Aica, a small locality of about 480 inhabitants located at an altitude of 730 m, is not far from the imposing fort complex of Fortezza/Franzensfeste.
The Church of St. Nicholas
It is said that the Church of St. Nicholas was built in 1402 on the site of what was previously a small chapel and the works were terminated approximately in 1464. The frescoes above the door of the church were only discovered during subsequent restorations in 1985 and are probably the work of the renowned sculptor, Michael Pacher. A number of wooden sculptures dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century are exhibited in the cemetery chapel. The pointed steeple with its four bells also dates back to this period.
The old Linden Tree – A monumental natural relic
An old linden tree stands near the walls of the cemetery enclosing the Church of St. Nicholas. Standing 22 m tall with a 17 m trunk measuring 6.25 m in diameter, the old tree dominates this idyllic spot. Since the trunk is broken and is held together with iron rods, the age of the tree can no longer be determined although it is believed to be a few hundred years old.
The chestnut trees of Köstental Valley
East of Aica at an altitude of 700 m, lies the Köstental chestnut orchard in a conservation zone. During the Medieval Period, the chestnut (also known as the poor man’s bread) was a staple food of the population but nowadays it is a sought-after delicacy forming part of the classical South Tyrolean cuisine. Today, the traditional fruit is a rarity in the Sout Tyrolean cuisine and the highlight of the traditional Törggelen
in the Isarco Valley.