José Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, succumbed to the magic of the elephant’s journey when he learnt of the history of the pachyderm in question and dedicated a book to it. What’s more, the elephant’s journey is no mythical story. In 1551/1552, an elephant complete with a large entourage stopped in Brixen around the turn of the year and stayed there for 14 days. It was a gift from the Portuguese King John III to his nephew, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, and was on its way from India to Vienna. At that time the exotic animal was a sensation: it was applauded by bishops and cardinals in Trento and received in triumph in Bolzano. In Brixen, too, the townsfolk formed a guard of honour. It is no surprise that the elephant left a lasting impression: today’s Hotel Elephant continues to have a similar effect on its guests.