It's odd to find a pocket of German-speaking communities in Italy, tucked amidst Alpine scenery more reminiscent of Austria. But there is lots to recommend South Tyrol (or Alto Adige, as the region is also known). For the outdoor enthusiast, there is no shortage of hiking, biking and climbing routes, not to mention paragliding and archery in summer, or snow-shoeing, cross-country or Alpine skiing in winter (all of which can be arranged at vigilius mountain resort). Culture vultures might prefer vineyard tours, castle visits or one of the region's two modern art museums: Mart (in Rovereto) and Museion (in the capital Bolzano), the latter housed in a futurist oblong cube. Local cuisine is superb, and there are some innovative spas too, including thermal waters and mountain hay treatments. Unless you catch a domestic flight into Bolzano, you'll need to drive (or take the train) a couple of hours from Verona, or Innsbruck in Austria.