The Tappeiner Walk, “splendor of a blessed land”
“Isn’t it one of the most beautiful roads in the world?”, asks one of the characters in “Beneath Another Sun” – by Czech writer Ernst Lothar (1890-1974) – along the Tappeiner Walk, near Merano.
The 6-kilometer-long walkway was built between 1893 and 1911 thanks to the generosity of an Austrian doctor and botanist, who worked in Merano: Franz Tappeiner funded the works so his patients could have a wonderful walk in the luxuriant vegetation of South Tyrol.
As Lothar goes on to describe, “The road unravels uphill, between vines and rows of apple trees that yield the renowned Calvillas, which ripen on the backs of terraced fields, large, oval, pale yellow, indented at the two ends… now, under the sun, they diffuse a hint of their wonderful aroma, reminiscent of wine, flowers, and unparalleled sweet freshness.”
“Walking up you can admire the flourishing vineyards on the slopes of the Küchelberg, and grapes are ripening too, with heavy, compact bunches turning blue. The walk goes on between grapevines and apple trees, and soon the two men are high up enough to dominate the southern part of the city, with its marble statue of Sissi…”
“You can even see the Passirio with its wavy and crystalline waters, and the residence of the counts of Tyrol, during the five centuries when they governed the Burgraviate. At that point, the road turns and brings into view the northern side of the Küchelberg, with the imposing ruins of the Tyrol Castle, cradle of the first counts of Tyrol almost one thousand years ago… You simply cannot avoid this view of a great past, witnessed by glorious remains, stones and monuments, as well as by the splendor of a blessed land, as fertile and harmonious as an eternal symphony. It is a deeply touching view, whether you want it or not.”