition not to be missed if you are in South Tyrol in February.
Besides these events, Tramin regularly hosts a number of fun cultural gatherings from culinary festivals to concerts and more. To see a list of current happenings while planning your visit, scroll through Tramin’s event page.
Where to Stay in Tramin
Beyond the sights and activities we covered above, Tramin is a biker’s paradise offering pedaling adventures through truly epic Mediterranean scenery crowned with Alpine vistas. With Mt. Roen looming over Tramin, hikers and bikers have plenty of elevation to explore as well.
Such an abundance of South Tyrolean goodness all in one area makes Tramin a great town to stay in. The uber-modern Hotel Traminerhof is conveniently located within walking distance of the village’s heart. Not only does the hotel allow easy access to all of Tramin’s charms, but it also caters to bikers with guided tours and provides all the amenities to immerse yourself in the benefits of Alpine wellness.
If you’re looking for a dash of romance, consider staying along the South Tyrolean Wine Road at a boutique winery. Donà Winery (Weingut Donà in German), is a lovely family-owned estate placing you the in middle of vineyards tumbling beneath one of South Tyrol’s most spectacular castle ruins. The winery’s location is ideal for visiting Tramin and other sights along the South Tyrolean Wine Road.
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