Driving Through Alps From Vipiteno Italy To Sindelsdorf Germany
Sterzing (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɛrtsɪŋ]; Italian: Vipiteno [vipiˈtɛːno]) is a comune in South Tyrol in northern Italy. It is the main village of the southern Wipptal, and the Eisack River flows through the medieval town.
The town traces its roots to 14 B.C., when Nero Claudius Drusus founded a military camp called "Vipitenum" along the road between what are now Italy and Germany. Ancient ruins found nearby include a sepulchral monument dedicated to Postumia Vittorina, a milestone of the Imperator Septimius Severus period and a stone altar dedicated to Lord Mithras. In 550, following an invasion of Bavarii, the town of Sterzing take place, the first mention of a town called Wibitina dates back to the years between 985 and 990. That name, which is still memorized in Wipptal, is traced back to the nearby Celto-Roman settlement *Vibidina. In 1180, the name Sterzengum appears in a document.
In 1280, Duke Meinhard of Carinthia, promoted the village to the rank of city. As the region's proximity to the Brenner Pass made it a frequent trade route, the Fugger of Augsburg opened a branch to sort the products of the nearby silver mines in Ridnaun Valley and Pfleres Valley. Sterzing knew its magnificence in the 15th and 16th centuries after the 1443 fire which destroyed part of the town. New embattled houses were built, some late gothic style, in Neustadt (New Town) as: Town and Regional Trial House (1450), Hotel "Goldenes Kreuz" (1446), Fugger's Branch (1553), Rafenstein House (former Köchl, 1472), the Town Hall (1473), Geizkofler House (1600) and the Mining District House (1500) all still in use.
In the course of the Italianization of South Tyrol, the modern Italian name of the town Vipiteno - created from the old Roman settlement of Vipitenum was made official. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, a number of wanted Nazis stayed in Sterzing at the Hotel Goldenes Kreuz which still exists today. At different times, people like Erich Priebke, Adolf Eichmann, and Josef Mengele were in transit here as they waited for forged passports for their journey out of Europe and by ship to South America.