Italy is hailing it as a homecoming. Tyrolian nationalists are threatening attacks. But to the iceman, it’s just another trek across the Alps.
Seven years after hikers discovered the superbly preserved, 5,000-year-old body of a man on a glacier and carried it across the unmarked border to Austria, the Bronze Age mummy is coming back to Italy sometime this month.
Authorities built a museum in the city of Bolzano, in what was once the Bank of Austria, to house the mummy, which has been kept under glacial conditions in Innsbruck, Austria.
But they are keeping the transfer date secret, partly as a result of threats from nationalists who do not recognize Italy’s annexation of the region after World War I.
The body was discovered in 1991 by German excursionists on the Similaun Glacier at about 10,000 feet. An ax and knife were also found, suggesting he had trekked to that height in search of game.