40km (25 miles) N of Bolzano, 68km (42 miles) E of Merano

Tucked neatly in the Val d'Isarco between the Eisack and Rienz rivers, and surrounded by orchards and vineyards that climb the lower flanks of the surrounding peaks, Bressanone is a gem of a Tirolean town with a hefty past that today's quaint, small-town atmosphere belies. From 1027 to 1803, it was the center of a large ecclesiastical principality, and its bishop-princes ruled over much of the South Tirol. Their impressive monuments preside over the town's heavily gabled, pastel-colored houses and narrow cobblestone streets.