Going to Renon (Italian name) / Ritten (German name) had been an idea that my husband and I got from one of our guidebooks of South Tyrol. It was the only one that was dedicated to children, what activities they can do (and the parents should do too, of course!), where to go, what walks are safe and a whole lot of other helpful information. In other words, what fun things the kids can do in the alps while the parents organize and follow suit. Ritten was one great idea that we followed by heart and became an enchanting discovery for my lens.
First, let me explain in a nutshell why all the names in South Tyrol are both in Italian and German. It had been a part of Austria until Italy won the First World War and annexed the region, moving the border between two countries more outwards towards Austria. It hadn't been easy for both countries and as a result, a lot of soldiers died over the battling of moving the border. South Tyrol is an autonomous region and like all similar regions in Italy, they are allowed to keep the original culture and language. Thus, German and Italian are the two main languages. But still, German is more predominant.
The highlight of our trip to Ritten was taking the the cable car and train to reach it. No kid will ever say no to that! Then there are the phenomenal piramidi di terra (fairy chimneys or earth pyramids) that we have been wanting to see for years. It was definitely a trip for the whole family.
To reach the plateau of Renon/Ritten, you can take your car or if you have kids and would like to enjoy the view yourself, take the cable car from Bolzano/Bozen, the station of which is right next to the train station of Bolzano. The cable car arrives at Soprabolzano/Oberbozen, one of the towns of the plateau. If you want to see the fairy chimneys and more beautiful villages in the plateau, just go out of the cable car station and cross the tracks where there's a small stop for the small train that ends at Collalbo/Klobenstein.
It's a scenic train ride across the countryside with grassy hills and some houses and hotels along the way. The last point is Collalbo/Klobenstein where you get off and walk towards the center of the small town where you can find a small number of hotels, shops and restaurants. The walk to the center itself is a pleasure, seeing the alpine houses with beautiful gardens.
Passing the center of Collalbo/Klobenstein, you follow the main road going towards another town called Longomoso/Lengmoos where you will encounter a pond full of water lilies. The effect was stunning. Needless to say, it was my favorite part and judging from the number of photos I took of the pond, the lilies and the houses around it, it's hard not to arrive to that conclusion. Okay, maybe I DID take too much pictures here.
|The church of Longomoso/Lengmoos.|
The kids, on the other hand, would have settled here for the rest of the day if we didn't push them to walk more towards the next town to see the fairy chimneys or earth pyramids. They were reluctant to leave the aquatic animal life they found at the pond, including a small harmless snake. But let's face it, fairy chimneys are too interesting to pass for a little girl and earth pyramids are done to perk the interest of young boys even if it meant walking more under the heat of the sun.
And so, after becoming almost deaf from alternate complaints from both kids and after all the other walkers passed us, we finally arrived to see the fairy chimneys / earth pyramids with our own eyes. It was extraordinary. (Daughter: Where are the fairies?!)