TRENTINO AND THE OPEN ROAD: TOP FOUR ROAD TRIP ITINERARIES
With the grand panoramic views of the Dolomites in sight, visitors are invited to explore Trentino on four wheels cruising through Val di Non, with its rich history and spirituality, stopping in Valsugana where Art meets Nature, and travelling through the “wine towns” between Val di Cembra and Valle dell’Adige
ROAD TRIP 1: Best for Mountain Views
Val di Fiemme to San Martino di Castrozza over Passo Rolle
In the alpine valleys of eastern Trentino lie the spectacular Dolomites, a UNESCO world heritage site. Here, the shadows cast from the mountains dance across the forests and meadows at their foot, a spectacle best admired from several natural platforms made easily accessible via a network of ski lifts and trails.
The mountains are best reached by car and this road trip itinerary starts from Predazzo, in Val di Fiemme, where visitors can discover the geological origins of the “Monti Pallidi” (Pale Mountains). Here visitors will find the Geological Museum of the Dolomites with its two floors of exhibits where they can learn about the mountains’ history and the meaning behind their nickname. The route then continues on to Valle del Travignolo towards the locality of Paneveggio where the Visitors’ Centre of the Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino Nature Park is located. From a large terrace alongside the road facing out onto the deer enclosure, visitors can take in the view of the Pale di San Martino peaks over the famous “Forest of Violins” where Stradivari personally chose the timber for creating his musical instruments.
After Passo Valles, the road climbs along hairpin bends towards Passo Rolle. From here, on foot or by ski lift, visitors can reach the Baita Segantini mountain hut and view the majestic Cimòn della Pala formation. From Passo Rolle, the route descends towards the town of San Martino di Castrozza where visitors can take the cablecar up to Alpe Tognola and head to the Dolomiti UNESCO panoramic balcony to take in the Pale di San Martino group, the Lagorai range and the Vette Feltrine peaks in one vista. On the way back, the route runs through the Valle del Primiero to Primolano in Valsugana and from there on to Trento with a recommended stop at the dairy shop in Mezzano which sells two of the most renowned local products produced by the mountain dairies of Primiero: Tosèla cheese and Botìro di Malga butter.
Predazzo (possible detour to Val di Fassa, Passo Costalunga, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi) - Bellamonte - Paneveggio - Passo Rolle - San Martino di Castrozza. An alternative route is to return via Fiera di Primiero - Mezzano - Fonzaso (BL) - Primolano - Borgo Valsugana - Pergine Valsugana - Trento.
ROAD TRIP 2: Best for History and Culture
Piana Rotaliana to Castel Thun in Val di Non
Culture vultures can take this route which starts from San Michele all’Adige, located in the triangular cloister of the ancient Augustinian provostry erected there in the 13th century which today hosts the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Trentino. One of the most important ethnographic museums in Europe and the Alps, its five floors, 43 exhibit halls and over 12,000 artefacts showcase the spirit of rural life.
At the feet of the convent the Piana Rotaliana opens out into the production area of Trentino’s most noble wine, the Teroldego Rotaliano Doc. After crossing this expanse of vineyards in the direction of the Rocchetta gorge, the door to the Anaunia lands, road trippers will enter Val di Non. Just a few kilometres in catch a glimpse of the polygonal tower of Castel Belasi in Campodenno, surrounded by fruit orchards that cover vast stretches of the valley’s slopes. The monumental Castel Thun is the first stop on this itinerary and was once the residence of what may be Trentino’s most ancient family, the Thuns, first documented in 1050 and whose history is linked to eight centuries of the Prince-Bishop of Trento. From Rocchetta the route travels to the town of Vigo di Ton until the castle appears among the apple orchards into the distance.
Next on to Dermulo to two characteristic castles, Castel Nanno and Castel Valèr. A stop in the “Apple Valley” is a must to discover the secrets of this iconic fruit at MondoMelinda in Segno di Predaia, the Visitors’ Centre for the valley’s apple growers’ association. Guided tours (for a fee, with tasting) are also available while apples are sold throughout the year. Once in Sanzeno park close to the Museo Retico (Rhaetian Museum) and walk the spectacular trail excavated into the rock face to reach the next stop, the San Romedio Sanctuary. Built on a rock, set in abundant vegetation and tranquillity, the sanctuary consists of a complex with a succession of five churches and chapels.
On to Cles next with a short detour to see the iconic Lake Tovel with its emerald-green waters set amongst the trees at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park. On the way back from the town of Flavòn, follow the road that joins the towns on the right side of the valley all the way back to Rocchetta.
San Michele all’Adige - Mezzolombardo - La Rocchetta - Vigo di Ton - Castel Thun - Segno di Predaia - Dermulo (possible detour to Cles - Lake Tovel) - San Zeno (parking at the Rhaetian Museum) - San Romedio sanctuary.
ROAD TRIP 3: Best for Art and Nature
Discover the Artesella project in Valsugana
Valsugana recently became the first and only certified destination for sustainable tourism by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and so it’s no coincidence that Artesella, a 3.5 km long Land Art trail, is located here.
This road trip itinerary starts from Borgo Valsugana reached directly from the area of Caldonazzo and the Levico lakes. In the heart of the main town of the lower Valsugana section, in the shadow of the Castel Telvana towers, the Brenta river weaves through the centre giving the town a delightfully Venetian appearance. The area is best explored on foot with a walk along Corso Ausugum street (from the town’s ancient Roman name) alongside the ancient Via Claudia Augusta Altinate road, all the way to the Venetian bridge over the Brenta.
From Borgo Valsugana, drivers will enter Val di Sella with its lush forests to reach the second stop, the Artesella trail whose artistic creations wind among the trees of a centuries-old forest. Over 300 artists from across the world have contributed works to this outdoor exhibition that changes with the seasons. Beyond the trail, in the Malga Costa Area along the route visitors can enter a park that hosts the monumental artworks of Arte Sella, the most famous of which is the Cattedrale Vegetale (Tree Cathedral).
Borgo Valsugana (possible detour to Val Calamento - Passo Manghen - Val di Fiemme) - Val di Sella - Artesella.
ROAD TRIP 4: Best for vineyards
Val di Cembra through the ‘wine towns’
North of Trento, Valle di Cembra is shaped by the Avisio stream and its rural landscape consists mainly of vineyards carved into the steep slopes. This area has been recently awarded “Italian rural landscape of historical value” status by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forest Policies. A walk along the many lanes that cross through the vineyards and climb up the mountain, such as the “Dürerweg” between Cembra and Segonzano, is the best way to take in and enjoy the beautiful landscape of this area.
Starting from Trento head north and, after the suburb of Gardolo, follow signs for Albiano. By travelling the road which runs down the left side of Val di Cembra, drivers will reach Segonzano famous for its ‘earth pyramids’, a work of art built by Mother Nature, and for its castle that was depicted in a watercolour by Albrecht Dürer in 1494 during his tour of Italy. This itinerary then continues along the valley’s opposite side to visit the towns of Faver, famous for its grappa distilleries, and Cembra, Lisignago and Verla, each surrounded by terraced vineyards. The grape varieties cultivated here are mainly Müller Thurgau, Nosiola and Chardonnay and local wineries such as the Cantina Cembra Cantina di montagna or the Distilleria Paolazzi in Faver offer tastings. From Verla visitors will then travel a road that crosses through the vineyards to reach Ville di Giovo and on to Faedo, another characteristic medieval ‘wine town’ which looks out onto the Piana Rotaliana plain just a few kilometres from San Michele all’Adige.
Trento - Gardolo - Albiano - Lases - Segonzano (possible detour to Val di Fiemme) - Faver - Cembra (possible detour to Lake Santo) - Lisignago - Verla - Ville di Giovo - Faedo - San Michele all’Adige.
Sustainable travel by electric car
For those travelling by electric car, there are a range of charging stations throughout Trentino. For location details see: www.visittrentino.info/it/articoli/info-pratiche/ecar