During our stay in northern Italy this winter, we took a short drive from where we were staying to see the small, but breathtaking village of Santa Magdalena, in Sud Tirol (South Tyrol). Nestled in the most northern part of Italy near the Austrian border, about 75% of the people who live there actually speak German over the Italian language. Although it is Italy, it certainly feels more Austrian as well—probably because this area was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918 when it was annexed into Italy.
The village feels practically untouched by the outside world and looking out over the majestic view of the dolomites, The Sound of Music rings in your ears. In reality, the only thing you can hear is the sound of a bird or the wind blowing through the trees along the hillside. There is something so magical about the mountains—the crisp, clean air, the silence, the grandness of the peaks that remind you just how small you really are. For us, it’s impossible to look out over views like this and not be overwhelmed by the greatness of God and His majesty and in turn it evokes our hearts to worship our Creator for who He is and the love He has for us.
After a beautiful afternoon in the mountainside, we drove into the town of Bolzano, which has made a name for itself with its yearly Christmas market. The market was beautifully glowing from the many twinkling Christmas lights. The air was cold, but still and filled with the scent of amazing foods representing both Italian and Austrian cultures. The market was the perfect spot to find gifts of artisanal products from Christmas ornaments, ceramics, toys, to nativities. Before it was time to leave, the kids took a ride on the adorable carousel and we all shared funnel cakes topped with Nutella. Each day is a gift. But days like this one are simply magical.