In autumn, the forests are full of sweet chestnuts: There are some paths which are lined by particularly many chestnut trees.
South Tyrol's longest Chestnut Trail, the South Tyrolean Chestnut Trail, stretches from the Valle Isarco valley to the Renon high plateau, and continues - if desired - to Lake Caldaro, the Siusi Alp and the Val Gardena valley. It follows the traces of the sweet chestnut in South Tyrol, is 63 km long (from Bressanone to the Renon) and can be done in different stages.
South Tyrolean Chestnut Trail:
The "Keschtnweg", as the Chestnut Trail is called in South Tyrolean dialect, starts in Bressanone (Brixen), climbs the Pfeffersberg hill and leads across terraces and past little hamlets with stunning views on the Dolomites to the Sabiona Monastery and the Medieval town of Chiusa (Klausen). The second stages takes you the next day via the village of Barbiano (Barbian) up to the Renon, a beautiful plateau with plenty of hiking paths and interesting Earth Pyramids. Enjoy a ride with the Renon Cable Car to the main town of South Tyrol, Bolzano (Bozen), at the end of the day where you can spend a cultural, entertaining or culinary evening.
In Bolzano ends the actual Chestnut Trail, but the adventure continues if you want: Either on foot or by public bus you can go - after a visit to Roncolo Castle, the "Painted Castle" on the outskirts of Bolzano - to beautiful Lake Caldaro. From there you walk to the Monticolo Lakes and to Castel Firmiano in Appiano (Eppan), which houses the "MMM Firmiano", one of the mountain museums of the alpinist Reinhold Messner. Fiè allo Sciliar (Völs am Schlern) is the next destination - you can reach it preferably by bus: The Alpe di Siusi, a hiking paradise in itself, is close to here.
The Siusi Alp is starting point on the next day: From there the path leads down into the Val Gardena valley, in the heart of the Dolomites with mighty peaks such as Mt. Sassolungo and Mt. Sasso Piatto, and follows the Post Trail to Chiusa. From there is goes back to Bressanone by train. Of course you can change and/or extend the route as you wish!
Foiana Chestnut Experience Trail:
A shorter hike can be found in Foiana (Völlan) above the village of Lana in the Merano area: It is the Foiana Chestnut Experience Trail, a 2 km long circular path which leads through the traditional chestnut woods around the village. 10 interactive stations regarding history, science and curiosities await visitors - it is all about the precious fruit. A easy and interesting walk for everyone!
The Chestnut Experience Trail starts at the parking space near the church and follows in an hour walking time the giant "Keschtnigel" (chestnut hedgehog).
In the south of South Tyrol and in the area of Merano, many forest paths turn into chestnut trails in autumn. Yellow, red and golden leaves glow in the sunshine and create a fascinating atmosphere. And on the ground there are a myriad of sweet chestnuts and their prickly shells.