A view from Piazza Duomo of Palazzo Pretorio, the Neptune fountain and the Cattedrale di San Vigilio.

Visiting Trento, in mountainous northern Italy

In En-Route, Europe, Italy, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

A Trentino city rich in culture and warmth

We love it when an opportunity gives you the chance to discover a new destination. That’s precisely what happened when Traverse Events announced that their 2019 annual conference would be held at Trento, Trentino in north Italy.
Café Italia in Piazza Duomo in the centre of Trento with green awnings covering the outdoor seating area with beautifully painted walls depicting classical Italian figures on the three storey renaissance building
Café Italia in Piazza Duomo in the centre of Trento

We jumped at the Early Bird tickets for the Traverse19 event, and a road trip was in the making.

Oh yes, it definitely had to be a road trip for us.

With Trento nestled at the foot of the Dolomites, there was lush countryside, lakes and mountain passes to discover.

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A view, from the castle, over the rooftops of the town with a church tower, and the mountains dominating.
Over the rooftops

A helpful guide

If your heading off on your own Italian adventure, than grab a copy of this DK Eyewitness book. I love planning road trips and these guides are so helpful. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of the back roads.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Italian wanderings, now you can grab the revised ccopy.

Add Trentino to your list

What I found surprising was that just 26 miles (40km) south of Trento was the northern tip of Lake Garda. Now I’ve recently fallen in love with the mountainous northern region of the Lake, but it is a bit of a magnet for tourists.
Looking west from the castle towards the Doss Trento Park in front of the Dolomite mountains
A view towards the Doss Trento
However, Trento has all the classic Italian charm and elegance that you’d wish for from an Italian city, yet it feels so authentic, honest and cherished by its residents. It’s an absolute gem and still quite undiscovered.
The front of Palazzo Geremia which is covered with faded frescos from top to bottom of the exterior.
Palazzo Geremia

More to Trento then meets the eye

The heart of the old town is reasonably small, and its chic Italian style flows amongst the rustic lanes. Not only does Trento have so much to offer as a mini-break, but it’s also a fantastic location to use as a base. From Trento, you can discover the Dolomites and stunning countryside within the Trentino region.
The view of Lake Toblino with Castle Toblino on the right against a backdrop of mountains
Castel Toblino on Lago de Toblino

Each evening you’ll be spoilt for choice on which family-run bistro to dine at. Delicious fresh pasta being served al-fresco along cobbled lanes, accompanied with a glass of the sparkling tipple ‘Trentodoc’.

Like a local you can soak up the welcoming atmosphere and enjoy the balmy evenings, you really won’t want to leave, we didn’t.

When in Rome

We had some delicious homecooked food while in Trento, don’t be put off that the menu may only be in Italian. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy, we did, even with our very limited Italian a smile goes a long way.

Historic past

The history in this region of Italy is fascinating, it was only in 1919 that Trentino was annexed to Italy. Prior to that, Trento was a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and elements of this era can still be seen throughout the city.
The exterior of a neoclassic building the houses the Trento Philharmonic.
The Trento Philharmonic
There’s such beautiful architecture along the ancient streets. Ornate façades on the noble palazzo’s, marble balconies with wooden shutters beyond, and who knows what palatial grandeur is behind.  
The exterior of Palazzo Quetta Alberti-Colico, again decorated top-to-bottom with frescos.
Palazzo Quetta Alberti-Colico

Italian chic

The polished pavements lead you to Trento’s Piazza Duomo. Within this stylish square is the Romanesque Duomo of San Vigilio built in the 12th/13th-century.
A view of the Cattedrale di San Vigilio & Palazzo Pretorio from the corner of Via Garibaldi Giuseppe.
The Cattedrale di San Vigilio & Palazzo Pretorio
Adjacent to the cathedral is the eye-catching Palazzo Pretorio, with its attractive 13th-century bell tower (Torre Civica). This was once the residence of the local Bishop; it is now home to a collection of baroque paintings.
A view from Piazza Duomo of Palazzo Pretorio, the Neptune fountain and the Cattedrale di San Vigilio.
A view from Piazza Duomo
Take a seat within this lovely picturesque square and enjoy the hustle and bustle of daily Italian life. And along with the colourful Renaissance buildings that encircle you, admire the Baroque Neptune Fountain, which was built in 1768.
Looking up at the Neptune Fountain with the Torre Civica in the background from the Piazza Duomo.
The Neptune Fountain
Looking towards Café Portici from the Piazza Duomo.
Café Portici

Good to know!

Be respectful in Italian churches, check before you enter that you are wearing the correct attire. You may not be able to head inside if you are wearing shorts, vests and mini-skirts.

Size isn’t everything

As mentioned, the old town of Trento is relatively small; however, quite a few of its historic buildings have been given a new lease of life. Renaissance buildings repainted in their original pastel colours and their lovely wooden and wrought iron balconies restored back to their former glory.
A classical building with a stone corner featuring an exterior balcony.
Stunning buildings
A street scene of Trento with pastel coloured four-storey buildings.
Pastel Colours
With most cities around the world, the best way to discover them is on foot, and Trento is no different.
The Casa al Canton, a five-storey build with unique design features
Casa Zabini-Zelgher (Casa al Canton)
A closeup of the detail on the front of the building with two Grecian figures supporting the structure.
Herculean effort
An archway under a three-storey historical tower.
A historical city entrance
Looking up at the Neptune Fountain with the Torre Civica in the background from the Piazza Duomo.
The Devil's in the detail
Just take to the streets and wander, turn after turn you’ll find intriguing archways, little alleys and welcoming piazzas.

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A peek in Trento’s castle

Trento was once encircled by a medieval city wall, a small section of this still remains along with a few of the towers. One of the most prominent buildings within Trento and erected next to the city wall is Castello del Buonconsiglio (Buonconsiglio Castle).
The Buonconsiglio Castle, and its surrounding walls, on an overcast evening.
Buonconsiglio Castle
Buonconsiglio Castle is a must to visit, there is so much to see within its ancient walls and gives a fantastic insight into Trento and its historical past.
The gardens of the Buonconsiglio Castle Museum looking back of the white stone castle on a bright sunny day with clear blue skies.
The gardens of the Buonconsiglio Castle Museum
As you climb higher and higher within the castle around the colonnades, you are greeted with an incredible view across Trento old town and the mountainous backdrop beyond.
A view from the back of the central courtyard of the castle looking over the view beyond.
Inside the Castle

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Trento & the surrounding region.  Why not check it out?

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Why not?

Start creating your own north Italian adventure and discover the historic town of Trento for yourself. You can fly into Venice or Verona. Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Or alternatively, discover more of Italy on a road trip like us. If you’re venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle.

Although, if you’re unable to bring your own car or you are flying into this lovely country give Rental Cars a go. They search multiple well-known car hire brands for the best deals.

Head to the hills

The joy of having your own wheels means you can head out into the countryside and discover the beautiful landscape. Driving to and from Trento was a delight, rows and rows of fruit trees and terraced vineyards. As we drove down through the narrow switchback roads around the mountains, the view across the fields was like looking at a very lush patchwork quilt.
A look over Lake Molveno, and the town of the same name, with mountains in the background.
Lake Molveno and the town of the same name
Open meadows with little yellow flowers bobbing in the light breeze and the smell of the high reaching pine trees were incredible. Local men in their little vans were parked up ready to set off truffle hunting with their trusty pooches by their side.

Trento & beyond

To discover more of this beautiful region, take a browse through the local Visit Trentino website. 

Our Audi convertible by the roadside with a vineyard in the background.

Enjoying the landscape

I would highly recommend a visit to Trento as it has incredible charm, a laid-back vibe, and you feel that you have discovered a slice of Italy that very few have.

Where we stayed

During our visit to Trento, we based ourselves at the Grand Hotel Trento. It was in a great location, just a few minutes’ walk to the old town.
The exterior of the Grand Hotel Trento.
Grand Hotel Trento
The hotel offered lots of amenities and also had a beautiful rooftop view across the city for you to enjoy. As we were on a road trip, it was ideal that it had ample underground parking.
The view from the hotel rooftop across the ochre tiled roofs of Trento with the Dolomite mountains in the background.
The view from the hotel rooftop

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Inspired to visit the Trentino region of Italy?

Culture, charm and incredible food.
Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com and open up a world of options. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.
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