It is known as the “homeland of horses” but also as the “sunny terrace of Merano“. These nicknames give us an idea of some peculiarities of the territory. Nestled above the Merano valley between the green pastures surrounded by the Alpine peaks: here Avelengo is located. A location whose picturesque landscape is ideal for spring relaxing getaways. But that certainly does not lose its charm even in the harsh winter months. Nature dominates together with the ingenuity of the man of today or of yesteryear. Features that make us fully enjoy this small but precious mountain village.
The homeland of the Haflinger horses
Blond, strong and rustic horses, they dominate the highland. Just horses? Not exactly. Their presence on the territory has a history, rejoice people and favors possibilities. It is not by chance that this animal appears on the municipal coat of arms next to a conifer. But what’s so special about them?
They are an integral part of the territory, they have a robust body softened by a golden mane. The first specimen with these features was Folie, the stallion born in 1874 from a local mare and an Arab father. A fusion of characteristics that led to the birth of a new species, deliberately maintained and improved over time. In Haflinger horses, the man of the past immediately found advantages. Due to the corpulence of their body they were employed in work activities for a long time.
Initially it was a breed of workhorses or pack horses. Today things have changed significantly. The beauty of the animal, the honey-colored tones of its coat make it an essential element of the landscape. And so there are stables that organize carriage rides and horseback rides. Over time, Haflinger horses have reached the status of “local beauties”. With their charm they attract curious tourists.
To the court of Avelengo
The natural connotation is certainly the dominant character of Avelengo. Evocative at the beginning of autumn with some orange touches that warm the landscape. Admirable in spring with those greens and the wide valleys that give rest to the gaze. Meadows and coniferous forests. All from a privileged position. Thanks to its 1300 meters above sea level in Avelengo di Sopra it is possible to enjoy the views of the peaks of the Gruppo di Tessa. Here, at the highest point, there are few residential settlements scattered here and there completely immersed in the quiete.
But there is also a “lower” Avelengo, which constitutes the center of the village. Here there are significant traces of the past. The church of San Giovanni, the Gothic tabernacle between the streets Locherweg and the farm Nusser but not only. From this point a naturalistic itinerary also begins, the one that leads up to the Sulfner lake. A body of water to visit in the hot season when white water lilies, rushes, frog grass and other plant species are the ornament. But Avelengo does not end here. In fact, it should be remembered that it includes several locations. In addition to the aforementioned distinctions between Avelengo di Sopra and Avelengo Paese, other hamlets are part of the same territory. Santa Caterina is one of these. A small town that preserves a significant jewel from a historical and artistic point of view.
Between history and legend
Let’s discover the famous Romanesque church dedicated to Santa Caterina, whose history is lost in legend. It is said that an angry giant tried to destroy it by throwing a huge boulder. Traces of the large stone still remain today in a meadow just below the church. But Santa Caterina is not the only “lady” in the court of Avelengo. Moar Wiese, Pivigna, Falzeben are also part of it. We need to climb even more, between 1600 and 2000 meters high. At such an altitude, there is the ski resort of Falzeben with Merano 2000. These areas are also popular during the summer thanks to hiking itineraries for mountain bikers. It is a small courtyard; Avelengo is the queen around which those “ladies” who contribute to its beauty simbolically revolve.