A taste of Trentino’s ancient peasant lifestyle
A top destination for its Christmas markets, throughout the rest of the year life in the village has a relaxed rhythm, deep in the pure natural surroundings of the Bleggio plateau.
A wide stone staircase welcomes you, leading you up towards an ancient archway topped by a double-arched window. This is the entrance to the village of Rango, officially listed as one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages since 2006. Located in the Bleggio Superiore municipality, halfway between Madonna di Campiglio and Lake Garda, this Trentino village is striking for its porticoes, wine cellars, arcades, and the vaulted archways (called portech) which once provided a refuge from the cold in winter.
Every glimpse of Rango reveals stories of peasant life with its unhurried rhythms, when the days were punctuated by the rising of the sun and the tolling of the bells. Once a vital crossroads on the “Via Imperiale”, it bustled with merchants, pilgrims and shepherds leading their flocks, who would stop at the village in search of refreshment. Today, it is the ideal place to take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life and rediscover the joy of the little things in life.
Things to see
The first thing we suggest you do is take a wander through the town, losing yourself in its alleyways, where you’re sure to find idyllic scenes for stunning photographs. Sooner or later you will find yourself in the piazza, where you can stop to sip from the square fountain, where shepherds once led their flocks to drink. Take this opportunity to look around and appreciate the architecture of these rustic homes, with their great doorways, porches, and the wooden racks used to dry corncobs or hay. They are typical examples of houses in the Giudicarie area: dwelling-places with solid, sturdy structures.
Your next stop will be at the Museo della Scuola, or School Museum, where academic items and materials from the first half of the twentieth century are on display.
Then, just outside Rango, there’s Balbido: “the painted village”. It is famous for the beautiful frescoes that adorn its houses and for the witch fashioned from wood and bamboo cane towering to over 10 metres and earning the town a spot in the Guinness Book of Records!
Things to taste
Rango is famous for Bleggio walnuts, a special variety of walnut which is mostly used to make bread loaves, cakes, and even a unique kind of salami. Of course, you can also find traditional Trentino dishes in the village: canederli dumplings, carne salada cured meat, polenta, potatoes, game, cold cuts, cheeses etc.
Things to do
The main event runs from mid-November to the end of December, with quaint Christmas Markets filling Rango with brightly lit stalls, clustered below the portech, along the streets or within the ancient farmhouses. The stars of the show are always the handcrafted products and culinary delicacies. A feast for the eyes... and the taste buds too!
Then, in summer, between July and August, comes the Simposio di Scultura Lignea or Wood Sculpting Festival, which began in 1989. It consists of a week during which national and international artists take over the little piazzas of Rango and Balbido to express the chosen theme through the medium of wood. Many of the carvings created during past editions can be found as open-air exhibits in the two villages.
Throughout the rest of the year, Rango is a quiet, tranquil village, perfect for immersing yourself in the unspoiled nature of Trentino. For example, you can enjoy a pleasant walk along the “Sentiero della Noce” or Walnut trail, which takes you through the history of a product which has been so important to Rango. Or, in late spring and summer, you can conquer the Cima Sèra peak, a trekking experience that takes almost six hours.
And if you’d like to explore the surrounding area by car, you won’t have far to travel to Stenico Castle with its exhibitions, or the Fiavè Pile-dwelling Museum; alternatively, you can relax in the Terme di Comano Park and try out its Sensory Walk.