|Merano (Italian, now most common in English; German: Meran, also used in English; Ladin: Meran; Archaic (857 AD): Mairania; Latin: Merona; many of the region's Italian languages/dialects use Meran), is a town in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy. Generally best known for its spa resorts, it is located inside a basin, surrounded by mountains standing up to 3,335 m (11,000 ft), at the entrance to the Passeier Valley, the Vinschgau (Val Venosta) and the Ultental (Val d'Ultimo) valleys.
In the past the town has been a popular place of residence for several scientists and artists, who appreciated its mild climate.
Among the town's landmarks are the Museum of Tourism, which was opened in the spring of 2003 and shows the historical development of tourism in the province, and the botanic garden. Both sites are located in the Trauttmansdorff Castle.
After the county had been handed over to the Habsburg family in 1363 after the abdication of Countess Margarete Maultasch of Tyrol, in 1420 Friedrich IV moved the court to Innsbruck. Merano subsequently lost its predominant position and almost all its importance as an economic hub across the roads connecting Italy to Germany. The important mint was also moved to Hall in 1577.
The Tyrolean struggle for freedom of 1809 drew attention again to Merano. In that year, on the Küchelberg above the city, the Tyroleans eked out a victory against the French and Bavarians troops.
The county was later restored on the person of Anna Maria Josephine Plochl, morganatic wife of Archduke Johann of Austria. After World War I, Merano became part of Italy with the rest of the province of Bolzano-Bozen.
The city's handball team is one of the most important of Italy, winner of the scudetto in 2005. The ice hockey team won two national championships, but it is currently playing in the Second Division (A2 series).
Each September, the Gran Premio Merano takes place in the Maia Racecourse; this is the most famous Italian Steeplechase.