The people come to the town square of Glorenza and see the façade of Grüner Baum, and when they enter the hotel, they are surprised. The core of the house dates back to around 1500, the wood-panelled "Stube" room is 300 years old, wooden stoves and floors date back to the late 19th century.
Historic walls and modern lifestyle make up a timeless unit. This impression is also underlined by the choice of materials: satin glass, nebbia-coloured leather, double and triple woven fabrics, white oiled wood surfaces, messing lamps as reminders of the turn of the century.
At the Val Venosta's far end, just shy of the Swiss border, lies Glorenza (Glurns), a tiny city entirely enclosed by its medieval walls and snug in the embrace of some of Italy’s wildest, snowiest Alps. Gasthof Grüner Baum’s typically Tirolean façade dominates the cobbled central square and what awaits inside is unexpected. The inn’s some 500-year-old bones combine with an arresting, if ever graceful, contemporary refit. Light filters across floors, stark white walls are offset by pale, patinaed boiserie and a scattering of antiques. There are just ten rooms: all unique, all generous of scale and featuring a beguiling mix of elegant, often witty, modern furniture, vintage curios and unfussy, but rather luxurious, linen. Spring was dragging its heels the weekend I happened upon Glorenza and it was wet, with a chill sweeping down from the still snowy Ortler peaks. Perfect weather to thaw out in my room’s freestanding ‘egg’ bath, pore over a history of local frescoes in the library's calm and to linger over an earthy, big-flavoured dinner and an elegant white in the pretty, pared-back stuben.