Ecotourism at Plan de Corones: today I am pleased to share the story of my weekend in South Tyrol in the name of sustainability, discovering a museum integrated into the ground (yes, I didn't mean "in the territory" but just "in the soil" !, food at zero kilometer and CO2-reduced hotels.
L'ecotourism it's a "ecological tourism"Which has among its main objectives that of allowing tourists to discover the beauties of a territory, in terms of landscape, fauna, flora and local culture, minimizing the impact on the environment.
It is therefore about travel responsibly in natural areas, conserving the environment and helping to support the well-being of local populations.
My journey started from Milan with a destination Plan De Corones, obviously by train, to Bolzano, where my contact from the South Tyrol - South Tyrol Tourist Board was waiting for me to travel the last kilometers, sharing the same car powered by hydrogen and therefore with zero emissions! Even the noise pollution generated by this type of car is close to zero as the car does not have a combustion engine and is therefore extremely quiet!
The two “critical aspects to improve” for encourage the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles concern theautonomy, which for now reaches 500 km with a full tank of about 4 kg of hydrogen, and the presence of petrol stations on the territory: currently the only one in Italy is located in Bolzano!
From Bolzano we reached Riscone di Brunico, at the Hotel Heinz, located right at the foot of the ski lifts and perfect for avoiding car travel once you are there.
In summer the hotel is the perfect starting point for hiking or mountain biking.
Ecotourism at Plan de Corones - Hotel Heinz
The restaurant hosts us for dinner Oberraut, located at 1,240 meters, in the woods of Brunico, where the only sound you hear is the song of birds and where you can admire the panorama of Plan de Corones, Sasso delle Putia, Monte Sommo, the Falzes plateau and the Terento peak.
At Oberaut theEcotourism is expressed in one cuisine based on the use of local products: fresh vegetables from the garden, beef from our own farm, game from the surrounding woods, lambs from neighboring farms and bread baked in the restaurant's oven according to ancient traditions.
Ecotourism: the Oberraut restaurant and a view from its panoramic terrace
The following day is instead dedicated to one of the main objectives of the weekend, the visit of Messner Mountain Museum of Plan de Corones, inaugurated a few days earlier. To visit it the best awaits us guide you could wish for: Reinhold Messner in person! :-)
TheMessner Mountain Museum in Plan de Corones it is the sixth (and strong last) element of a museum project dedicated to the mountains and its culture carried out in six extraordinary locations in South Tyrol and Belluno. These are places in which to meet the mountain, its history and the people who live it, through a collection of artifacts from all over the world and collected by Messner throughout his life.
Before reaching the Plan de Corones MMM, Reinhold takes us to visit the Messner Mountain Ripa Museum (in Tibetan language "ri" stands for mountain and "pa" for man), located in the castle of Brunico and dedicated to peoples of the mountains of all the world.
Settled in the valleys and pastures, i mountain peoples they have managed to develop their own art of survival to adapt and live with the environment according to a culture based on personal responsibility, sustainable consumption and mutual help.
In the halls of the museum it is thus possible to see artifacts from all over the world, purchased or received as a gift by Reinhold during his life. It ranges from ice axes, crampons and other tools to climb the mountain to tents used by the peoples of the mountains in Asia or Africa, idols and symbols of local cultures and religions or paintings and many other objects of daily use.
From the top of the castle tower it is also possible to admire the rural landscape that extends from Plan de Corones, to the Ahrntal valley to the Alps of the Zillertal valley.
The Messner Mountain Museum Ripa it is open from the second Sunday of May to the first of November, from 10 to 18, and from 26 December to 25 April, from 12 to 18. The last admission is at 17 and the weekly closing day is Tuesday . The cost of the ticket for an adult is 9 Euros, the one for students and pensioners over 65 years 7.5 Euros. Children up to 14 years pay the reduced price of 4 euros.
Brunico Castle which houses the Messner Mountain Museum Ripa
After visiting the Ripa, we move to the ski lifts that take us to the 2,275 meters high of Plan de Corones, where the Messner Mountain Museum Corones. dedicated to the theme "rock" and the life of mountaineers, illustrated through objects from the collections of Reinhold Messner.
The MMM Corones was designed in its architectural structure by the studio of Zaha Hadid, one of the most famous and talented architects of the moment, with the advice of Reinhold Messner regarding the location and orientation of the rooms from which you can enjoy an extraordinary view of the great walls of the Dolomites.
The museum has been designed to minimize the impact on the territory, with a mainly underground development articulated on different floors so that, despite the total 1000 square meters of its surface, only a small part of these have external construction elements, minimizing thus the visual impact of the structure with respect to the natural environment in which it is located.
Inside the museum there are finds which document the history of mountaineering over the years and a small one cinema with high-definition projections related toMountain climbing and its protagonists.
The rooms have curved walls that give a feeling of remarkable dynamism with a path that ends on three large panoramic windows with a breathtaking view.
One of the internal halls of the MMM Corones and one of the large windows overlooking the Dolomites
The museum is definitely worth a visit but since I had the chance, I wanted to "tease" Reinhold Messner in person by asking him why in his opinion a tourist should take a car and come to Plan de Corones to visit his latest museum! :-)
The great mountaineer did not take the "provocation" and responded in an intelligent and very direct way, also touching the criterion of the "economic sustainability" of his museums that other museums dedicated to the mountains in Europe cannot boast. However, here is the audio of my question with Reinhold's answer:
Not bad, huh? :-)
Certainly Reinhold "does not mince words" and has very clear ideas on how he intends to articulate his projects.
A shot of mine by Reinhold Messner at Plan de Corones
After visiting the museum, we had lunch at high altitude at the Corones refuge and then left Plan de Corones and moved to Naturns, at the Kreuzwirt hotel where we enjoyed an excellent dinner and stayed overnight.
The following day we were again guests of Reinhold Messner a Juval Castle, in Val Venosta, where the mountaineer resides with his family in the months of July and August.
In the remaining months Castal Juval is open to the public who can visit the museum dedicated to the religious dimension of the mountain with a collection of paintings with views of the great sacred mountains, a precious collection of Tibetan relics and masks from the five continents, the Tantra room and, underground, the equipment used by Reinhold Messner in his expeditions.
Juval Castle, one of the museum rooms, the road leading to the entrance and a selfie with Reinhold with the woods of Val Venosta behind him
After thanking Reinhold for his hospitality, we visited the vineyards of Castel Juval, managed by the Unterortl farm, where about 30,000 bottles of wine are produced and bottled every year.
The vineyards, located on slopes, extend over four hectares with a beautiful view over the Val Venosta.
The distillery produces various types of grappa obtained from the pomace of the vineyard and particular fruit spirits, obtained mainly from fruit of own cultivation.
All products are on sale in the cellar according to the philosophy of zero km and in selected stores, mostly in South Tyrol.
Wine tasting in the vineyards of Castel Juval overlooking the Val Venosta
Near Castel Juval you could not miss a restaurant with typical dishes: Schlosswirt Juval run by the Schölzhorn family. The lunch we enjoyed once again included foods largely at zero km, produced on the farm owned or in the immediate vicinity. The cold cuts and ravioli with seasonal cheese with chives are really excellent.
The departure time of the train for Milan was starting to approach but first I managed to visit one last "gem", theK.u.K. Museum Bad Egart, where the memories of the Habsburg dynasty are on display and especially those of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth, the famous Sissi. The museum was created over 50 years of research since Cavalier Karl Platinum Onkel Taa, a great lover of the Habsburgs and contains an impressive amount of memorabilia arranged in neat showcases.
A room of the K.u.K. Bad Egart Museum
But Onkel Taa is also an artist and a sculptor so he saw fit to create a second open-air museum where he exhibited his works.
However, the women of the family are no less in terms of skill and creativity as they are the beating soul of Onkel Taa Restaurant, where Janett with her mother and daughter offer a cuisine that makes extensive use of garden products: fruits, vegetables and ... flowers! Yes, you read that right, because even flowers are eaten and contribute to giving value to the dishes offered. Another example of a cuisine that uses "zero meter more than zero kilometer" products! :-) with high level results.
Onkel Taa's family, a room in the restaurant, the pantry with homemade jams and Janett in the garden