Little Castelrotto is a charming little town rich with history. This area of Italy was actually part of Austria up until the end of World War 1, and most people in town still speak German as their first language! It really feels like you’re still in Austria, even though it’s technically Italy.
My favorite part about this little town is the bells. What are the bells, you ask? See that church bell tower in the center of the photograph above? Well, Castelrotto loves it’s church bells. They ring early and often. In fact, they woke us up every morning - and we weren’t upset about it. This town takes pride in the tradition of ringing bells to mark the time, and various occasions and traditional rituals. And they’re not alone, when we were on a hike to the top of the mountain (to take this photo), we heard bells from a neighboring town, as well. Dueling bell towers!
Our hotel, the Cavalino D’Oro, which was built in the middle ages, was my favorite hotel on the trip. It is absolutely gorgeous inside. Ornate woodwork, beautiful four-poster beds, comfortable mattresses and linens, and a cozy bar and lounge made this hotel our home away from home. I wish all the hotels on every RIck Steves tour were as good as this one!
Our room overlooked the town square, and the bell tower. We had a front row seat to the bells tolling every morning! And we could see everyone milling around in the square at the market, or on their way to church. We also overlooked the town water fountain. Yes, you heard me - there is a giant water fountain in the center of town, the same one that has been used for centuries. And I am not joking when I say that this is the best water I’ve ever tasted. 100%. I wish I could take a long swig from that fountain right now!
I studied Italian in college, and it was fun to speak a bit of the language, even though most everyone spoke German. It made me feel more comfortable, since I no zero German, and am actually quite an awkward German speaker. I took pride in the fact that, when I would start speaking Italian to people in town, they would speak back as if I was fluent. I had to quickly say, “Mi dispiace! Mi dispiace! Parlo solo un po 'di italiano.” (I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I only speak a little Italian), but it was so fun, nonetheless.
Castelrotto, we sure did love you!