Villanders (Italian: Villandro) is a wine village in the Isarco Valley (Eisacktal) in South Tyrol, stretching from the bottom of the valley at an altitude of 480 m above sea level up to Villandro Mountain at 2500 metres of altitude. The village centre of Villandro – hence also the Granpanorama Hotel StephansHof – is located at 880 m above sea level and is the perfect place for your holidays in South Tyrol: Hiking paths leading through chestnut groves and vineyards, the picturesque village alley, secluded traditional farms, castles and chapels await you.
Villandro – wine village in the Eisack Valley
The village is mainly known for its white wines, which grow especially well in the Valle Isarco. All typical grape varieties of the valley - Sylvaner, Kerner, Riesling, Veltliner and Müller Thurgau find the best conditions on the sunny slope of Villandro, and surprise with their minerality and aroma. There is a reason for the wines from the Valle Isarco being recognised in the most important Italian wine guide, the "Gambero Rosso". Wine grower Konrad Augschöll from the Tenuta Röck in Villandro is one of the lucky ones who received an award.
Historic village centre of Villandro
The village alley in Villandro, the so-called "Defregger-Gasse" presents itself in its genuine character. The name is due to a popular painter: Franz von Defregger used the alley as a background in his picture "Das letzte Aufgebot" (The Last Array). The picture shows farmers leaving their homes to fight for their country. Women and children say goodbye to these brave men, risking their lives in a fight for freedom.
The church of Villandro
If we walk further up the village alley, we reach the parish church of Villandro, which is dedicated to St. Stephanus and St. Laurentius. The parish church was consecrated in 1521, but burned down to the vault in 1900. The neo-gothic decorations in the arched roof originate from the re-construction works. Of great artistic value are the oil paintings by Franz Sebald Unterberger representing the stoning of St. Stephanus, and the glass paintings with motives from the lives of mineworkers dating back to 1520.
The cemetery of Villandro is told to be the most beautiful of South Tyrol
In front of the church lies the village cemetery, which is said to be the most beautiful in South Tyrol. What can be noticed, are the grave crosses, which are inserted in the opposite direction. The grave cross is turned away from the grave itself. This custom is very mysterious and unique in South Tyrol.
Popular settlement since prehistoric times
Below the village centre of Villandro you'll find an excavation site, which is one of the most important archaeologic finding places in South Tyrol. Settlement remains from the Palaeolithic to the early Middle Ages were found. The foundation walls of the settlement can be visited in the Archeoparc in Villandro. Many findings are also stored in the Museum of Archaeology (Ötzi Museum) in Bolzano due to their importance with regard to the settlement history of South Tyrol. The sunny slope of Villandro has always been a popular place to be in South Tyrol.
Mining center in the Middle Ages
The heydays of the village were during the Middle Ages. The mine at Pfunders Mountain was one of the most important mining areas in Tyrol, and had a great influence on life in Villandro. Silver, copper, iron and lead were extracted under most difficult conditions. A guided tour through the renovated Elisabeth gallery is recommended for young and old! We also recommend a hike to the romantic St. Anna Chapel amidst the forest, which was the religious centre of mineworkers for more than 150 years.
Hiking & Pleasure
Villandro is a hiking paradise in the heart of South Tyrol: The mountain pasture of Villandro is the second-biggest high-alpine pasture in Europe, and features innumerable hiking trails and mountain tracks for easy hikes or demanding tours to high viewpoints. The view of the Dolomites is simply spectacular! The alpine pasture is however not only worth visiting for a hike or for mountain-biking, but also for enjoying a break in one of the traditional huts along the routes. Here you'll experience the genuine side of South Tyrol.
Home of the "Törggelen"
We also recommend participating at a Törggele event: the tradition of Törggelen has its origins in the Isarco Valley. In autumn, farmers await you to taste the new wine. But it's not only the wine that is tasted whilst in good company. Other South Tyrolean delights like bacon, smoked sausages, ravioli with spinach and ricotta filling, meat, sausages and cabbage, and of course, chestnuts and "Krapfen" (sweet doughnuts) are not missing either.