DOBBIACO | TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE
Dobbiaco - Toblach, Province of Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. Called "gateway to the Dolomites" (Tor zu den Dolomiten) and one of the three places called "Comune delle Tre Cime" (=Three Peaks) along with San Candido and Sesto, Dobbiaco is in Val Pusteria (Pustertal), the "green valley", protected to the south by the Dolomites (Cima Nove, Monte Serla) and to the other sides by the West Tauri and Carnic Alpso.
In a strategic location at the crossroads of the main routes leading from Venice to Munich and from the Adige Valley to the Drava basin, Dobbiaco is divided into two parts by the Alpine Dobbiaco watershed; the river Drava, a tributary of the Danube, springs in the east of the territory. Although politically Italian, Dobbiaco is outside the physical territory of Italy, which is entirely within the Mediterranean basin, while the Drava and Danube belong to the Black Sea basin. Another important river which flows below the village is the Rienza, which springs at the foot of the Three Peaks and, passing by the Dobbiaco lake (Toblacher See), crosses the val Pusteria to Bressanone, entering then the Isarco, which in turn flows into the Adige.
The territory is divided into two areas calles "Old Dobbiaco" (Alt-Toblach), in a more elevated position (1,256 m above sea level) in the San Silvestro valley, and "New Dobbiaco" (Neu-Toblach), built in the early 20th century in the vicinity of the railway station, at the mountain pass. The two areas are clearly separated by the Val Pusteria state road.
The earliest human settlements in Dobbiaco may have begun during the Hallstatt period; the first mention of the place is in 827 AD. The area became of strategic importance as a connecting trade route from Venice to Germany.
In the 19th century the monks of San Candido built the first church in Dobbiaco. When a railroad was built in Val Pusteria in 1871, tourism started to grow, with urban developments in New Dobbiaco. During World War One here passed the frontline, and the church and many buildings were destroyed.
WHAT TO SEE IN DOBBIACO
- the parish church of St. John the Baptist, a baroque church built on the foundations of a Romanesque and later Gothic church, which is one of the most majestic baroque churches in Val Pusteria;
- the oldest "Kreuzweg" (=Via Crucis, Way of Sorrows) in Tyrol, with 5 Passion chapels along the Maximilianstrasse, ascribed to Michael Parth and built in 1519;
- the Gothic Santuario in Santa Maria (Aufkirchen), built in 1272, with remarkable Gothic middle relief
- the parish church of San Nicolò in Valle San Silvestro (Wahlen), built in 1512
- The Grand Hotel Toblach, a luxury hotel built by the Austrian Southern Railway Company from 1877 to 1878, which after an extensive renovation in 1999 is used as a cultural center.
- the Herbstenburg Castle built in 1500 by brothers Konrad und Christoph von Herbst
- the Roten Turm (Red Tower), built in 1430 as a defensive structure.
- The maso Trenker, a mountain hut where composer Gustav Mahler spent his summer holidays from 1908 to 1910. It can be reached from Carbonin Vecchia (Altschluderbach); here Mahler composed his 9th Syphony, the 10th and the celebrated Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth).
- Lake Toblach (Lago di Dobbiaco, Toblachersee), a small alpine lake, located at an altitude of 1,176 m, with the Rienza as its inflow and outflow, with a circumference of about 4.5 kilometers, located right on the border of two natural parks, the Three Peaks and the Fanes-Senes-Prague. In the warm season it is possible to tour the lake on a boat, and in the cold season, when the lake is completely frozen, curling or skating can be practised.
- The Landro Lake (Dürrensee) at 1,400 m above sea level, a low-water lake with no outlet, therefore warmer than lakes at a similar altitude and in summer quite suitable for swimming.
- San Pietro in Monte (St. Peter am Kofl), above Aufkirchen, first mentioned in 1329, a refuge of priests and the oldest religious sanctuary in the upper Pusteria Valley