Trento is a city in Northern Italy in the region of Trentino – Alto Adige. The city is located in a picturesque valley at the head of the Adige River at the foot of the Alps between Verona and Bolzano. Not far from Trento there are beautiful lakes – Garda, Caldonazzo, Levico and Toblino.
The old city of Trento is an interesting historical and cultural monument, an ancient castle, churches and palaces. In recent years the Old Town has been extensively renovated. Also Trento is a city that can offer not only monuments, palaces and castles with a rich history, but also a relaxing atmosphere, interesting cultural program, cuisine and excellent opportunities for outdoor activities.
History of Trento
The history of Trento begins around the 4th century BC. Many researchers believe that the city was founded by the Celts. In the 1st century B.C., Trento was conquered by the Romans and became part of the Roman Empire. Thanks to its favorable location, the city was of great strategic and commercial importance.
Old Town of Trento
Firstly Trento developed as a military settlement: on one side the city was bounded by the river Adige, on the other three sides by walls and moats with square towers and powerful gates. The main entrance to the city was protected by two big round towers. The layout of the city was strict and orderly.
Trento in winter
In the 4th century, with the collapse of the Roman Empire, Trento fell under the power of the church. In the sixth century Trento was conquered by the Goths. Further the city and the region were conquered by the Langobards, later the Franks and the Bavarians, who made continuous raids on the territory of Trentino – Alto Adige.
At the end of the 10th century, Trento was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. In the middle of the 11th century, Emperor Conrad II created the bishopric of Trent, to which he granted significant land holdings in South Tyrol and the status of a principality.
Over time, the city’s importance declined and it came under the influence of the counts of Tyrol. In the 16th century, the bishopric fell under the protectorate of the Austrian Habsburgs, who effectively subjugated the bishopric. Nevertheless, Trento maintained formal independence until the Napoleonic Wars. The principality included quite extensive territories in South Tyrol, on both banks of the Adige River.
During the Napoleonic wars (late 18th and early 19th centuries) the city was occupied by the armies of Bonaparte. After this period, the city was returned to the Austrian Empire. Trento became part of the Austrian district of Tyrol and lost its autonomy. In the 19th century Trento became part of Italy.
Streets of Trento
Since the mid-20th century, Trento and the region have experienced an economic and cultural boom thanks to its wide autonomy.
When is the best time to visit Trento?
It all depends on your preferences and what period of the year you prefer. Trento is beautiful in winter – snowy peaks of the Alps, winter sports, in spring when everything is in bloom, in summer it is fresh and cool and in the fall – beautiful nature and good weather. The smallest number of tourists here in April, October and November.
Cuisine and Catering
There are many food outlets in Trento with both local and Italian cuisine as well as fast food outlets.
Among the dishes and drinks, we recommend trying the local wines and cognacs, cheeses (Asiago, mozzarella, Caciotta, Robiola, Tosela,Vezzena, Spressa etc), sausages and cured meats, polenta, apple strudel.
Attractions in Trento
Cathedral Square (Piazza Duomo) is the main square of the historical center of Trento with interesting architecture and beautiful historic buildings.
Piazza Duomo in Trento
The following landmarks are located here:
- The Square Tower (Torre Civica), an ancient 12th century stone tower decorated with a clock and bell tower. The tower is 46.5 meters high.
- Neptune Fountain – one of the most important monuments of the city in the 18th century, topped with a statue of Neptune.
- Fountain of the Eagle – a small fountain in Piazza Duomo, topped with a stone sculpture of an eagle.
- San Vigillo Cathedral – the main church of the city, which was built in the thirteenth century on the site of an ancient church dedicated to San Vigillo, the patron saint of Trento. Most of the bishops of Trento are buried in the cathedral.
- Around the square there are various historical buildings and palazzos, historical monuments.
The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is an ancient church from the 16th century.
Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
Palazzo delle Albere is a Renaissance style mansion, built in the mid-16th century. It is a fortified building, which is a square fortification with four corner towers.
Palazzo delle Albere
The Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento is one of the main attractions and symbols of the city, a magnificent castle from the 13th century. The castle was built for defensive purposes on a rocky hill. Its present appearance is the result of centuries of additions and alterations.
The oldest part of the castle is in Romanesque style with original elements of the old castle of the thirteenth century, which was rebuilt in 1440 and completed a large round tower.
In the early 16th century the castle was rebuilt in Renaissance style, later in Baroque style.
Castle in Trento (Castello del Buonconsiglio)
Cesare Battisti Mausoleum on Doss Trento – located on a high hill (308 meters) on the right bank of the Adige. Here are the remains of an ancient early Christian church from the 4th century AD.
The mausoleum is 16 marble columns 14 meters high on a round pedestal.
Mausoleum of Cesare Battisti on the hill of Doss Trento
Interesting towers of Trento :
Wang’s Tower is an early 13th century tower built by Bishop Federico Wang. Designed to protect the hill of Doss Trento.
The Green Tower is a mid-15th-century stone tower.
Green Tower in Trento
Trento on the map of Italy
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Weekend in Trento
Not surprisingly, it has preserved many monuments of this culture. The history of the city continued even after the decline of the empire: Trento has managed to absorb the customs of the most diverse peoples of both northern and southern Europe, creating its own authentic image. Nowadays, Europeans also associate it with Christmas in the Alps. Its Christmas market has become truly internationally renowned.
What to see
Piazza Duomo, the Cathedral of San Vigilio and the Neptune Fountain
In the 16th century San Vigilio was the site of the Council of Trent of the Catholic Church, which initiated the Counter-Reformation against Protestantism.
The cathedral is a three-nave Romanesque church with paintings and sculptures from the early Christian period to the 19th century. Especially valuable are frescoes from the fourth century and canvases from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The top of the facade has a huge round window (roson) and the bottom is decorated with a majestic portal.
Cathedral of San Vigilio / www.shutterstock.com
The cathedral is in the center of the piazza, which also houses the 13th-century Palazzo Pretorio, the Town Hall Tower and the sixteenth-century Casuffi-Rella houses. Piazza Duomo, or cathedral square, is still the focal point of city life.
San Vigilio facade rose / www.shutterstock.com
In the center of the piazza is the Neptune Fountain, designed by sculptor Francesco Antonio Gongo in 1769. In addition to the statue of Neptune, which crowns the fountain, it is also decorated with tritons, seahorses and other sculptural groups made by the sculptor Stefano Salteri. The fountain is a true symbol of Trento.
Piazza Duomo and the Neptune Fountain / www.shutterstock.com
Town Hall Tower and Palazzo Pretorio
At the eastern end of Piazza Duomo rises the first residence of the bishops, called Palazzo Pretorio, as well as the Torre di Piazza, or Tower of the Town Hall, where the municipality was located. It was built in the eleventh century. During the Council of Trient and on the occasion of important people coming to town, it was decorated with illuminations and fireworks and cannons were fired from the top. Today Palazzo Pretorio houses the Diocesan Museum of the Tridentum (as Trento used to be called).
View of Piazza Duomo and Palazzo Pretorio / www.shutterstock.com
Castello del Buonconsiglio
Castello del Buonconsiglio, or Buonconsiglio Castle, is the largest castle complex in the entire Trentino-Alto Adige region. From the thirteenth to the eighteenth century it was the residence of the bishops who ruled in Trento. The castle, located just above the city, consists of many buildings of different eras, surrounded by a fortress wall.
View of Buonconsiglio Castle / www.shutterstock.com
Castelvecchio is the oldest part of the castle. The Grand Palazzo was originally built outside the ancient fortress walls of Trento. The magnificent frescoes that decorate the interior are by painters Girolamo Romanino, Dosso and Battista Dossi and Marcello Fogolino. The Torre del Aquila, or Eagle Tower, has three floors. It was painted by Maestro Vencheslao with frescoes depicting the twelve months. This cycle of frescoes is considered a jewel of pan-European Gothic painting.
In the castle… / Shutterstock.com
The Casa Cazuffi-Rella houses are two adjacent houses built in the 16th century on the Piazza Duomo. Their facades are decorated with sixteenth-century paintings: the left house depicts scenes from ancient mythology, the right depicts themes of virtue, time, the triumph of love, and Apollo and Abundance. “The Staircase of Virtue” is the culmination of the cycle of frescoes. Thus, the houses can be considered a “moral book,” open with its pages to the square.
Casuffi-Rell Houses / www.Shutterstock.com
MUSE – Museum of Science
The innovative science museum MUSE opened in Trento on July 27, 2013. In it you can learn about the interaction between science, technology and nature.
Ferrari Wine Cellars
Ferrari is one of Italy’s largest wine producers, known far beyond its borders. To visit its wine cellars is a fascinating excursion into the history of sparkling wines.
Ferrari Vineyards © Molchen
Millions of bottles of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero are aged in a huge underground labyrinth before they become the famous golden-colored sparkling wine. Darkness and stillness are required for the “right” bubbles to emerge. Then the bottle’s own yeast will do all the work. Endless stacks of bottles generate a resounding echo, as if telling the age-old and ever-repeating story of grapes becoming champagne.
Trento’s cuisine has had many influences, but by and large it is predominantly Tyrolean and Austrian. Its three symbolic products are spätzle, cheese and apples.
Dumplings in broth / www.marisalaurito.com
Many traditional dishes are based on dumplings (“kanederli” as they are called here), large dumplings. They are made from bread, milk, eggs, flour, sausage, lard and parsley, and served in broth and without. You can read more about them here: Tyrolean-style dumplings. Other popular dishes include polenta, patao (cornmeal soup with sauerkraut), osei skampadi (meat rolls held together by a wooden stick, fried in lard and sage), krauti (sauerkraut stewed with sausages and pork).
Goulash with dumplings / www.scattidigusto.it
We should also mention such delicacies as “tortei”, “pinza”, “patugo” (pasta made of grated vegetables). Also corned beef with white beans, pink trout and other river fish, sausages “luganega” and “mortadella” as well as mushrooms and game.
Sweets: dzelten (a Christmas treat), strudel, fugaza (sweet Easter focaccia), a pie filled with “fregaloti” – sugar, almonds, butter, flour and walnuts).
Fregaloti pie with wild berries / www.lacortedeifornai.it
The local cheeses are varied and very tasty: “tosela” (fresh cheese) and aged cheeses (“vezzena”, “grana trentino”, etc.).
How to get there
Trento has Gianni Caprole airport, but it serves only small planes. Nevertheless, it is easily accessible from the four international airports of Bolzano, Verona, Venice and Bergamo .
Trento is on the train line that leads to Brennero. Trains to Innsbruck and Verona, including high-speed trains, pass through there. The station is located in Piazza Dante, very close to the city center. Timetables and prices can be found on the official websites of the Italian Railways, Austrian Railways, and German Railways.
To get to Trento by car, take the Brennero-Modena freeway (A22), connecting in the south with the A1 Milan-Naples and A4 Milan-Venice freeways. All three exits are convenient: Trento Sud, Trento Centro and Trento Nord.
Office of the information and tourist agency of Trento (ATP Trento) Via R. Belenzani, 19 Tel. +39 0461-884169 [email protected]