The small village of Stelvio (Stilfs in German) is located in the Val Venosta, the Western extension of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano between Austria, Switzerland and Lombardy. Thanks to its geographical position, Stelvio became one of the most famous and popular tourist Summer and Winter resorts: it is, in fact, in the Stelvio National Park, at 1300 meters of altitude, at the foot of the mountain pass with the same name and surrounded by the peaks of the Eastern Alps, including, in particular, the Ortler, the highest peak in South Tyrol.
The town's name is attested as "Stilvis" in 1090, as "Stilfes" in 1290 and probably has pre-Roman origins. The surrounding territories, for a long period part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were in the course of the First World War, the scenario of fierce clashes between the Austrian and Italian infantry, being located right on the border between the two states.
The charming scenery of the mountains and a wide range of activities and entertainment offer a great experience to vacationers seeking relaxation: the sun at high altitude, pristine nature, clean air and the delicious cuisine of South Tyrol are in fact the perfect panacea against the wear and tear of city life. And nevertheless, it should be noted that these places are a real paradise for tourists who interpret the holiday in a more dynamic way, being able to establish a close and strong relationship with nature through their favorite sports.
And so, the Stelvio National Park, protected area of about 130,000 hectares, is the ideal place for all types of travel, offering visitors a morphologically diverse territory in which it is possible to admire authentic animal and plant treasures.
The municipality of Stelvio also offers four ski resorts: two in Solda, at 1900 metres above sea level, suitable for skiers, one in Trafoi, at 1600, more suitable for families, and one, open only in summer , on the Stelvio Pass.
The Stelvio Pass, is a kind of sacred place for Italian bikers, reachable only by a scenic route, which is open only from late Spring to late Summer. Every year there are two important races for amateur cyclists on the roads of the Stelvio Pass, both in July, one at the beginning and the other at mid-month: the hike is particularly challenging for the high altitude reached and the resulting thin air.
Sites of historical and artistic interest are:
- the Museum "At the end of the World", in the village of Solda, edited by the famous mountaineer Messner and dedicated to the alpine environment;
- the ancient Shrine "The Three Holy Fountains", built in 1229, features sources, headed by a miraculous Image of Our Lady, in fountains from which water flows that the local tales attribute healing properties. The church was built between 1701-1702 and interesting to note is that researchers and scholars assume that the place where now stands the sanctuary was an ancient pagan religious site: it seems that, in this charming and wonderfully quiet place, the Celtic Druids instructed their successors;
- the old XIV century Parish Church of Solda with its simple architectural forms, while inside is preserved a XIX century altarpiece depicting Saint Gertrude. The new parish is located a short distance from the old and is considerably larger;
- the Parish Church of Stelvio.