An easy-going weekend in San Lorenzo in Banale
One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites
- 2 days
- March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Walk among stone and wooden houses surrounded by a vast expanse of greenery at the foot of the Dolomites. Named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy by the Borghi Più Belli d’Italia association, San Lorenzo in Banale is steeped in a sense of peace and tranquillity. It almost feels as if you can breathe it in the clean air of the Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta (nature park).
San Lorenzo in Banale is part of San Lorenzo Dorsino and it is a 45-minute drive from Trento. Located in the heart of the Val d’Ambiez, which is considered the gateway to the Brenta Dolomites, it is the ideal place to get back to nature as you walk among pastures along mountain paths. You can then wander through the narrow streets and porticoes of the village, which was formed by joining together seven ancient fiefs known as the “seven villas”. They each had their own distinctive features that can still be seen today.
This is a place where you can take things slowly and savour every moment of your time. Here are a few tips for a two-day break.
Find a fresh sense of balance among the meadows of San Lorenzo in Banale
Perhaps it is its location in the Comano UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, or maybe the secret lies in the quiet lanes and the stone and wooden homes that seem to encourage visitors to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. Whatever it is, San Lorenzo in Banale seems to have the capacity to revitalize people and many professional well-being experts have decided to work in and around the village.
For example, Il Ritorno is a farm that offers reiki sessions and Breuss treatment outdoors, among the woodland breeze and the aromas of medicinal herbs. Afterwards, you can enjoy one of their “agrisnacks”, with vegetables from biodynamic plots, cured meats and cheeses that are made locally. Alternatively, unwind during a yoga session in natural surroundings with yoga instructor Anne-Michele Hambye. In addition, no wellness-oriented stay in Trentino would be complete without a trip to the spa in the Grand Hotel Terme di Comano, which is just a short distance from San Lorenzo in Banale.
If you visit the village during the week, make sure you also look into the sensory activities organized by Mattia Cornella and Alissa Shiraishi.
Walk in the WWF Nature Reserve at Lake Nembia
Now that your body and mind are feeling reinvigorated, you can treat yourself to a walk among the wildlife of the Lake Nembia WWF Nature Reserve, at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites. It takes about an hour and the route is flat, so it is an ideal way to relax and breathe in the clean mountain air. While you are there, you can stop for lunch at the Ristorante Nembia.
An afternoon exploring the village of San Lorenzo in Banale
We recommend that you start walking through the village without heading anywhere in particular and get lost among the narrow streets, the vaults and the stone fountains, where the women once gathered to do the laundry while the men worked in the fields.
Once you have done that, seek out the Church of Saint Sebastian and Saint Roch, with its beautiful frescos by the Baschenis family of 16th century artists. Afterwards, visit the “Casa del Parco C’era una volta” park, where you can learn all about peasant life in the village in the past, or the municipal theatre in the deconsecrated Church of San Lorenzo.
If you want to take some souvenirs home from your short break, in the village you will find the workshop of Claudia Bosetti, who makes Stone pine wooden items by hand, and the studio of Valentina Franchi, an artist who creates magnificent paintings on a number of materials, including bent tiles.
The fabulous flavour of ciuìga
San Lorenzo in Banale is famous for its ciuìga pork sausages, which are flavoured with cooked, finely chopped turnips and are now protected under the Slow Food Presidia scheme. They were invented in the late 19th century by a butcher from the village who needed to reuse meat scraps and added white turnips for extra substance.
The original recipe has developed over the years and ciuìga is now made with superior pork and just a small amount of turnips. Between late October and November every year, visitors from all over Trentino fill the narrow streets of San Lorenzo in Banale during a festival known as the “Sagra della ciuìga”.
If all this talk of ciuìga has made you work up an appetite, we can recommend three different places that serve traditional dinners. Ristoro Dolomiti di Brenta is at the entrance of the Val d’Ambiez. Alternatively, in San Lorenzo Dorsino you can choose between the Ristorante Pizzeria Erica and the restaurant of the Hotel Castel Mani.
There is a wide range of accommodation on offer. We recommend the welcoming, relaxing and romantic Garnì Lilly, the historical, sophisticated premises of the Hotel San Lorenzo in the heart of the village, and the rooms at the centrally located Dolce Vita Ambiez, if you really want to shroud yourself in the atmosphere of San Lorenzo in Banale.
A walk in the Val d’Ambiez
To bring your weekend of well-being in the great outdoors to a wonderful conclusion, you can choose between two walks among the woods and pastures of the Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta (nature park).
The first is on the sledging route and it is rather easy. It follows the old paths taken by peasant farmers during the hay season and there are breathtaking views of Lake Molveno.
The second route is also suitable for everyone. It leads you through the “seven villas”: the seven areas that make up the village of San Lorenzo, each of which has its own church and identity. It then takes you to the ruins of Castel Mani, an old castle that was destroyed in the 19th century. The walk takes approximately three hours and we recommend that you take it easy so that you can savour every moment.