Castles. Treasure chests of history and beauty
Five themed areas link up and explain the history of the many castles throughout the Trentino region, following an underlying theme that is changes every time.
Trentino has over 300 castles, fortresses and fortified sites. The autonomous Province of Trento intends to fully highlight this extraordinary heritage, as a driving force to promote the local area. Five themed areas have been identified, whose castles share a similar historical context. Inside each area, these fortifications can become the stages of a tour to follow on one or more days. This important historic-cultural project includes an original and attractive proposal for everyone, since tours can be combined with many other local attractions: trekking, thermal spas, concerts, discovering parts of Trentino, which are lesser known but no less fascinating.
In the Vallagarina the chosen theme is La suggestione del Medioevo, tra amor cortese, battaglie ed eresie (The appeal of the Middle Ages: courtly love, battles and heresies). Castel Beseno is at the heart of the area. It is the largest fortified complex in Trentino, a mighty fortress of Medieval origin with Renaissance architecture.
Another stop in the Vallagarina is Castello di Rovereto, which hosts the prestigious war museum Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra. Still on the theme of courtly love and medieval battles, there are the 14th century frescoes of Castello di Avio, also known as Sabbionara after the hamlet below the castle.
In the Trento area, the castle theme focuses on the Prince-Bishopric, particularly on Castello del Buonconsiglio, a monument of extraordinary historic-artistic value not only for its Ciclo dei Mesi frescoes in the Torre Aquila, residence of the Prince Bishops of Trento up to 1803.
In the area that includes the Val di Non and the Val di Sole, the theme chosen to characterise the castles is La nobiltà rurale nei castelli delle Alpi (The rural nobility in the castles of the Alps). The leading venue is Castel Thun, the residence of perhaps the oldest noble family in Trentino, documented as early as 1050, which saw four Prince
Bishops from 17th - 18th century.
The theme of the area that includes the Valle del Sarca, the area of the lakes and the Giudicarie is La vita castellana nelle corti rinascimentali (Castle life in Renaissance courts). In the Giudicarie region, near the Adamello Brenta Nature Park between Riva del Garda and Madonna di Campiglio, stands Castello di Stenico.
In the Valle dei Laghi we found Castel Toblino and Castel Drena, the medieval fort that dates back to the 12th century.
A few kilometres further south you can visit Castello di Arco. You can arrive along one of the three roads that cross the olive groves as far as Prato della Lizza. A few kilometres to the south you arrive in Riva del Garda with its ancient Rocca, a fortress on the lake built from 1124 onwards.
The last area of Trentino castles is the Valsugana and the Valle di Cembra, associated with the theme La via dei castelli. Gli antichi percorsi dall'età romana alla modernità (The castle road. Ancient routes from the Roman period to modern times). This theme refers to the Roman road Via Claudia Augusta that connected Altino with Augusta Vindelicorum, currently known as Augsburg, in Bavaria. Castello di Pergine, which overlooks the Via Claudia Augusta in the upper Valsugana, was built in the 13th century: Today, the privately owned castle hosts a restaurant and a hotel, with 21 rooms in the wing that dates back to the Renaissance period. You can then continue your journey to Fornace to visit medieval Castel Roccabruna, which was rebuilt in the Renaissance period, and looks like a beautiful stately home. Or you can go along the Valsugana, passing Borgo, as far as Castel Ivano, also privately owned, with its moat that protects the northern part of the castle, a large door with the coat of arms of the Wolkenstein family, and a 17th century chapel...