An island in the mountains

An island in the mountains


A weekend in Lusérn, to discover Cimbrian traditions

Two days on Alpe Cimbra, in one of Italy’s most beautiful villages

  • 2 days
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  • Art and Culture, Taste

Did you know that in Trentino there is a place where the locals still speak an ancient language that survives in just a few areas of Italy? We are talking about Lusérn / Luserna, one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Medieval Villages, perched atop the Alpe Cimbra mountains. Cimbrian, a language imported in medieval times by populations of German origin, is still spoken here. Among stone houses and Alpine churches, you can still breathe the aura of the legends that the local people hands down from one generation to the next, like precious keepsakes to be treasured.

Lusérn is considered today a strategic destination for those who practice hiking in summer, since several trekking itineraries depart from the town center. In winter, Luserna welcomes cross-country and downhill skiing enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to ski lifts.

But what makes this village unique are its traditions, so different from those of other villages. When the evening falls, you have the impression of being on an island in the mountains, far from everything else, and as you look outside the village, where the forest begins, it seems as if ancient legends come to life, and the clever cute face of little Tüsele Marüsele peeps out from behind the trees… this is a story that the Luserna inhabitants are eager to share with you, perhaps over a plate of potato polenta, or rather, patàtana pult, as they call it around here.

Follow us on this two-day itinerary to discover Lusérn!


Day one, morning: On the Cimbrian Trail of the Imaginary

Haus von Prükk | © Haus von Prükk

Lusérn is about an hour and a half drive from Trento, on the central-southern edge of a large mountain pasture area that winds through Folgaria and Lavarone and, from there, reaches the Vezzena Pass. As soon as you arrive, take a five-minute break for a deep breath and enjoy the view over the Astico Valley!

Now, you are ready for your first walk. It is an easy excursion that, in particular, promises to delight the little ones. We are talking about the loop along the Cimbrian Trail of the Imaginary. It is an beautiful trail that traverses the woods and pastures of Luserna, and is inspired by legends and characters from the Cimbrian popular imagination, such as Frau Pertega and Tüsele Marüsele. There are about 7 km of walks, to be covered comfortably in a couple of hours, with a gentle height variance.

Since you are already here, don’t forget to stop at the Werk Lusérn fort, one of the most impressive structures of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, bearing witness to  the Great War on the Trentino front. Massively bombed in 1915, it is now undergoing large-scale restoration.

Note: During the summer, the interior of the Fort can be visited with a guide, according to predetermined times.


Day one, afternoon: Discovering all things Cimbrian

Haus von Prükk | © Haus von Prükk
Haus von Prükk | © Haus von Prükk

After getting to know the strange characters that populate the Cimbrian legends, you are ready to get to know the traditions and culture of this village. The most suitable place is the Haus von Prükk House-Museum in the centre of Lusérn.

It is an authentic nineteenth-century Cimbrian farmhouse, restored and made accessible to the public. As you explore the rooms and go from one floor to the next, you discover how a Cimbrian family of the time lived: indeed, the house still retains contemporary furnishings, utensils and clothes.

After this journey in the past, you have earned a tasty break: you can stop at the Ferdy restaurant bar for an aperitif or a traditional dinner.


Day one, evening: A romantic dinner


If you are looking for a special dinner, with a touch of romance, then we recommend Restaurant Lusernarhof. This typical Trentino Osteria is housed in a structure carved out of the renovation of three ancient Cimbrian houses, and offers unique and delicious mountain dishes, prepared with refined and unique flavours yielded by traditional Trentino ingredients.

The location is very welcoming, boasts a breathtaking view over the valley, and the menu products are of local origin though reinterpreted in a modern key: Vezzena cheese, mountain pasture butter, Luserna porcini mushrooms, Trentino speck, potato tortèl (pie), fresh vegetables from Val di Gresta and Alpine char. It offers a way to discover Trentino culture, sitting comfortably around a table!

Places to eat
Insider tips

Day two, morning: A walk very easy


After a rich and tasty breakfast, you are ready for another walk, this time a little more challenging, but within everyone’s reach.

The trail we recommend has a suggestive name: “On the bear’s tracks”. Indeed, although this large mammal has disappeared from Alpe Cimbra in the years immediately preceding the Great War, its imagery is still evoked in countless popular stories and legends. The route starts from the centre of Lusérn and loops over ten kilometres, traversing forests and pastures.


Day two, afternoon: To Lake Lavarone


Well, by now you are ready to leave Lusérn and return home, after loading up on nature walks, traditions, legends and tasty mountain cuisine.

However, before returning home do not forget to make a stop at Lake Lavarone for a picnic, an outdoor lunch, a refreshing dip or simply to stop and look at this Alpine lake, famous for being Sigmund Freud’s place of rest and meditation.

The lake is suitable for swimming, and has been awarded the Blue Flag for the excellent quality of its waters. It features two equipped beaches, where you can swim, rent a pedal or a rowing boat.