DANCE WITH THE WAVES
Colourful boats dance on the waves of the river Talfer. This is a novelty in Bolzano. Until recently the river wasn’t navigable – it was simply too dangerous. But recent measures to renaturate the Talfer have eliminated the dangerous bits, thereby including it in the recreational area. Weirs have been eliminated and the watercourse now runs freely, slowing down the water flow and re-creating natural side-arms. In this way the river has become more fish- and people-friendly, enabling canoeists to ply the waters in the warmer seasons.
The canoeists are both local people from Bolzano and also from Trento. If the minimum flow-rate continues to stay at around 15 to 18 cubic metres per second, then the town’s river can develop into an attractive watercourse which can host international sports competitions. The bright boats are already an attraction for passersby. The Talfer bridge and the other cycle bridges over the Talfer make for great free vantage points. Canoeing here requires some basic skills because it can get quite dangerous.
Talking of danger: the Talfer was a menace to the town for hundreds of years, responsible for many severe floods. The first protective walls to the right and to the left were built in the 13th/14th centuries. Over the subsequent centuries these were extended, becoming today’s promenades, lined with ancient trees, with numerous benches and flower-beds. But lasting protection was only afforded by the construction of weirs further upstream, in the Sarntal valley. In the 1970’s this enabled the creation of a recreation park on either side of what had been a very wide river bed. Here you can find lawns for sunbathing, children’s playgrounds, facilities for various types of ball games, an exercise trail, cycle lanes and a skatepark.
All these facilities are free and are much appreciated by locals and visitors alike. With the addition of canoeing, the Talfer now has an added attraction.