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Where the view opens out before you

Exploring nature and history on foot

You’re pacing among snowy meadows or the autumnal majesty of the beech trees or the silvery leaves of the eternal olives, way off the beaten track. Then suddenly the view opens out, and your eyes fill with the beauty of the scene. The ruined castle makes a fine sight.

Trentino is a border land nestling among the mountains on one of Europe’s key north–south corridors. Its ridges and peaks are liberally sprinkled with the stately strongholds and bastions that watched over the highways and sent word to ward off impending attack.

Many of these buildings have been restored to their former glory as magnificent museums like Castel Thun and Castel Beseno. Many others have lapsed into ruin as they have changed hands or submitted to the ravages of time. But the well-kept relics offer eloquent testament to the vicissitudes of the distant past.

Come with us and discover the tell-tale remnants of history guarded in the ruins of the castles that made it, from stretches of fortified wall to turrets with battlements. Keep your eyes peeled and your imagination primed and you can piece together the fascinating jigsaw of days gone by, stepping back into the shoes of an alert sentry or elegant castle lord.

#1

Segonzano castle

A theatre of conflict in the Napoleonic wars and star of an exquisite watercolour by German master Albrecht Dürer, the castle ruins stand amid the terraced vineyards of the Cembra valley. Climb up the hill to breathe the air of a bygone age, and listen to the crystalline song of the Avisio brook running just below.

#2

Castel Pietra

Whether the story linking the founding of the castle to Attila the Hun is apocryphal or not, these ruins certainly surprise every walker who ventures into the Val Canali. The route is suitable only for experienced hikers, but the site can also be admired from afar, standing out in all its beauty against the jagged lines of the Pale di San Martino mountains behind.

#3

Castel Belfort

Consolidated in a major conservation project in 2013, this ruined castle guards a murky legend and a splendid view. You can drink it all in along the stairway that leads you halfway up the largely intact tower.

#4

Bastione di Riva

How about climbing a white limestone tower that juts impressively over the historic town of Riva del Garda for a fabulous view of the lake? All you have to do is choose whether to tramp the gentle incline of the paved path or hop into the new elevator. The history of the period of Venetian rule is laid out for you to imagine.

Published on 19/10/2021