Laid out in 1850 and beloved by Empress Sisi of Austria, the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle (I Giardini di Castel Trauttmansdorff) are among most impressive botanical gardens in Italy. Circling the historic castle, with a backdrop of the distant Alps, the parklands include terraced plantings, forests, olive groves, and exotic flowers.
The gardens stretch over a 30-acre (12-hectare) area and feature 80 different gardens. Visitors can explore more than 4 miles (6 kilometers) of walking trails, stopping at waterfalls, pavilions, and viewpoints, as well as visiting Trauttmansdorff Castle. Highlights include the Terraced Gardens, which have a water lily pond, maze, and palm grove; Sun Gardens, home to Italy’s northernmost olive grove; and Forests of the World, which has a rice paddy, tea plantation, and palm beach.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an admission fee for the gardens, and guided tours are available.
- To visit all of the gardens, plan to spend at least three hours, or pack a picnic and make a day of it.
- On-site facilities include a visitor’s center and gift shop, drinking fountains, paid parking, and a café.
- The gardens are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, and accessible restrooms are available.
How to Get There
The gardens are located about 3 miles (4.5 kilometers) southeast of Merano. Bus Lines 4 and 1B run from Merano Station, or else it’s a 15-minute taxi ride. The closest airport is Bolzano, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) away.
When to Get There
The gardens are open daily April to November, and stay open until 11pm on Friday evenings June through August. Each season brings its own magic, so it’s worth visiting more than once during the year. Seasonal highlights include cherry blossoms and tulips in spring; sunflowers, English roses, and lavender in summer; and the multicolored forest leaves in fall.
Plants and Wildlife at Trauttmansdorff
Thousands of plants and flowers are on display from all around the globe. The Mediterranean gardens have pomegranate, mulberry, lemon, and fig trees, as well as giant cacti, and thousands of sunflowers. The Forests of the World area has a bamboo forest, cherry orchards, and hundreds of species of rhododendrons. Wildlife in this area includes snakes, zebra finches, peacocks, and Hungarian racka sheep. There’s also a terrarium housing frogs, geckos, and leaf-cutter ants.