Merano’s Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle: A Truly Unique Project
A one-of-a-kind botanical garden located in Merano, Italy
A Brief Overview of Trauttmansdorff
South Tyrol's most popular attraction, situated in Merano, presents more than eighty garden landscapes (natural and cultivated landscapes) with plants from around the globe on a surface area of 12 hectares. The gardens – encircled by the snow-blanketed mountains of the Texel Group, which tower to elevations of 3,000 meters – are divided into four themed areas: Forests of the World features forests from the Americas and Asia in miniature. The Sun Gardens sweep visitors into Mediterranean landscapes. The Water and Terraced Gardens comprise formal garden areas with stairways and water features. Last but not least, Landscapes of South Tyrol grants insight into the original plant life of the region.
The strength of the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle lies in its unique combination of art and nature – its ten Artists Pavilions are a good example – as are its inclusion of thematically relevant animals and its juxtaposition of historical and contemporary architecture. In addition, there are multifaceted Experience Stations, a concert series specially designed for the gardens, and striking blooming highlights in flux throughout the course of the year. Then there is the castle, a former holiday residence of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, which houses the Touriseum, the first museum of tourism in the Alps. A final reason behind why Trauttmansdorff is such a success is its setting: nestled into a terraced amphitheater with an altitude differential of 100 meters, the gardens offer panoramic views of Merano and the surrounding mountains.
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle is a total sensory experience for both anyone who is young –or young at heart. It’s a place of recreation and a place to just hang out; it’s for laymen as well as for botanical experts. In recognition of this successful blend of nature and art, and for its innovative spirit, Trauttmansdorff was named Italy’s Most Beautiful Garden in 2005; just a year later, it earned the distinction of being voted Europe's No. 6 Garden.
A Garden for Everyone
This introduction to Trauttmansdorff tells the success story of a botanical garden and its transformation into a recreational attraction for a wide target group. Because of its location, the Italian province of South Tyrol, Trauttmansdorff serves a bridging function between the German-speaking and Italian-speaking areas, living and communicating in a multilingual way. Respect for the world of plants – ecological and sustainable plant care is a top priority – finds its equivalent in the peaceful coexistence of the garden visitors, who enjoy the gardens as a harmonious and conflict-free place where many different cultures come together.
At Trauttmansdorff, the main focus is our visitors. Good service is vital to us, from the reception area at the visitor center to our meticulous maintenance of the stroller- and wheelchair-friendly paths to the regional specialties served at Schlossgarten Restaurant and the Palm Café. In accordance with the theme Gardens in Motion, the look of the gardens changes every week; new garden areas and unique attractions are added every year.
As a result of special exhibitions, musical and culinary events – including balmy summer nights with world music at its very finest, sumptuous Sunday brunches called Breakfast at Sissi’s, Trauttmansdorff After Hours evenings featuring exotic garden cocktails – and specially themed guided tours, botany is always conveyed a multidimensional sensory experience here.
Trauttmansdorff also formulates new ways of communicating the gardens and offering an exceptional experience of South Tyrol within the framework of local, national and international partnerships; the gardens is itself a reflection of South Tyrol’s boundless variety and celebrated hospitality.
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff is part of South Tyrol's leading agricultural research facility: Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry; it was, in fact, built by Laimburg Estate Management. As a province-owned botanical garden, Trauttmansdorff is managed as a recreational attraction with a great deal of team spirit and in accordance with principles of modern corporate governance. The gardens opened in 2001 after seven years of construction; since 2002, entrances fees have covered operating costs and a portion of new investments. The gardens recorded almost 428,000 visitors in 2011 during the season, which lasts from 1 April to 15 November – so is only 7.5 months long. The average number of visitors was 1,867 per day. Trauttmansdorff has thus evolved into South Tyrol's No. 1 tourist attraction and a one-of-a-kind recreational facility.