Alto Adige is the northern part of the region known as Trentino-Alto Adige in north eastern Italy, just south of the Alps and bordering Austria. Until the end of World War 1 this used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It was annexed by Italy at the end of WW1 and became part of the Italian region known as Venezia Tridentina.
Alto Adige as it exists today was created in 1926 after an administrative reorganisation of the Kingdom of Italy. It was given a special autonomous status after World War II, resulting ultimately in the considerable level of self-government it enjoys today.
Alto Adige produces a fascinating range of wines, from both international and local grape varieties including Lagrein and Goldmuskateller. The region has a particular claim to viticultural fame - the village of Tramin (Termeno in Italian) is widely accepted as being the birthplace of Gewürztraminer.
A visitor to the region may sense that Alto Adige does not always have the look and feel of Italy. Indeed much of the place seems very Tyrolean and German is widely spoken by many as a first language. There is a strong sense of independence here - some wine producers talk quite seriously of "exporting to Italy". The main city, Bolzano, is clean, bright and well kept. This region enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Europe.
The industry in Alto Adige is dominated by small producers, some of whose output ranks amongst the best of Italian wines, yet by volume it is relatively insignificant producing only some 1% of the country's output. It's a strikingly beautiful region, with the stunning Dolomite mountains and glorious countryside begging to be explored.