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This town is a comune (municipality) in South Tyrol in northern Italy, located about 80 km northwest of Bolzano. At the foot of the bare, church topped Colle di Tarces lie a handful of whitewashed houses, tightly wrapped in the embrace of thick fortified walls. In the Val Venosta, in Trentino Alto Adige, it is the size of a hamlet, but it is actually a town—possibly the smallest one in Italy.  It was already a town in the early 14th century, when it was referred as such in official correspondence by a local duke. It is in the Renaissance, however, that this place truly comes into its own. Duke Ludovico il Moro of Milan and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I met there in 1496, but, only three years later, the town was destroyed by Swiss troops. Story has it that Maximilian initially cried over the ruins—then decided to take a more proactive approach and had the whole place rebuilt behind huge, safe walls.

Today, large battlements broken up by more than 300 arrow slits and guarded by bulky towers stand guard over the carved doorways, elegant bow windows and frescoes facades of Renaissance palazzos. The odd masterpiece from later days lines the streets—the 17th century church dell’Ospedale, for example, or the graceful 18th century Castel Glorenza, built around an ancient medieval bastion.
 But there is more to this village than historic architecture. The town is famous for the local speck—a smoked cured ham—which is served with spelt or rye and buckwheat bread. It makes a perfect starter to follow with hearty Tirolese meal—think dumplings in broth, and beef and potatoes sauteed with onions—before ending in glory with a juicy, sweet, mouth-melting apfelstrudel made with the aromatic apples from the area.


Answer: Glorenza (aka Glurns) in Trentino Alto Adige.