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Schnals Valley Glacier observation deck
Photograph: Alex Filz

This futuristic new observation deck offers spectacular views over the Italian Alps

The platform in South Tyrol overlooks the spot where a 5,300-year-old ‘glacier mummy’ was found

By
Huw Oliver
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In 1991, Ötzi reappeared. He was 5,300 years old. He was carrying a bow, a quiver of arrows and a copper axe – so a hunter of some description. And, archaeologists say, he may well have been killed during a skirmish with a rival tribe here in the secluded heights of Italy’s South Tyrol.

Now, on a nearby mountainside, a spectacular new observation deck – Ötzi Peak 3251m – aims to point out the spot where he perished all those many centuries ago.

Perched on the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge, not far from the Austrian border, the platform’s main feature is a ‘geometric viewing funnel’ that directs visitors’ line of sight to the rocky ridge where Ötzi’s mummified corpse was discovered nearly 30 years ago. 

Schnals Valley Glacier observation deckPhotograph: Alex Filz

Created by Italian design studio Network of Architecture (NOA), Ötzi Peak 3251m is held up by pillars that give hikers an impression of floating in mid-air. It is built almost entirely of Corten steel, which the designers say provides ‘a modern touch that also blends in with the landscape’.

At a height of – yup, you guessed it – 3,251 metres, the observation deck offers predictably breathtaking 360-degree Alpine views. The most epic panoramas are found at the end of the viewing funnel, where a glass railing allows you to peer down at the glacier and valley below.

The attraction is already open to visitors – though you’ll obviously have to make sure you can actually travel to Italy before you make the trip. Once you’re there, you’ll have to reach the platform either by hiking up the Grawand mountain or via the Schnalstal Glacier Cable Car. Just make sure to hold on tight – you don’t want to be another Ötzi in five millennia’s time, do you?

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