The architecture of South Tyrol is influenced by the region’s rich and varied history. Over the centuries, many noble families built castles, fortresses and villas in the region. Many churches and monasteries testify to the deep impact of religion in South Tyrol. When the area became annexed to the rest of Italy, a more rational style of architecture arrived which was dominated by clear geometrical shapes, solid materials and a focus on functionality. Today’s architecture is influenced by a need for sustainable use of historical buildings, the use of local materials and great respect for the surrounding landscape. In recent years, more and more architects have arrived that focus on modern, creative architecture.