In the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, plants from all over the world are gathered together and typical landscapes of South Tyrol are presented. Paths meander uphill through water and terraced gardens, leading to the Sensual Garden or the Japanese Garden, to the cacti and succulents mound or to cultivated plants of the south, like the olive tree and the grapevine. A mild climate and a wealth of southern vegetation can sometimes work wonders. Already around the middle of the 19th century, physicians took advantage of this when they were treating spa guests seeking recreation. The most prominent visitor was the Austrian Empress Sisi, who actually used Trauttmansdorff Castle as her winter domicile. Today, the botanic garden extend around this historic building. Situated on the eastern periphery of Merano and bordered by a downy oak forest, the gardens extend over 12 hectares. A hundred and fifty years ago, the first exotic plants were brought to Merano and planted here and there in the extensive parks of the resort. In the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, however, the plants are arranged according to their country of origin, taking into account the relationships between natural vegetation, climate, locality and human influence. Hence, natural habitats such as the Japanese alluvial forest are found alongside rice terraces and tea plantations. The climatic conditions in Merano have proven particularly favourable; it has the mildest winters in the German-speaking part of Europe. Therefore, many things can be realised here which would be impossible north of the Alps.
The castle itself is situated in the middle of the Gardens. Previously a Gothic ruin, it was reconstructed by Count Trauttmansdorff around 1850. Empress Sisi stayed here twice during her winter cures in Merano. Now the castle houses the Touriseum - the Museum of Tourism. In the restored rooms that Empress Sisi used to inhabit, fascinating displays and interior arrangements document the development of South Tyrol into one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations.
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle
Via S. Valentino 51/A - 39012 Merano
Tel. (+39) 0473 235730 - Fax (+39) 0473 235731