A mixture of history, art and flavors revealed between Gothic buildings, Baroque and Art Nouveau palaces, Renaissance courtyards, gourmet restaurants and trendy cafes. Just walk through the historic center, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, to capture the soul of THANKSa small, elegant metropolis, crossed by the slow flow of the river Wall and embraced by the hills which protect it from the winds. Capital of Styria and second city in Austria, it is bathed in a relaxed and lively atmosphere, ideal for exploring yourself peacefully.

Graz, between history and design

The heart of the city is the Main square, the main square, with the 19th century town hall and the fountain dedicated to Archduke John of Habsburg, prince of Styria and defender of the development of Graz and its region. From there, strolling among elegant historic buildings, you reach the Landhaushof, the Palazzo della Regione, decorated with a beautiful courtyard, an example of the Italian Renaissance, with doors and arches always decorated with flowers during the summer; THE cathedral, dating from 1438 which, despite its sober exterior, also preserves, thanks to numerous renovations, splendid Gothic frescoes, famous tombs and funerary chapels of illustrious people, including Emperor Frederick II; or again, the Music Box located on the facade of the building on Glockenspielplatz square where, three times a day (at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.), the figures of a couple in traditional costumes dance to different melodies punctuated by the rhythm of 24 bells.

But you only need to look up to discover the true symbol of Graz: lo Castle, the hill overlooking the city with the remains of an ancient castle and the Clock Tower surrounded by a magnificent flower garden and numerous benches where you can stop to admire the splendid view of the historic center and its surroundings. It is accessed by a beautiful staircase (but slightly steep) of 260 steps, stopping to admire the view; Alternatively, you can choose the elevator located inside the hill or the funicular which will take you to the top in 30 seconds or a minute and a half.

Alongside historic buildings, modern buildings designed by internationally renowned architects stand out and have earned Graz the nomination of UNESCO City of Design. I am an example art housea gigantic “blue bubble” which lights up in the evening, located on the right bank of the Mur river: nicknamed Friendly alien, is a temple of contemporary art, which exhibits works by avant-garde artists and photographers. Then it's fun and fascinating MurinselThe island on the wall Wall, a large cupola in steel and plexiglass in the shape of a conchiglia that attaches an anfiteatro all'aperto and a coffee – other than a scivolo and a lab for babies – dove passare la serata circumdati dallo scorrere lento del rivière .

Graz, the capital of flavors

The quality of life in Graz also comes from the pleasures of good cooking. Healthy and authentic, it can count on a wide variety of products. The city is in fact considered the “green heart of Austria” and has 300 farms in its surroundings, where fruit and vegetables are grown, wine is aged, schnapps is distilled and where pumpkin seed oil is pressed. For this and for the many recipes developed thanks to the know-how of many local chefs, the city has earned the title of Flavor capital of Austria.

An aspect that can be found in every corner of Graz, among the restaurants, trattorias, pubs, kiosks, cafes and wine bars, a thousand places overlooking squares and small squares full of lively terraces, which offer traditional dishes, also revisited in a modern key. , international recipes, but also excellent street food, always prepared with top quality ingredients.

A source of pride for the locals who celebrate with various thematic activities throughout the year. This summer, for example, is the unmissable biennial event for gourmets. Long table of flavors (August 24) elegantly installed in the Hauptpatz, where 750 guests gather to enjoy a menu of culinary excellence accompanied by regional wines.

Stroll among the flavors of the Graz markets

In addition to being the basis of many menus, the wide variety of products is proudly displayed on the menus. open air markets in the city. A pleasant ritual for locals to meet and shop among the stalls, in an explosion of colors, scents and flavors.

The richest and liveliest is the historic market of Kaiser Josef Square which enlivens the central square of Graz every day (except Sunday). The farmers' market is also very characteristic. Loan Square on the right bank of the Mur River, considered by true connoisseurs. In addition to peasant bread, speck, smoked sausages, fish, fruit and vegetables – at zero kilometers of course – the markets are the ideal place to discover regional specialties, such as Käfer beans, Grazer Krauthäuptel, the classic Graz lettuce, Styrian pumpkin seeds and the oil from which it is derived – considered the black gold of Styria – horseradish root, which often accompanies cured meats and is used as a medicinal plant due to its vitamin C content, up to local wines, with their light and dry character, and the famous local beer. A pleasure for the eyes but also for the palate, which suggests many delicious flavors to savor even while picnicking in the city's parks.

Among the green oases of Graz

Few cities offer as much green space as Graz. With nature at your fingertips, it's no coincidence that one of the locals' passions is walking, playing sports and relaxing. parks, gardens And Woods. Especially in summer, when these urban areas become an opportunity to cool off in the shade of the trees and have a picnic with friends.

THE Municipal park This is Graz Park, a huge green space that embraces the historic center. Crossed by numerous paths that invite you to walk or play sports, it is a place of meeting and relaxation for everyone, where there are large play areas for the little ones and bars for an afternoon break. or an aperitif after work.

Towards the south, the greenery of the park meets and merges with that of the Burggartenwith a more reserved and romantic atmosphere where the old stands out Orangery, an elegant building, lit by large windows and now open for events and receptions. At the northern end of the Stadtpark, however, the green space meets the hillside. Castleonce dominated by the imposing Graz Castle built to defend the city, around which there is a natural area and a very suggestive panoramic point.

Another green space in the city, very popular especially with young people, is theAugarten Park, south of the historic center, overlooking the bank of the Mur river. Designed by soft, undulating lawns, trees and low hedges which delimit the children's play area, in summer it becomes a true refreshing oasis, caressed by the river breeze.

The symbolic gardens of Eggenberg Castle

At the gates of Graz, the gardens of Eggenberg Castlea splendid noble residence from the 17th century, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, surrounded by a true oasis of greenery, magical and mystical, where you can stroll and discover its lush vegetation.

Wanted by Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg to create an oasis of peace in central Europe torn apart by the Thirty Years' War, it was built by Giovanni Pietro de Pomis, Italian architect and painter, between 1625 and 1635, and is a masterpiece -baroque work designed as aarchitectural allegory of the universein which everything is in perfect harmony: from the exposure of the building to the number of windows, rooms and halls, up to the symbolic frescoes.

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The idea of ​​utopian perfection is also found in the immensity park of 90,000 m2 which embraces the building. At the call of the universe Garden of Planetsthe intense scent emanating from the rose garden and the lush greenery of the century-old trees, all arranged with care and know-how that invite you to relax in the shade of the branches and enjoy, at least for a moment, the tranquility of this perfect corner of the world.

Information: Austria.info

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