Trento City Guide
For many centuries, Trento was Italy's gateway to central Europe and this location has left its mark on the town. You can see it in the medieval defensive fortresses built to protect the region and in the German-Austrian influences on regional cuisine. Trento offers a delightful and unique mixture of history, local culture and art, but what actually sets this picturesque town apart is that it allows you to get easily close to nature and enjoy numerous sports activities in the Dolomites.
The historic centre of Trento is mostly pedestrian so you can explore the major landmarks at your own pace. The rest of the town is cycle-friendly and it's worth renting a bike in order to make the most of your time. The heart of the city is Piazza del Duomo, a square flanked by medieval buildings and boasting a gracious fountain dedicated to Neptune. You can marvel at the cathedral's frescoed interiors or the clock tower of the stone Palazzo Pretorio. The palazzo houses the Diocesan Museum, which holds a collection of religious art from the region and beyond.
From the piazza take a stroll down Via Belenzani and have a look at its Renaissance buildings. Although faded, the intricate frescoes decorating a few of these venerable houses have earned the street the title of the most beautiful in town. Another major historical attraction in Trento is the Castello di Buonconsiglio, which is the largest castle in the region. This medieval stone fortress has not one but two museums on-site where you can explore a variety of historical objects – furniture, artwork and many other artefacts.
Trento might be steeped in history but beyond its medieval castles and churches, you can find attractions that will bring you back to more recent times. The Museum of Aeronautics near Trento airport is a quirky venue where you can see historic aircraft up close. Some of the fighters on display at the museum are the only ones surviving of their models – so you won't be able to see them anywhere else in the world today. Rare planes that have survived the WWI and WWII are not something you see every day, so make the time to visit this curious venue.
The recently opened Museum of Sciences of Trento, or simply MUSE, is the most modern place in town. It is located inside a striking pyramidal glass building designed by Renzo Piano, one of Italy's most celebrated architects. The interior is no less impressive, with glass displays and cleverly arranged exhibitions complemented by interactive elements. The halls allow visitors to learn about the geology of the Dolomites, as well as about the rich flora and fauna of the mountains. You can explore taxidermy, rocks and other natural objects or you can just pop into the greenhouse and admire the living nature that surrounds you. Bring your kids along and you can carry out experiments together learning about the region and the entire planet in a fun, hands-on way.
Rustic cuisine and stunning mountains
Trento is located in the heart of a celebrated wine-producing region known for its sparkling wines. So if you want to explore wineries or restaurants, you have arrived at the right place. Drinking wine on its own is fun but what's even better is pairing it with the many specialities of the regional cuisine. Hearty vegetable and meat soups, traditional breads and polenta dumplings are just some of the typical foods you can expect to sample in Trento. The local cuisine is very much Italian in its flavour, yet you can notice some Austrian influences, too. Beer is as popular here as wine and strudel is a typical dessert. You can try out a lot of different drinks and meals in Trento.
While the town has its attractions, there's no denying that most travellers visit Trento for the numerous sports activities that can be practised in the surrounding mountains. Lakes, glaciers, virgin forests and hillsides dotted with tiny villages make the Brenta Dolomites breathtaking in any season. Come in winter for a chance to ski down the slopes, or in summer if you are more into hiking and cycling in the sunshine.
The local festivals and pageants remain a part of local culture that is somewhat obscure to visitors. Christmas markets are the norm in winter, jazz and wine festivals are held throughout the entire region in summer while in February locals don traditional costumes for a lively celebration of folklore, food and drink during a vibrant pageant. Mark the dates on your calendar and you will enjoy an unforgettable visit.