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"Bozen" redirects here. For other uses, see Bozen (disambiguation).
For the mathematician, see Bernard Bolzano. For other uses, see Bolzano (disambiguation). For the province, see South Tyrol.
Città di Bolzano
Stadt(gemeinde) Bozen
Panorama of Bolzano
Panorama of Bolzano
Coat of arms of Bolzano
Coat of arms
Bolzano is located in Italy
Location of Bolzano in Italy
Coordinates: 46°30′N 11°21′E / 46.500°N 11.350°E / 46.500; 11.350Coordinates: 46°30′N 11°21′E / 46.500°N 11.350°E / 46.500; 11.350
Country Italy
Region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Province South Tyrol (BZ)
 • Mayor Luigi Spagnolli (PD)
 • Total 52.34 km2 (20.21 sq mi)
Elevation 262 m (860 ft)
Population (December 2010)
 • Total 104,011
 • Density 2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)
Demonym Italian: bolzanini
German: Bozner
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 39100
Dialing code 0471
Website Official website

Bolzano About this sound listen  (German: Bozen; Ladin: Balsan or Bulsan; Latin: Bauzanum) is the capital city of the province of South Tyrol in northern Italy.

Bolzano is the seat of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, where lectures and seminars are held in English, German, and Italian. The city is also home to the Italian Army's Alpini High Command (COMALP) and some of its combat and support units.[1] It is one of five mainly Italian-speaking municipalities in South Tyrol.

In a 2010 quality-of-life survey by the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Bolzano was ranked number one on a list of 107 Italian cities.[2] In the 2011 edition of the survey, Bolzano was ranked number two, after top-ranked Bologna.[3] In the 2012 edition, Bolzano once again occupied the top spot, being ranked the city with the best quality of life in Italy.[4]

Together with other Alpine towns Bolzano engages in the Alpine Town of the Year Association for the implementation of the Alpine Convention to achieve sustainable development in the Alpine Arc. Bolzano was awarded Alpine Town of the Year 2009.


Bolzano in 1898.

It was inhabited by the Raetian Isarci people and the Romans built a settlement there after the area was conquered in 15 BC by general Nero Claudius Drusus, after whom the military settlement Pons Drusi ("Drusus Bridge") was named. With the end of the Roman empire a Bavarian immigration began and the first mention of a Bavarian count as ruler of Bolzano dates from 679.[5] The nearby village was called Bauzanum or Bauzana.[6] The area has been settled by German populations since then. After the foundation of a market town, displayed along the Lauben-thoroughfare, in the later 12th century by the bishops of Trent, Bolzano became an important trading point owing to its location on the transalpine Brenner route, between the two major cities of Venice and Augsburg.[7] After Tirol fell into the hands of the Habsburgers (1363) the counts' power grew at the expense of that of the bishops. In 1381 Duke Leopold granted to the citizens the privilege of having a town council, while in 1462 the bishops resigned all rights of jurisdiction over the town to the Habsburgers.[8]

From the 14th and 15th centuries onwards four times a year a market was held and traders came from the south and the north. The mercantile magistrate was therefore founded in 1635 by the Austrian duchess Claudia de' Medici. Every market season two Italic and two Germanic officers (appointed from the traders who operated there) worked in this office. The city was a cultural crosspoint at that time and still is to this day.[9]

Bolzano in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I.

Before World War I, Bolzano was part of the Austro-Hungarian county of Tyrol. It was annexed by Italy at the end of World War I and on 1 January 1927 became a provincial capital. At the time of its annexation, Bolzano was primarily a German-speaking city. In 1910, 29,000 inhabitants were German-speaking and only 1,300 Italian-speaking.[10] In the 1920s, along with the rest of the province, the city was subjected to an intensive Italianization programme under orders from Benito Mussolini. The aim was to outnumber the local German-speaking population by tripling the population with Italian-speaking immigrants drawn from the old provinces,[10] and to transfer as many of the German-speaking population as possible to the Third Reich via the Option Agreement of 1939–40.[11]

During World War II, Bolzano was the site of the Nazi Bolzano Transit Camp, a concentration camp for Jews and political prisoners.[12]

After liberation from Fascism and Nazism and due to the Paris Treaty of 1946, Bolzano has become the capital of the autonomous South Tyrol province, whose federalism has been further improved in 1972.


Linguistic distribution[edit]

According to the 2011 census, 73.80% of the city's inhabitants speak Italian, 25.52% German and 0.68% Ladin as their first language.[13]

Language 2001[14] 2011[13]
Italian 73.00% 73.80%
German 26.29% 25.52%
Ladin 0.71% 0.68%


The city thrives on a mix of old and new high-quality intensive agriculture (including wine, fruit, and dairy products), tourism, traditional handicraft (wood, ceramics), and advanced services. Heavy industry (machinery, automotive, and steel) installed during the 1930s has now been mostly dismantled. On the downside, the local economy is very dependent on the public sector and especially the provincial government.

Bolzano is the biggest city in South Tyrol, which is an autonomous province in Northern Italy with a special statute. This statute preserves the rights of the German-speaking minority in Italy. This unique system has been admired by the Dalai Lama, who visited the city on several occasions to study a possible application in Chinese-occupied Tibet.[15] It has also been presented as role model for the successful and fair resolution of inter-ethnic conflict to other regions of the world.[16]


Being located at multiple climate borders, Bolzano features a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with hot summers and very cool winters. According to the Trewartha classification, this climate could not be really considered like a subtropical climate because of less than 8 months are at least 10 °C (50 °F), and thus would be considered like a semi-continental climate with hot summers. Some of its suburbs feature an oceanic climate (Cfb) due to some cooler summer temperatures, while mountains in the area may feature a continental climate (Dfb).

Climate data for Bolzano
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.3
Average low °C (°F) −5.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 25.6
Avg. rainy days 4.1 4.1 5.5 7.1 9.5 8.6 9.2 8.6 6.4 5.4 5.9 3.9 78.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 102.3 120.4 148.8 159.0 176.7 201.0 232.5 213.9 180.0 151.9 102.0 96.1 1,884.6
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[17]

Main sights[edit]

Bolzano Cathedral.

Its medival city centre, Gothic and Romanesque churches and bilingual signage give it the flavour of a city at the crossroads of Italian and Austrian cultures. This and its natural and cultural attractions make it a popular tourist destination.

Among the major monuments and sights are:

For more historical and geographical information see South Tyrol.

City districts and neighbouring communities[edit]

Location of Bolzano.
Aerial view of Bolzano.

City districts:

  • Centro-Piani-Rencio (German: Zentrum-Bozner Boden-Rentsch)
  • Don Bosco (German: Don Bosco-Neugries)
  • Europa-Novacella (German: Europa-Neustift)
  • Gries-San Quirino (German: Gries-Quirein)
  • Oltrisarco-Aslago (German: Oberau-Haslach)

Neighbouring communities are: Eppan, Karneid, Laives, Deutschnofen, Ritten, Jenesien, Terlan and Vadena.


Bolzano is connected to the motorway network A22-E45[19] to Trento and Verona and to Innsbruck (Austria) and Munich (Germany).

The city is also connected to the Italian railway system. Bolzano railway station, opened in 1859, forms part of the Brenner railway (Verona–Innsbruck), which is part of the main railway route between Italy and Germany. The station is also a junction of two branch lines, to Merano and Mals.

There is a 50-kilometer network of cycle paths and about 30% of journeys in Bolzano are made by bicycle.[20]

There is a regular connection between Bolzano Airport (IATA: BZO) and Rome.


The town is host to an annual road running competition – the BOclassic – which features an elite men's 10K and women's 5K races. The event, first held in 1975, takes place on New Year's Eve and is broadcast live on television by Rai Sport Più.[21][22]

Bolzano is also the host city to the Giro delle Dolomiti annual road bike event.

Local teams[edit]

Ice hockey
American Football
  • Giants Bolzano The Giants plays in IFL (Italian Football League), the first league of the FIDAF
Softball and Baseball
  • Softball Club Dolomiti
  • Pool 77
  • Adler
  • SSV Bozen plays in the FBL (Austrian Fistball League), the first Austrian league.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Bolzano is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Le unità di supporto del Comando Truppe Alpine (Italian)
  2. ^ "Qualità della vita 2010". Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Qualità della vita 2011". Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Qualità della vita 2012". Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  5. ^ As reported by Paulus Diaconus in his Historia Langobardorum, V 36, ed. Georg Waitz, MGH Scriptores rerum Langobardicarum, Hannover 1878, p. 35: comes Baioariorum quem illi gravionem dicunt.
  6. ^ Richard Heuberger (1930). "Natio Noricorum et Pregnariorum". Veröffentlichungen des Museum Ferdinandeum in Innsbruck, No. 10, p. 7.
  7. ^ Hannes Obermair (2007). "‘Bastard Urbanism’? Past Forms of Cities in the Alpine Area of Tyrol-Trentino". Concilium medii aevi, 10, pp. 53-76, esp. p. 64-66.
  8. ^ Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCoolidge, William (1911). "Botzen". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 311. 
  9. ^ Ferdinand Troyer (1648). Bozner Chronik. Bozen.
  10. ^ a b City of Bolzano publication (Italian)
  11. ^ Claudio Corradetti (2013). "Transitional Justice and the Idea of ‘Autonomy Patriotism’ in South Tyrol." “Un mondo senza stati è un mondo senza guerre”. Politisch motivierte Gewalt im regionalen Kontext, ed. by Georg Grote, Hannes Obermair and Günther Rautz (EURAC book 60), Bozen–Bolzano, ISBN 978-88-88906-82-9, pp. 17–32, esp. p. 21.
  12. ^ Juliane Wetzel (1994). "Das Polizeidurchgangslager Bozen". Die vergessenen Lager, ed. by Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel (Dachauer Hefte, 5), Munich.
  13. ^ a b "Volkszählung 2011/Censimento della popolazione 2011". astat info (Provincial Statistics Institute of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol) (38): 6–7. June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  14. ^ Oscar Benvenuto (ed.): "South Tyrol in Figures 2008", Provincial Statistics Institute of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Bozen/Bolzano 2007, p. 16, table 10
  15. ^ "Dalai Lama erhielt Südtiroler Minderheitenpreis". STOL. Retrieved 15 January 2014.  (German)
  16. ^ Antony Alcock. The South Tyrol Autonomy. County Londonderry, Bozen/Bolzano, May 2001, p. 22
  17. ^ "Climatological Normals of Bolzano". Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. 
  18. ^ BZ '18–'45. One monument, one city, two dictatorships
  19. ^ Autostrada del Brennero SpA Brennerautobahn AG. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  20. ^ Bolzano città della bicicletta (Bolzano as a cyclist's town)
  21. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (2010-01-01). Three-peat for Soi in Bolzano. IAAF. Retrieved on 20 May 2010.
  22. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (2008-12-31). Soi and Kibet at the double? Boclassic preview. IAAF. Retrieved on 20 May 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bolzano at Wikimedia Commons