Malles, the main town of Alta Venosta valley
Malles, which lies 1,050 m a.s.l., is a community with some 5,000 inhabitants in Alta Venosta valley. It consists of the hamlets of Burgusio, Prämajur-Amberg, Mazia, Laudes, Clusio, Slingia, Tarces and Planol, which until 1927 were totally and completely autonomous. Today, Malles is the largest community of Venosta valley and is the third largest community in the province of Bolzano, after Sarentino and Senales. Malles used to be called the "village of the seven towers". Unfortunately over the course of the centuries only five have been preserved.
One of these towers, the Fröhlich tower, was part of the 12th century Castel Fröhlich. This castle is very seldom mentioned in documents. A diary kept by Bianca Maria Sforza during a journey from Innsbruck to Milan describes the castle as a place of luxury with many Tyrolean rooms.
Among the historic works of art in Malles, which can be visited today, mention must be made of the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria, dating from the 12th century, with its crypt full of frescoes and of the 8th century Church of St. Benedict with its three alcoves; in the centre alcove Christ stands, flanked by two angels, and in the alcoves on the right and left Pope Gregory and St. Stephen are represented.
You will come across a particular curiosity in the community of Malles, or more exactly in Plano (1,600 m a.s.l.): because of its direct proximity to the summit of the Spitzige Lun, the sun rises and sets twice, because it hides behind the high mountain peak. Sad to say, the village, one of the most typical of this region, has often been damaged by fire. Its present aspect reflects only partially the original architecture.