The Tyrolean Alpine Frontier: from Trieste & the Dolomites to Innsbruck 2021

Status: open

15 Sep – 1 Oct 2021


The Tyrolean Alpine Frontier: from Trieste & the Dolomites to Innsbruck 2021
Tour Highlights

Travel with Dr Gregoria Manzin on this fascinating journey through the Tyrol, a region divided by a modern border in 1919, with South Tyrol given to Italy and the North Tyrol to Austria.

  • Trace the history of this beautiful, mountainous region. Long fought over by European powers, this is a unique region where local traditions, cuisine and language have prevailed.
  • Come face-to-face with ‘Ötzi the Iceman’, a prehistoric man who was naturally mummified in the icy conditions of the mountains. Discovered in 1995 on the Similaun Glacier, his body, clothing and artefacts have provided a wealth of information about the Copper Age, even after 5300 years!
  • Wander the ancient Roman streets of UNESCO World Heritage Listed Aquileia, and visit the Early Christian basilica with its beautiful and fascinating floor mosaics.
  • Towering over the Tyrolean valleys are magnificent medieval castles, many with well-preserved wall paintings and furnishings, testament to the centuries of power struggles to control the territory. We explore some of the best examples, including Hocheppan, Tirolo, Buonconsilio and Roncolo.
  • The region formed part of the Habsburg empire. Follow their influence on the landscape and culture from Trieste to Innsbruck, illustrated through fortified castles, grand palaces and gardens, and important art collections. The tour culminates with a visit to the Tyrolean State Museum (the ‘Ferdinandeum’) that houses works by Cranach, Rembrandt and Brueghel.
  • Learn about the important place this region played during the First World War as the Alpine Front, where fierce battles were fought between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies. Visit the Museo dell’Aperzo in Lagazuoi to walk in their footsteps.
  • This prosperous region continues to evolve and embrace new elements. We visit MART (Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto), where we find an excellent collection of modern art, housed in a new museum designed by architect Mario Botta. We also visit the Science Museum in Trento (MUSE), designed by Renzo Piano.
  • Journey through the spectacular scenery of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with beautiful lush mountain meadows, towering peaks and gleaming lakes. Stand ‘on top of the world’ and enjoy the panoramic view from the Messner Mountain Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid.
  • Indulge in the delicious cuisine and fine wines of the Dolomites and the Tyrol. From tiny cafes to grand restaurants, a feast of traditional and contemporary fare awaits!

17-day Cultural Tour from Trieste to Innsbruck

Overnight Udine (3 nights) • San Candido (2 nights) • Merano (2 nights) • Trento (2 nights) • Bolzano (3 nights) • Innsbruck (4 nights).



The detailed itinerary provides an outline of the proposed daily program. Participants should note that the daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight schedules etc. The tour includes breakfast daily, and lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch, and D=dinner.

Udine - 3 nights

Day 1: Wednesday 15 September, Arrive Venice – Transfer to Udine
  • Orientation Walk (if time permits)
  • Welcome Meeting

Group members taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight will arrive at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport in the early afternoon. After clearing passport control and customs, we drive to the city of Udine. If you are not taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight, please meet the group at Marco Polo Airport or make your own way to Astoria Hotel Italia, Piazza XX Settembre, Udine.

Udine, capital of Friuli Venezia Giulia, is a delightful small city with deep historic roots; its locale was settled as early as the Neolithic. In the 16th century it came under the sway of Venice, which controlled the city for 400 years. In the 19th century it became a Habsburg possession. Much of its architecture is Venetian, including work by Andrea Palladio, and while café culture is definitely Viennese.

After check-in at our hotel and time to freshen up, there will be a short orientation meeting and walk, taking in the Loggia del Lionello and Udine’s oldest piazza, Piazza della Libertà. The Loggia del Lionello has beautiful pink banding reminiscent of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. The evening will be at leisure; restaurants in the vicinity will be pointed out to you. (Overnight Udine)

Day 2: Thursday 16 September, Udine – Aquileia – Cordovado – Udine
  • Aquileia: ancient port, archaeological site and basilica
  • Welcome lunch at Castello delle Rose di Cordovado and tour of castle

This morning we drive to the important archaeological site of Aquileia. We shall visit its port, forum, and basilicas. Aquileia began as a strategic Roman fortress but soon developed into a thriving riverine port and ultimately, in late antiquity, into a very important ecclesiastical centre with its own patriarch. The city’s great treasure is within the two Early Christian basilicas that stand side-by-side. Here we see some of the finest floor mosaics in Europe. They are predominantly of secular scenes, echoing mosaics made by an important local school of mosaicists for the houses of the elite.

We next drive north to one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, Cordovado, to visit Castello delle Rose di Cordovado. Here we enjoy a welcome lunch at the castle, and meet its owner Bendetta Piccolomini, who will show us her spectacular garden. Benedetta is a garden designer with a particular interest for biodynamic methods, healing gardens and naturalistic gardening. She has been restoring historical gardens in the Veneto and Friuli for many years, and is now concentrating on the maintenance and development of the garden of the Cordovado Castle, dating back to 1700. She has recently planted 3,000 Rosa Damascena from cuttings for her new project, which she will talk to us about and walk us through. After thoroughly exploring the castle’s garden, we shall return to Udine where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Udine) BL

Day 3: Friday 17 September, Udine – Trieste – Udine
  • Trieste walking tour: Roman Theatre, Borgo Teresiano, Colle di San Giusti and Duomo
  • Castello di Miramare
  • Church of San Francesco, Udine

Today we spend a full day in the beautiful Adriatic city of Trieste, a little over an hour from Udine. Today it is a border city, with a population of Italians, Slovenians and Croats that reflects its geographical location and chequered history. Excavation of a Roman theatre in the 20th century showed that it prospered in antiquity until eclipsed by Aquileia. It then declined somewhat, becoming a Byzantine military outpost and then a Frankish city, a free commune which warred against Venice, and then a dependent of the Habsburg Empire. It revived during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which it became a major port. With the collapse of the Austrian Empire at the end of World War I, Trieste came to be annexed by Italy.

The core of the old city is the Colle San Giusto that overlooks the port. Here we shall see the main civic, defensive and religious buildings of the city. One of the main monuments on the hill, which constitutes an important symbol of the city, is its castle (1470-1630). The nearby cathedral of San Giusto, which also occupies Colle San Giusto, dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, and includes a beautiful sandstone façade, a bell tower, important Byzantine mosaics adorning the interior, and a 13th-century chapel behind a rich Baroque rail. We also visit Trieste’s Borgo Teresiano, the 19th-century precinct comprising beautiful Neoclassical and Art Nouveau (Secession) buildings constructed when Trieste was an important Austrian port and resort.

After lunchtime at leisure in the city we visit Castello Miramare, which occupies an extraordinary site perched atop a spur above the sea. It was the home to the younger brother of Franz Joseph I of Austria, Maximilian, until he left to become the Emperor of Mexico. The next resident, Duke Amedeo of Savoy, made it the headquarters for his various military commands. In 1955, it was transformed into a museum. The castle still has original furniture commissioned by Maximilian. There is a chapel, the Japanese and Chinese rooms, rich in oriental ornament, and the apartments where the Duke of Savoy lived.

On our return to Udine we visit the historic church of San Francesco, now an exhibition space, with fragments of 14th century frescoes. (Overnight Udine) B

San Candido (Innichen) - 2 nights

Day 4: Saturday 18 September, Udine – Parco Nazionale Tre Cime – San Candido
  • Galleria d’Arte Antica
  • Museo Diocescano e Gallerie del Tiepolo, Udine
  • Parco Nazionale Tre Cime (UNESCO-listed Dolomites)

We spend the morning in Udine . We visit the Diocesan Museum and the Tiepolo Gallery.  Its cathedral and Diocesan Museum have fine works by Tiepolo and a beautiful library. We then walk up to the castello, home to several civic museums. Our focus is the Galleria d’Arte Antica which primarily houses works by local and Venetian artists from the late 14th to early 19th centuries. Amongst its greatest treasures is Caravaggio’s Ecstasy of Saint Francis (1594 – 5).

After lunchtime at leisure, we drive north through the Parco Nazionale Tre Cime. The park, which, covers an area of 11,615 hectares, is located in the north-eastern sector of the UNESCO-listed Dolomites. Its importance rests on its many famous mountain peaks, especially the north face of the three, great battlement-like peaks, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2,000 m). Our destination today is the alpine village of San Candido, and after check-in, we dine together at our charming hotel. (Overnight San Candido) BD

Day 5: Sunday 19 September, San Candido – Corones – Dobbiacho – San Candido
  • Zaha Hadid’s Messner Mountain Museum (MMM), Corones
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Leisurely walk around Lake Toblach

Today we mix fine mountain scenery with one of the world’s most extraordinary museums. We drive west to Corones where we take a cable car to the Messner Mountain Museum, a subterranean museum built on the summit of the Kronplatz plateau (2,275 metres). The museum, was designed by one of the world’s greatest contemporary architects, Zaha Hadid. It is one of a number of museums conceived by the mountaineer, explorer and author Reinhold Meisner. The Museum is dedicated to the history of culture and climbing in the Tyrol.

Today we enjoy lunch together at one of the splendid local restaurants in the area of Dobbiaco, that specialises in locally grown produce presented with a contemporary flare.

After lunch, we take a leisurely walk around Lake Tolbach (3 km), one of the Dolomites’ most beautiful lakes. Its banks have diverse vegetation and it is an ideal nesting and resting place for waterfowl and migratory birds. Hopefully, we shall be able to observe rare species of birds that are only occasionally found in South Tyrol. The evening will be at leisure in San Candido. (Overnight San Candido) BL

Merano - 2 nights

Day 6: Monday 20 September, San Candido – Lagazuoi – Great Dolomites Road – Merano
  • Museo all’Aperto, Lagazuoi
  • The Great Dolomites Road

Today we drive west along the Great Dolomites Road (Italian: Grande Strada delle Dolomiti) to Merano. Our first stop is the extraordinary Lagazuoi Open-air Museum, which we approach by cable car from the top of the Falzarego Pass. Mount Lagazuoi is a veritable ‘rock castle’ with natural spires and turrets, and with military bases hidden in its bowels. During World War I the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies dug shelters inside the mountain for men and arms, transforming it into an impenetrable 20th-century fortress. Its extraordinary trenches and machine gun posts have been restored, allowing visitors a glimpse of an utterly unique, dramatic campaign, fought at high altitude. We shall visit the Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti exhibition space and walk the easy, large and well signposted path that follows the front line between the Italian and the Austrian soldiers.

After exploring the museum and with time at leisure to buy lunch at the museum café, we continue along the Great Dolomites Road to Lake Karersee where we make a short stop to enjoy the extraordinary panorama; the small lake is framed by the Latemer mountain range. On arrival in Merano the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Merano) B

Day 7: Tuesday 21 September, Merano
  • Castel Tirolo
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Afternoon at leisure

We spend the morning exploring Castel Tirolo and its interesting museum. This castle, perched high on a huge moraine above Merano, was the seat of the original Lords of Tyrol and gave its name to the whole region. The castle’s walls (c.1100 & 1140) are some of the oldest and best preserved in Europe. Also preserved are the castle’s original impressive portals and its chapel. The latter has many Gothic frescoes and the oldest glass paintings in the Tyrol region, as well as a huge Crucifixion Group. Above the entrance to the chapel is the earliest portrayal of a Tyrolean Eagle (13th century). Following major restoration in the 20th century, the complex has housed the South Tyrolean Cultural History Museum. It portrays the history of Tyrol down to the present. We shall enjoy lunch at one of the fine local restaurants before returning to Merano. (Overnight Merano) BL

Trento - 2 nights

Day 8: Wednesday 22 September, Merano – Naturno – Merano – Kastelaz – Trento
  • The Proculus Museum and St Proculus Church in Naturno
  • Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens
  • St James Church, Kastelaz

This morning we drive to Naturno to visit its very ancient church. This beautiful little church was established between 630 and 650 and was dedicated to Saint Proculus, a bishop of Veronathe  who survived Diocletian’s persecution. In the following centuries, the church was restored and enlarged several times. St Proculus has what are arguably the most ancient frescoes of the Germanic lands and the most complete early fresco cycle in the Tyrol. The most famous fresco shows a man on a swing, probably St Proculus himself. Very unusual for a sacred building, however, is the representation of a dog with a herd of cows. The church also has some 14th century Gothic frescoes.

Close by, we shall visit the Proculus Museum. This semi-subterranean museum explores 1,500 years of history of the area around Naturno, from late antiquity, Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. The museum also displays Gothic frescoes removed from St Proculus Church.

We then visit Trautmansdorff Castle and its magnificent botanical gardens overlooking Merano. Trauttmansdorff Castle, the architectural centre piece of the gardens, was first documented in 1300 as Neuberg Castle. Its medieval walls are still visible on the southwest side, and the crypt dates from that period. The castle’s botanical garden nestles in a 12-hectare amphitheatre 100 metres in height, offering spectacular views of these exotic gardens and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and of Merano. Colourful plants from around the world thrive and bloom in more than 80 garden landscapes.

We next drive south to the town of Kastelez to visit St James Church to enjoy its magnificent medieval frescoes. Around 1220 the chapel, which dominates the landscape around Termeno, was decorated with a Romanesque fresco cycle depicting imaginative hybrid creatures combining elements of humans and animals, including creatures with dog heads, parts of birdmen and fishmen in combat and centaurs from Greek mythology. These represent sin, in contrast to the magnificent depiction of the 12 Apostles and Christ in Majesty on the wall above them.

We continue to the city of Trento where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Trento) B

Day 9: Thursday 23 September, Trento – Rovereto – Trento
  • Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART), Rovereto
  • Castello dei Buonconsiglio, Trento
  • Cattedrale di San Vigilio, Trento

This morning we visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, that is located in the small town of Rovereto. This extraordinary building, designed by one of Italy’s most important contemporary architects, Mario Botta, centres on a great circular chamber that evokes Rome’s ancient Pantheon. The museum has a huge collection of modern art, including works by major Italian modernists like Giorgio de Chirico.

After thoroughly exploring the museum and its collection we shall drive back to Trento, where lunchtime will be at leisure. This afternoon we visit the Castello del Buonconsiglio which served as the bishops’ palace until 1803. This grand complex comprises three parts: the Castelvecchio founded in the 13th century and modified in later centuries, the grand 16th-century Renaissance Magno Palazzo, and the Giunta Albertina (1686). Since 1992, the palace has housed the Provincial Art Gallery. The complex has a number of very important painted decorations. The so-called Torre Aquila (‘Eagle Tower’) has one of the most important examples of International Gothic art in Europe, the 15th-century Cycle of the Months by a Bohemian artist. The cycle accurately portrays the landscape, economic activity, social life and fashions of medieval Trento. The walls of the late 16th-century Torre del Falco are decorated with frescoes of hunting scenes, and a rare example of German landscape painting in northern Italy. The decoration of the Palazzo Magno includes works by Dosso and Battista Dossi in the Sala Grande, Sala degli Specchi, the Camera del Camin Nero, the Stua della Farnea (refectory), the Library and other rooms. Girolamo Romanino frescoed the loggia in the Lions’ Court (Cortile dei Leoni) with mythological and biblical and ancient Roman scenes as well as scenes from daily life.

We end the day with a visit to the Lombard-Romanesque cathedral dedicated to San Vigilio, Trento’s patron saint. On the facade of the north transept, over the bay, we can meditate in front the allegory of the Wheel of Fortune that determines man’s destiny. (Overnight Trento) B

Bolzano - 3 nights

Day 10: Friday 24 September, Trento – Bolzano
  • Museo scienze naturali Alto Adige (MUSE) designed by Renzo Piano
  • Walking tour of Bolzano including the church of San Giovanni in Villa (subject to special permission) and cathedral

This morning we visit MUSE – the Science Museum. Opened in 2013 in the former industrial zone, this museum, the forms of which mimic those of the surrounding mountains, was designed by Renzo Piano. The innovative architectural layout allows for dynamic and contemporary display, focusing on the natural history of the Dolomites.

In the afternoon we travel north to Bolzano, the capital of Alto Adige, which is nestled in a conch-shaped valley surrounded by vineyards and orchards. We begin with a walking tour of Bolzano – the city in which German-Austrian and Italian cultures meet. Situated on the strategic meeting point of two important trade routes, the ancient Via Claudia Augusta and the Brenner route over Brenner Pass, it has since antiquity been an important frontier trading city. We shall visit Bolzano’s Cathedral of The Assumption of Our Lady, a perfect example of the rich confluence of German-Austrian and Italian forms. The Romanesque cathedral of 1180 was transformed in the 14th century into a fine Gothic church. Its extraordinary High Gothic tower is a masterpiece of intricate stonework. The cathedral interior has important medieval frescoes and sculptures, as well as a magnificent Baroque high altar and 16th-century pulpit. Our walk will also visit the lovely small church of San Giovanni in Villa. This small late Romanesque church was, like Castel Roncolo, decorated with fine 14th-century frescoes. Its barrel vault is dominated by a huge Christ Enthroned and its walls covered with narratives showing the influence of Giotto and the Italian Trecento.(Overnight Bolzano) B

Day 11: Saturday 25 September, Bolzano
  • Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige (South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology)
  • Castel Roncolo (Schloss Runkelstein)
  • Afternoon at Leisure

This morning we shall visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in a special out-of-hours visit before the museum opens to the general public. Its permanent exhibition, occupying 3 floors, is dedicated to one of the world’s most extraordinary Prehistoric discoveries. ‘Ötzi’ is a glacier mummy from the Copper Age preserved in the ice and discovered by hikers in 1998. Experts have been able to reconstruct his body and his clothing and artefacts found with him. These have proved extraordinarily important in reconstructing human life at this time. The mummy is stored in a specially devised cold cell and can be viewed through a small window. ‘Ötzi’s’ numerous pieces of equipment and clothing, including a rare copper axe, have been painstakingly restored and make up much of the museum’s fascinating display.

We drive to Castel Roncolo (Schloss Runkelstein) perched on a rocky outcrop above the city. The castle was constructed in 1237, but its greatest treasure, its frescoes, were created in the 14th century. These are some of the world’s most important paintings with secular literary subjects.  These include stories of King Arthur and his knights, Tristan and Isolde, Dietrich von Bern (Theodoric the Great) and the German Romance poet Pleiers’ Arthurian romance Garel.

The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the lovely streets, boutiques and cafes of Bolzano. (Overnight Bolzano) B

Day 12: Sunday 26 September, Bolzano – Hocheppan – Alto Adige Wine Road – Enga – Bolzano
  • The South Tyrolean Wine Road
  • Hocheppan Castle
  • Lunch & wine tasting at Parco nell’Ombra del Paradeis
  • Charming small town of Egna (Neumarkt)

Our excursion today includes driving along part of the famous South Tyrolean Wine Road, one of the oldest wine routes in Italy. Our first visit is to Hocheppan Castle, a medieval fortress perched on a precipitous crag, further evidence that we are travelling through a contested frontier. The present castle, founded around 1125 and largely rebuilt in the 13th century, was approached through a complex system of outworks, guarded by towers. Dominating the castle is the high pentagonal tower typical of German castles, but rare in the Tyrol. The Romanesque frescoes (c. 1131) in the castle chapel are some of the best preserved in Tyrol. Christ in Majesty dominates the central apse. On the wall above the apses are Christ flanked by the Apostles. Images on the chapel walls depict scenes from the Life of Christ and the apostles and other Biblical scenes, such as The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.

The Tyrol is famous for its wines and one of the most notable vineyards is the Parco nell’Ombra del Paradeis of Lois Lageder. We shall visit the winery to enjoy lunch accompanied by some of the vineyard’s fine wines.

We then drive to the delightful small town of Egna (Neumarkt). The population of the town aptly demonstrates the fascinating cultural mix of this Italian region. Of 5,001 citizens, 62.7% speak German as their first language, 36.89% speak Italian, and 0.42% speak Laden, a Romance language indigenous to the Tyrol. After spending some time in the picturesque town, we return to Bolzano. (Overnight Bolzano) BL

Innsbruck - 4 nights

Day 13: Monday 27 September, Bolzano – Bressanone – Vipiteno – Innsbruck
  • Abazzia di Novacella
  • Lunchtime at leisure in Bressanone (Brixen)
  • Alpine town of Vipiteno (Sterzing)

Today we cross from the Italian into the Austrian Tyrol. Along the way, we visit one of Tyrol’s most important monasteries, the Augustine Monastery of Novacella. This huge complex, founded in 1142, was constantly enlarged during its turbulent history, until the modern era. An expert will lead us on a guided tour of the Abbey and its 875 years of history. Of particular note are the colourful, light-suffused German late-Baroque Basilica, the cloister that is richly decorated with frescoes, the Pinacoteca displaying numerous panel paintings and altarpieces. There are precious manuscripts, liturgical treasures, as well as historic scientific equipment. The stunning Rococo Monastery Library has some 98,000 books and manuscripts.

We shall spend lunchtime at leisure in the town of Bressanone, before driving to Innsbruck via the charming alpine town of Vipiteno (Sterzing). Founded around 14BC, Vipiteno was an important Roman centre. In 1280 Duke Meinhard of Carinthia promoted the village to the rank of city, and its proximity to the Brenner Pass made it an important stage on the trade route between Italy and the German lands. After a fire destroyed part of the town in 1443 new houses were built and we can admire these as we stroll through the Neustadt (New Town), before continuing our journey across the Austrian border to Innsbruck. (Overnight Innsbruck) BD

Day 14: Tuesday 28 September, Innsbruck
  • Walking tour of Innsbruck Old Town: Cathedral of St James and the Golden Roof
  • Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum (incl Imperial Court Church)
  • Schloss Ambras

We begin this morning with a walking tour of Innsbruck’s historic core. We shall visit Innsbruck’s Baroque Cathedral of St James (1717-1724), built on site of an earlier Romanesque church. Two highlights of the cathedral are the magnificent 1530 Maria Hilf (‘Maria of Succor’) by Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of the most venerated images of the Virgin in Christendom, and the magnificent Tomb of Maximilian III of Austria, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights (1620).  A bronze figure of Maximilian kneels in prayer, protected by St George. The classical marble plinth on which the figures are paced is supported by four bronze (twisting) Solomonic columns resembling those of Bernini’s Baldachino in St Peters.

The highlight of our walking tour is the lustrous Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) which is considered the city’s most famous symbol. Built in 1493 by Nikolaus Turing the Elder to celebrate Maximilian I’s marriage to his second wife, Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan, the Goldenes Dachl served as a royal box where the Emperor and his imperial entourage could enjoy festivals, tournaments, and other events in the square below. The balcony’s roof is covered with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles, and the entire structure below is decorated with sculpted reliefs and frescoes, including the coats of arms of Maximilian’s territories and Jörg Kölderer’s painting of two knights bearing heraldic flags of the Holy Roman Empire and Tyrol. The second-floor balcony displays episodes from Maximilian’s life.

All of the decorations on the Goldenes Dachl are carefully executed replicas. We shall see the original works at the Tyrolean State Museum, called the Ferdinandeum after the Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529-1595). The museum displays an artistic journey through Tyrolean history, from Prehistory and Roman antiquity times to the Middle Ages and the modern era. Among the exhibits are Romanesque and Gothic masterpieces, a major German and Dutch collection including works by Lucas Cranach, Pieter Brueghel and Rembrandt, Baroque and Neo Classical art such as the work of Angelica Kauffman, and 19th-century masterworks. It displays a collection of precious musical instruments, a Biedermeier collection and has a Modern Gallery with paintings by Egger-Lienz, Klimt and Kokoschka.

After lunchtime at leisure we drive up into the hills around Innsbruck to visit the magnificent Ambras Castle, located at 587 metres above the city. This grand complex with its rich collections, owes its existence to Ferdinand II of Austria, one of Europe’s greatest collectors. He converted a 10th century fortress, into a magnificent palace on three levels. The Upper Castle is the oldest section. It houses an extraordinary collection of portraits of the Habsburgs and related rulers dating from the Renaissance till the end of the Empire. There are masterpieces by artists such as Lucas Cranach the Elder, Antonis Mor, Titian, Sir Anthony van Dyck and Diego Velázquez.  Below is the magnificent 43-metre-long Spanish Hall, one of Europe’s greatest Renaissance interior spaces. It has a wonderful wood panelled ceiling and is lined with 27 full-length portraits of rulers of the Tyrol. The Lower Castle houses what is arguably the oldest ‘museum’ in the world, Ferdinand’s Chamber of Art and Wonders, with everything from priceless suits of armour to extraordinary natural specimens. Ferdinand meant this as a museum and some of the precious objects are still displayed in their original cases. The walls of the castle courtyard are covered with arguably the best preserved grisaille decorations in Europe. After thoroughly exploring the castle we return to Innsbruck where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Innsbruck) B

Day 15: Wednesday 29 September, Innsbruck – Hall in Tirol – Lake Achen – Innsbruck
  • Medieval market town of Hall in Tirol
  • Lunch at Pertisau on the shore of Lake Achen (Achensee)
  • Cruise on Achensee from Pertisau to Scholastika

Today we take a picturesque drive through the Tyrol, stopping at the lovely small market town of Hall in Tirol and cruising across the Achensee from Pertisau to Scholastika. Hall in Tirol is a picturesque trading town which, from the 13th century, prospered by mining salt. The importance of its salt industry, which exported goods as far as Switzerland, the Black Forest, and the Rhine valley, is reflected in the town’s coat of arms, which shows two lions holding a cask of salt. Under the Habsburg Monarchy, in the 15th and 16th centuries the town became one of the most important towns in the Empire. This period saw the construction of many of the churches, monasteries and convents that still shape its appearance. Today Hall in Tirol has the largest intact old town in the western part of Austria.

After enjoying a walking tour of Hall in Tirol, we drive to Pertisau for lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the lake. Achensee is an alpine lake and Austria’s largest, that is located between the Karwendel Mountain Range and the Bavarian Alps. A cruise from Pertisau to Scholastika offers magnificent alpine panoramas. After cruising the lake, we return to Innsbruck where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Innsbruck) BL

Day 16: Thursday 30 September, Innsbruck
  • Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
  • Hungerburg funicular and Panoramic cable car to the Hafelekar
  • Farewell dinner at a local restaurant

We spend this morning exploring Innsbruck’s Hofburg (Imperial Palace), the third most important palace in Austria after Vienna’s Hofburg and Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn. The Innsbruck palace complex has its origins in the 14th and 15th centuries when Duke Leopold II began to acquire land for a palace (1396) and Duke Sigismund the Rich began to build the south tower (1453-1463). Thenceforth, especially under the Emperor Maximilian I and Maria Theresa, the palace underwent major extension and ultimately transformation from a late Gothic to a grand Baroque palace. We shall explore the complex in detail, including such areas as the Royal Apartments. You will come to understand the development of the Habsburg dynasty through the narrative of the development of this grand palace.

After a coffee break we take the Hungerburg funicular from its underground station in the city’s historic core to the Hungerburg district. The four funicular stations were designed by Zaha Hadid, whose work you have already encountered at the Messner Mountain Museum (MMM) in Corones. From here, we continue to the cable car that runs up to the Seegrube Station, and finally the Nordkettenbahn cable car takes us to the Hafelekar. On reaching the upper station at 2256 m we may enjoy a magnificent 360 degree panorama with both breathtaking views of the city of Innsbruck on one side, and pristine mountain peaks on the other.

Following an afternoon at leisure, we convene for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (Overnight Innsbruck) BD

Depart Munich

Day 17: Friday 1 October, Innsbruck – Munich Airport
  • Airport transfer to Munich Airport for those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight

Our tour ends in Innsbruck. Those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer by private coach to Munich airport. Should you have made your own flight arrangements, you have the option of remaining in, or travelling from Innsbruck, visiting Munich, or planning onward travel from this city. B



17 days in the Dolomites and Tyrol

All hotels are rated 4-star locally and conveniently situated. All rooms have en suite bathroom.

  • Udine (3 nights): 4-star Hotel Astoria Udine – an elegant hotel housed in a historic building, located in the town centre. www.hotelastoria.udine.it
  • San Candido (2 nights): 4-star Post Hotel – a boutique hotel located in the town centre, close to the pedestrian zone, with a terrace offering panoramic views of the Dolomites. www.posthotel.it/en/
  • Merano (2 nights): 4-star Hotel Aurora – a family-fun recently refurbished hotel located on the Kurpromenade. www.hotel-aurora-meran.com
  • Trento (2 nights): 4-star Grand Hotel Trento – a comfortable hotel with spacious room in the historic town centre. www.grandhoteltrento.com
  • Bolzano (3 nights): 4-star Hotel Greif – a boutique design hotel located in the heart of historic Bolzano, close to museums and restaurants. www.greif.it/en/hotel-bolzano/
  • Innsbruck (4 nights): 4-star Hotel Grauer Baer – located in the city centre, close to the Imperial Hofburg and an easy 2-minute walk to the old town. www.grauer-baer.at/en/

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a single-occupancy room throughout the tour. In most hotels, this will be a double/twin room for single occupancy. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book

Making a Tentative Reservation before the tour price has been published


Some ASA tours fill almost immediately. Don’t miss out! You can register your ‘Intention to Travel’ by completing this application and returning this to ASA with a AUD $100.00 per person deposit. Once the tour price has been published, the itinerary and ASA Reservation Application Form will be sent to you. From the time you receive the itinerary you will have two weeks to either:

  • Send us a completed ASA Reservation Application Form together with an additional deposit of AUD $400.00 per person. On receipt of this Reservation Application and deposit, ASA will process your booking and if approved, send you a tour confirmation. At this time your deposit of AUD $500.00 is subject to the tour’s Booking Conditions.


  • CANCEL your Intention to Travel in writing. ASA will refund your AUD $100.00 per person deposit, less a $33.00 service fee (including GST).

Participation Criteria

To participate in an ASA tour, you must be reasonably fit, in good health and able to participate in all activities without assistance from Tour Leaders or other tour members. If you require assistance, a fit and able travel companion must undertake to accompany and assist you with all tasks for the duration of the whole tour. ASA’s ability to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your specific needs, your health and safety and the health and safety of other tour members, is of paramount importance to us. For this reason the ASA Reservation Application includes a Medical Information section. As a general guideline, you must be able to accomplish each of these activities without assistance or support:-

  • walk and stand unassisted for at least 2-3 hours a day in hot, humid conditions
  • walk confidently on and over uneven surfaces
  • climb at least 3 flights of stairs
  • embark and disembark from ferries, buses and trains
  • walk up and down steep slopes
  • walk at a steady pace and no less than 1km every 15-20 minutes
  • organise, manage and carry your own luggage
  • follow and remember tour instructions
  • meet punctually at designated times and places
  • administer your own medication

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single use is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 17-day Cultural Tour of the Dolomites and the Tyrol involves:

  • Moderate walking and standing during site visits; walking tours may include steep slopes, flights of stairs, cobbled streets, visits to hilltop towns and uneven ground at archaeological sites.
  • Some days involve long stretches on winding mountain roads and there are several days of long-distance coach journeys.
  • Visiting a range of towns and villages on foot, involving walks uphill from bus parks to historic town centres and other sites.
  • Using stairs in museums (lifts are not always available).
  • 4-star hotels with five hotel changes.
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person.
  • Funicular and cable car access to several mountainous sites.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $TBA Land Content Only – Early-Bird Special: Book before 30 September 2020

AUD $TBA Land Content Only

AUD $TBA Single Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=Lunch & D=dinner
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Entrance fees to museums
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Udine, Innsbruck-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we recieve written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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