Laives, the youngest of the eight cities of South Tyrol, is situated south of Bolzano, surrounded by a sea of apple orchards. The municipality of San Giacomo merges seamlessly with the quarter of the provincial capital of the same name. Laives is by no means a suburb but has its own proud history. Archaeological finds show that there already were iron age settlements in this region. Laives is first mentioned in the records in 1237. It did not become an independent municipality until 1819. In 1985 it became a city of South Tyrol.

The apple town Laives and the municipalities Pineta, San Giacomo and La Costa have circa 18.000 inhabitants. Laives is a melting pot of cultures and opposites. Germans and Italians live here side by side. Even if the German card game of choice is “Watten” while the Italians play “Briscola”, the lifestyles of the peoples have more and more cross-overs. At Christmas the traditional Zelten Christmas cake is eaten as much as the Italian Panettone. Village fêtes, Sacred-Heart fire, Törggelen, throwing rice at weddings and the easy-going lifestyle can appeal to both sides.

For a long time the apple town Laives was characterised by agriculture. In the 19th century it became an important centre for the mining of porphyry, for wood processing and for silk spinning.
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The landmark of the village is Chiesa di San Pietro, which is also reflected on the town’s coat of arms. The small church of San Pietro dates back to the 12th century and was once the chapel of Castello Lichtenstein. There are only a few ruins of the castle walls left today, but Chiesa di San Pietro has been preserved in its entirety.

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