ItalianNotebook – Italy Travel Blog

San Candido, a hidden gem in the heart of the Dolomites

San Candido is a charming small town nestled in the Puster Valley, located in the Italian province of South Tyrol. This picturesque town is surrounded by the majestic Dolomite Mountains, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

San Candido, also known as Innichen in German, is a bilingual town where Italian and German are spoken interchangeably. This is because South Tyrol was part of Austria-Hungary until the end of World War I, when it was annexed by Italy. The region has a unique culture and identity that blends both Italian and Austrian traditions.

One of the highlights of San Candido is its beautiful historic center. The town has a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages, and its architecture reflects this heritage. The streets are lined with colorful buildings adorned with frescoes and ornate balconies. The centerpiece of the historic center is the beautiful baroque church of San Candido, which dates back to the 18th century.

But San Candido is not just a pretty face. The town is a hub for outdoor activities in both summer and winter. In the warmer months, visitors can hike, bike, climb, and even paraglide in the surrounding mountains. The nearby Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a particularly popular hiking destination, offering stunning views of the iconic peaks.

In the winter, San Candido becomes a winter wonderland, with plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. The town is part of the Dolomiti Superski, one of the largest ski areas in the world, with over 1,200 kilometers of slopes. The nearby Croda Rossa mountain is a popular ski resort, offering a range of slopes for all levels of skiers.

San Candido is also home to a number of cultural events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular is the Gustav Mahler Music Weeks, which takes place in July and August. This festival celebrates the life and work of the famous composer, who spent several summers in San Candido in the early 1900s.

If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to bring home, San Candido is known for its traditional crafts, particularly woodcarving. The town has a number of artisan workshops where you can see the craftsmen at work and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces.

But perhaps one of the most unique features of San Candido is its connection to the legendary Italian bandit, Reinhold Messner. Messner, who is widely considered one of the greatest mountaineers of all time, was born and raised in South Tyrol, and his exploits in the Dolomites are the stuff of legend.

Messner’s connection to San Candido is through his childhood home, which has been transformed into a museum dedicated to his life and achievements. The museum, which is located just outside of town, offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of this remarkable man.

In addition to the museum, San Candido has a number of other attractions that pay homage to Messner, including a sculpture of him in the town center and a trail that leads from the town to the nearby Monte Baranci, where Messner famously trained for his mountaineering expeditions.

In conclusion, San Candido is a hidden gem in the heart of the Dolomites. This charming town offers a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities that make it an ideal destination for travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a sports enthusiast, San Candido is sure to capture your heart and leave you with lasting memories.

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