The culture

in the upper Vinschgau Valley

Old treasures

with history

Welcome to the market town of Mals, also known as the ‘Seven Towers’ due to the seven imposing towers that characterize the village. The municipality is located in South Tyrol in the Vinschgau district, more precisely in the Obervinschgau, has around 5,230 inhabitants and is one of the oldest settlements in South Tyrol.

It is not only holidaymakers and guests who enjoy the wonderful location of Mals; the Romans were already living in the area.
In the 17th century, Mals was elevated to the status of a market town by Claudia Medici, who also gave it two markets. These are the Georgimarkt (plant market) and the Gollimarkt (cattle market).

Embark on an unforgettable journey through time and discover the rich history behind these impressive buildings. Discover the hidden treasures that await you behind the old walls and towers.

Parish church “Maria Himmelfahrt”

A Gothic masterpiece

The parish church in Mals is an important church in Val Venosta and is known for its Gothic architecture. It is unclear when the church was built, but there is a first mention of it in an agreement from 1292 by Goswin. Furthermore, a letter of indulgence from 1297 has been preserved, which was issued by 10 bishops in Rome. After a consecration by Bishop Johannes in the 15th century, the church was rebuilt and enlarged or renovated in the course of this. The conversion probably led to the Gothicization of the parish church.

The parish church did not have a steeple at first, but it is assumed that there was a tower similar to those of the old churches in Mals. Today, the church has a Gothic spire with harmonious bells, which was built in 1530.

St. Benedikt´s Church

A jewel of history

The Benedictine church in Mals is an important cultural heritage that dates back to the 9th century and thus plays an important role in the history of Vinschgau. The Romanesque chapel was built as early as the Carolingian period, in the 9th century, and since then it has undergone numerous changes, making it a reflection of the different eras.

Over the centuries, the church has been extended and renovated, but its unique architectural beauty has always been preserved. Particularly noteworthy are the frescoes from the early Middle Ages, which were discovered at the beginning of the 20th century and bring the history of the region to life.

St. Benedict’s Church is not only a place of prayer, but also an important symbol of the cultural identity of the Venosta Valley. Its tranquil and venerable atmosphere invites visitors to experience the history and spirituality of the region. A visit to this historic landmark is an unforgettable experience that touches the soul and offers a deep insight into the rich history of Vinschgau.

The Fröhlich tower

Part of the Mals skyline

The Fröhlich Tower in Mals, built in the 13th century, is a striking symbol of the eventful past of the Venosta Valley. The tower, named after the former inhabitants, the Lords of Fröhlich, an important noble family of the region, once served as a defensive structure.

Although the Fröhlich Tower cannot be entered today, it still attracts numerous visitors who want to admire its imposing appearance and learn more about the history associated with this venerable building. Its massive walls tell of days long past and lend the surroundings a touch of medieval flair.

The Marienberg Monastery

Silent beauty

The Marienberg monastery, majestically enthroned above the Venosta Valley, was founded in the 12th century by the brothers Eberhard and Ulrich II of Tarasp. Since its foundation, it has embodied a deep spiritual significance and a rich historical past. As a center of faith, culture and knowledge, it has played an important role in the development of the municipality of Malles/Mals and the entire Venosta Valley over the centuries.

With its 365 windows and doors, artistic frescoes and precious relics, the Marienberg monastery attracts visitors from all over the world. A walk through the historic walls of the monastery is like a journey through the centuries, offering deep insights into the history and spirituality of Val Venosta/Vinschgau.

Today, the Marienberg Monastery is not only a place of contemplation, but also a lively cultural center that hosts concerts, exhibitions and spiritual events. A visit to Marienberg Monastery is an unforgettable experience that touches body, mind and soul and offers a deep insight into the rich history and spirituality of Val Venosta/Vinschgau.

St. Johann Monastery in Müstair

The UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Engadin

The Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist in Müstair in the Münstertal (CH) is a very well preserved monastery from the Carolingian period dating back to the early Middle Ages, which can still be admired today. The monastery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

Initially founded as a monastery for men, it was inhabited and managed exclusively by Benedictine nuns from the 12th century onwards. The history of the well-preserved monastery complex stretches back over 1200 years to the time of the great Frankish king Charlemagne. Recent tree-ring analyses of the beams confirm the story handed down in Val Müstair that the monastery was founded by Charlemagne himself in 775.

Take a journey through 1200 years of monastery, art and building history and visit the monastery museum in the Plantaturm, where archaeological finds, art treasures and everyday monastic life from the history of the monastery are on display.

Bunker in the Vinschgau Valley

Between steel and concrete

At the end of the 1930s, a series of anti-tank barriers and bunkers were built along the Reschen border to establish a line of defense against Hitler’s invasion. The bunkers served as shelters for the civilian population and military units during the war and were part of the Alpine Wall.

In November 1939, the Duce gave the order to begin extensive fortification work on the northern border. By the end of January 1940, a first defense system with 66 installations was already in place in South Tyrol. Construction work was stopped in October 1942 after repeated protests from the German Reich.

Today, some of the architectural relics from the interwar period are still preserved and embedded in the surrounding orchards and pastures, while others have been forgotten or demolished. Those interested in history should not miss out on a guided tour of the interesting bunker facilities, although this is only possible with a guide. The Etschquelle bunker/bunker no. 20 and the Plamort anti-tank barrier above the village of Reschen are particularly worth seeing. These tours guarantee an insight into a dark chapter of the 20th century.

The Traditions

in Mals and surroundings


For winter sprouting

The breaking of the glass is an old tradition that remains alive every year in Mals in Val Venosta. On the first Sunday of Lent, “Funkensonntag”, the locals gather to drive out the winter. There are three different places in Mals where this custom is celebrated. Depending on which part of the village you live in, people go to the respective “Scheibnschlogegg” to beat glowing wooden discs into the night and symbolically drive away the winter. Late in the evening, the “Hex” is lit to the loud cheers of the village community – a fascinating spectacle that unites the community and celebrates the transition to spring.


a centuries-old tradition

The Krampus custom has a centuries-old tradition in some villages in the Upper Venosta Valley, including Mals, and has always been held every year on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, i.e. on 5 December. In addition to the Krampus, the procession also includes St. Nicholas with angels and Knecht Ruprecht.

The so-called “Nikolausaufwecken” takes place in the afternoon, where schoolchildren parade through the alleyways with bells, a trumpet and lots of noise. Afterwards, St. Nicholas presents them with small bags full of peanuts, mandarins and sweets on the main square.

In the evening, usually at 7:30 pm, the big parade begins with various groups from the surrounding area. Led by St. Nicholas and the angels, the Krampus parade through the village to the main square. After St. Nicholas’ speech, the Krampuses are allowed to mingle with the people and are also happy to make use of their rods.

The Krampus tradition in Mals includes stick larvae and sack larvae.


Close to home

Sacred Heart of Jesus Day is the 2nd Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi. In the evening of the following Sunday, Sacred Heart bonfires are lit on the surrounding mountains and hills throughout the country, depicting a cross, a heart or other shapes and lettering.

This old tradition is intended to give special expression to the bond with the homeland and is a sign of the Sacred Heart Vow of 1796. At that time, the provincial councils of Tyrol met in Bolzano to discuss the situation caused by the French troops under Napoleon. The Abbot of Stams, Sebastian Stöckl, appealed to them to entrust our province of South Tyrol to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus ask for divine assistance. Since then, the vow has been renewed annually and the fires lit on the mountain and slopes as a sign of devotion and gratitude.

In Mals you have a good view of the surrounding fires of the various neighboring villages such as Tartsch, Burgeis, Laatsch, Schleis Glurns and many more.

Alpine cattle drives

Nature and rural culture in harmony

As the alpine summer draws to a close, the cows return to their stables and are given a festive welcome in the respective village. The cattle drive, also known as the transhumance, has always been a traditional highlight in the farmers’ annual cycle, where nature and farming culture merge in harmony.
Cows are elaborately decorated with beautiful wreaths and the calves are adorned with fresh flowers. It is a celebration for young and old as a sign of gratitude for a successful grazing season, framed with farm fare, music and folk dancing, but the Goasslschnöller also ensure a good atmosphere with their performances.

The cattle drive can also be admired here in Mals, usually at the beginning of September.