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When steering your car hire into Merano (Meran) through its 13th century gates you will be seeing what little is left of its original city walls. This is part of the ancient region of Alto Adige, which is suspected to be one of the most populated with fortified buildings of old. One of the best known and preserved fortifications is the Castello Principesco. There are several fortified homes throughout the town, and it is also home to the 1850's castle of Trauttsmansdorf, which is surrounded by breathtaking botanical gardens and houses the local Museum of Tourism.
Fortifications are not this town's only attraction. It lays claim to one of the best handball teams in all of Italy. Merano is touted as the ""City of Flowers"" for the beautiful flora encouraged by its mild climate. In the 1930s, the waters of Merano were found to have special healing properties, which quickly turned this town into a spa resort. Sitting at the foot of the Alps you could imagine that it is also quite a ski resort and hikers retreat. To travel to this particular town you may want to take the train in from Venice or Milan, or you can find a reliable car hire service to let you a vehicle for the two hour drive from Switzerland or Austria through the Alps.
In November, Merano is the site of the International Wine Festival which showcases vintages from all over the world. You would do well to take a car hire in for this event, as the wines from this region are renowned, as is the freshness of the food. It also found itself earning the honour or having a chess move named after it in 1981, when it hosted the World Chess Championship of Karpov vs. Korchnoi. After you have extended your vacation through this ancient village, go to the foot of the Alps and take in some hearty food and skiing.