November 2016

Close for the winter after a successful 2016 season - 16.11.16

Another record-breaking season for Sissi’s Gardens in Merano! 2016 saw 415,608 visitors from over 60 different countries - the second highest number of guests in the 15 years since the Gardens first opened. A great success that leaves us optimistic about the next season and we look forward to seeing you when we re-open on 1 April 2017.

It’s time to look at figures for the Gardens of Empress Sissi at Trauttmansdorff Castle, with the end of 2016 season that confirms the Gardens as South Tyrol’s number 1 tourist destination. Large visitor numbers made sure that 2016 recorded the second-highest number of visitors ever, in just a single, eight-month season (the record belongs to 2011, on occasion of the 10th anniversary).  

A truly astonishing number of visitors – 415,608 – came to visit the botanical gardens, which is almost 27,000 more than in 2015, for an extremely high daily average of 1,761. May was the most popular month, with 70,856 visitors, followed by August and November. 

Sissi’s Gardens are continuing to attract more and more visitors from all over the globe. Indeed, this year, thanks also to numerous high-profile events, including the concert and DJ set by Giorgio Moroder on 18th August to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Gardens’ opening, visitors arrived from 62 different countries. The highest numbers were from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also from more exotic nations, including Chile, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Out of all of the many popular events of this last season, the most outstanding has been the opening of our new themed section, the “Garden for Lovers”, an area covering 1,500 sq. m, with water features and the splendid fragrance of multi-coloured blooms concealing an oasis of peace and tranquillity, dedicated to the strongest, deepest feeling in the human soul: love. Many couples have exchanged promises of love in this garden and we like to think that this corner of South Tyrol will forever be the guardian and witness of this emotion!

Another great success with visitors was the documentary film “The Gardens – A Journey into Paradise”, screened in a small movie theatre especially created in the castle stores, where viewers could enjoy a multi-coloured journey through the different seasons. 

Other new events included the first “Introductory Guided Tour Day”, where, on 19th August, the expert staff of Sissi’s Gardens took visitors along the many different paths to enjoy the delightful views, answering their questions and providing them with information. The interactive family trails were a great success, as were the visits to see the dragonflies. Another popular event was the “1st Day for Equal Opportunities for Women”, an annual social and political event dedicated to women’s equality. 

The “Versoaln”, the world’s largest and most certainly oldest vine, which has been at Castel Katzenzungen in Prissiano for 360 years, and under the patronage of Castel Trauttmansdorff Gardens since 2006, has been extremely popular with the public. This European natural monument and cultural heritage for wine growing in South Tyrol, produced 495 kg of grapes in the last harvest, which will be used to make the 450 bottles of wine available for tasting as part of the tourist package, “Gardens & Wine”. 

In this period, the winter maintenance activities are already underway and the gardeners are working to make sure that everything is ready for Saturday 1st April, the opening day for the 2017 season!

The many new features will include an open-air exhibition of the international IGPOTY photographs entered for the “International Garden Photographer of the Year” competition. The best 50 photographs of parks and gardens all over the world will be on show, including entries by amateur photographs, all of which stand out for plant photography of the highest level.

More news: in 2017, the Touriseum will be hosting a temporary exhibition, “Head for the hills!” A special layout will be transforming the route through to the courtyard in Trauttmansdorff Castle into a mountain pass, with hairpin bends, ascents and panoramic points. Visitors will be able to experience the charm of the alpine passes, admiring curious items and signs that will take them up to the top of a hypothetical alpine pass, the metaphor for passage, borders but also for openness.