BE DAZZLED BY HISTORICAL GARDENS AND CASTLES
Just a few miles from Trento, discover the mysterious Garden of the 'Ciuciòi' and the treasures hidden within the walls of the region's castles.
All you need to do is begin discovering the hidden corners: little gems immersed in nature and guaranteed to amaze and enchant visitors. About ten minutes' drive from Trento, the village of Lavis is home to a historical garden that could have been lifted straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. This is the Giardino Bortolotti, also known as the Giardino 'dei Ciuciòi', a unique hanging garden where ruins and greenery combine to form a dreamlike landscape with a romantic charm. The garden is an example of an eclectic monumental complex from the first half of the nineteenth century designed to bring to life a picturesque landscape. A spiral ramp leads visitors through hanging garden terraces housing magnificent plants and various buildings, including the facade of a neo-Gothic church, a covered passageway, a Renaissance loggia and more, until they reach the top where they will find a building known as the Casa del Giardiniere (Gardener's House). In the complex's heyday, a vast greenhouse, similar to the lemon groves of Lake Garda, are rare plants: palms, lemons, magnolias, oranges and olives. It was badly damaged during the First World War and fell into disrepair following a terrible drought in 1921 which destroyed all the plants. Now, after more than twenty years of renovation, it has finally reopened for guided tours organised by the Ecomuseo Argentario. firstname.lastname@example.org
The castles of Trentino are open to anyone keen to discover the vast cultural and architectural heritage within, all in full compliance with the necessary social distancing and safety measures. Visiting the region's museums and admiring the masterpieces exhibited in the permanent and temporary collections is like leafing through a compendium on the history of art and architecture, and setting out on a journey through time from the Renaissance to the modern age.
Not to be missed in Trento is the imposing Castello del Buonconsiglio, with new tour itineraries taking visitors from the oldest nucleus of the building to the Renaissance-era Magno Palazzo, with the rooms featuring frescoes by Dosso Dossi, Romanino and Fogolino. Access to the Torre Aquila, where you can admire the famous Ciclo dei Mesi fresco cycle, is limited to around ten people at a time. This can be booked in the same way as a visit to the castle.
Until 1 November, Castel Caldes in Val di Sole is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the etchings by Rembrandt from the Lazzari Turco Menz collection, donated in 1924 to the Municipality of Trento and kept at the Castello del Buonconsiglio. Comprising a total of about a thousand plates, it covers a broad time span stretching from the end of the fifteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, including works from the Italian, French, Flemish-Dutch, German, Spanish and English schools. At the castle, you can also visit the magnificent Stube del Conte, a large room restored in the Certosina style.
Until 1 November, Castel Beseno is hosting an anthology exhibition dedicated to Mandy Barker and her photographs. The award-winning British photographer has been pricking the public’s conscience for years with visually stunning works, when seen up close they reveal their origin: the large-format photos exhibited here depict plastic waste collected by the artist from beaches and oceans around the world, the most visible trace of humanity's harmful behaviour.
The photographs of Mandy Barker are also the focal point of the exhibition 'Not in my planet', which runs until 1 November at Castel Stenico. The works – 13 large-format photographs that show how plastic waste is increasingly invading the ecosystem – are scattered throughout the gardens and along the castle walls, as well as on the nearby Bosco Arte Stenico trail.
Booking is required for both exhibitions and entry to the castles (via the website www.buonconsiglio.it or by phone at +390461 492811).
Other castle residences are also open to the public this autumn. Until 1 November in the Val di Non, the 'valley of castles', various castles are open for visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of a bygone era among secret passages and covered walkways, reliving feasts, battles, processions and even witch trials. There is a prestigious new entry on the list of castles open to visitors in 2020: Castel Belasi. With its fifteenth-century walls, sturdy pentagonal tower, walkway and battlements, it is the quintessential castle-fortress. Additional to its distinctive architecture, it stands out for its scenic location amidst the region's apple orchards, offering a spectacular view of the valley and other castles in the area. The castle can be visited without a booking and is open all day from Tuesday to Sunday until 6 September. After this date it is open on weekends and public holidays.
In terms of original features, Castel Valer is by far one of the best-preserved castles in the Alpine region, this is owed to its octagonal keep. To visit, simply contact the Val di Non Tourist Board. The same applies for those wishing to visit Castel Coredo, another priceless historical building that can be visited together with the 'Palazzo Nero': the former lacks the classic silhouette of a castle, but the perimeter walls, white and red shutters and its lofty position quickly reveal its noble origins.
Lastly, Castel Nanno, another mcastle with a sad history of witchcraft trials, is now open to visitors every Sunday with no booking required. Restructured in the 1500s, its square design is reminiscent of Palladian architecture with hallmarks of the 'all'italiana' style, a very rare find in Trentino.