TRENTO IN TWO DAYS: THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS
Trento is regularly named as one of Italy’s best places to live, and with historic homes in the old town centre, the contemporary designs of the Albere district and natural treasures in the surrounding mountains, it’s not difficult to see why. Visitors can spend 48 hours discovering one of Italy’s lesser-known cultural city breaks to experience a taste of Trento.
First day: wandering around the old town centre
Old buildings, monuments, churches and picturesque alleyways: walking around Trento’s old town centre is like plunging into a treasure trove of art and history. Piazza Duomo is the obvious starting point for all tours of Trento, but first make sure to fill up with a delicious breakfast at café and artisan pastry shop Le Note.
9.00 am – Prepare for spellbinding sights
Walking around the corner into the square, visitors will be greeted by breathtaking views, including frescoed Renaissance homes and classic porticos below buildings painted in soft hues. Palazzo Pretorio is now home to the Museo Diocesano Tridentino and standing tall next to it is the Torre Civica. Forming the backdrop to the Baroque Fontana del Nettuno in the centre of the square is the Cattedrale di San Vigilio, a cathedral dedicated to Saint Vigilius, the patron saint of the city. The remains of an Early Christian basilica can be seen inside this magnificent example of First Romanesque architecture.
10.00 am – Exploring Renaissance Trento
Follow Via Belenzani which is lined with 16th century buildings. At the bottom of the road, turn right onto Via Manci where there are more Renaissance and Baroque architectural gems such as Palazzo Trentini, Palazzo Saracini-Pedrotti, and Palazzo Sardagna, which was previously known as Casa Fugger and is also nicknamed ‘Palazzo del Diavolo’ (‘the Devil’s Building’). Four different roads meet up at the end of Via Manci. The most interesting one is the fully porticoed Via del Suffragio.
11.00 am – Heading towards the castle
It takes just a few minutes to walk to the Castello del Buonconsiglio, which is home to the Collezioni Provinciali (provincial museum). Along with Piazza Duomo, the castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. It was once also a symbol of power because it was the seat of the Prince-Bishops of Trent, who were directly appointed by the Holy Roman Emperors between the 13th century and the late 18th century. By visiting the Torre dell’Aquila (eagle tower), visitors will see an international Gothic masterpiece depicting the ‘cycle of the months’ and the invaluable collections housed in the building.
3.00 pm – Going underground
In the 1930s, an old district of Trento known as ‘Giro del Sas’, a reference to its stone buildings and the cobblestones on the roads, was demolished to make way for Piazza Cesare Battisti. Under the square, it is possible to visit the oldest part of the city. A striking exhibition takes visitors through 2,000 years of history and 1,700 m² of a Roman city. There are public and private spaces and buildings in the vast area, including a stretch of the eastern city wall with a tower that was turned into a gate under the Roman Empire, and a sizeable road surface paved with large slabs of local red stone. In addition, there are homes with typical household scenes, mosaics decorating the floors, and rooms with underfloor heating.
7.00 pm – The traditional aperitif
After a day of walking, visitors will deserve an aperitif in one of the many bars lining Piazza Duomo and the streets of the Giro del Sas. One of the most fashionable spots is La Bella Vita on Via Oriola. For one of Trento’s most scenic aperitif spots, take the cable car up to Sardagna. Bistrot Trento Alta boasts stunning views of the whole city and the surrounding area, where visitors can admire the scenery whilst sipping a cocktail, a craft beer, a glass of sparkling TrentoDoc or one of the other delicious local wines on offer.
8.00 pm – Dinner at …
There are a number of restaurants in the city centre that blend local traditions with cuisine from the rest of Italy, such as Osteria Il Cappello, Osteria Due Spade and Lo Scrigno del Duomo, where works by artists from Trento and across the globe help to create a unique atmosphere.
Second day: The Albere district, Muse and the surrounding area
9.30 am – Head to the Albere district
Go back to Piazza Duomo, then head right towards the university area. It takes just a few minutes to get to the new Albere district, which was designed by Renzo Piano and is home to Muse: the new Science Museum. Sustainability was a top priority during the construction of the glass and steel building. The idea of mountains inspired the original exhibition route, which tells the story of life on our planet and examines the topic of biodiversity, taking an extremely interactive approach. To the north of the museum stands Palazzo delle Albere: a 16th century villa that Prince-Bishop Gaudenzio Madruzzo had built.
12.30 pm – Stop for pizza
On the way back from the Albere district to Piazza Duomo, visitors can enjoy the best gourmet pizza place in the city: Albert’s.
2.00 pm – New discoveries
It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive from Trento to the town of Lavis, where there is a garden that looks like something out of a fairy tale. Known as the Giardino Bortolotti or the Giardino ‘dei Ciucioi’, the hanging garden features a blend of plants and ruins that create a dreamlike landscape with a sense of romance. Winding spiral slopes lead visitors through the terraces of the hanging gardens, where magnificent, rare plants adorn a wide variety of buildings, including the façade of a neo-Gothic church. The garden was badly damaged during the First World War and then all of the plants died during a terrible drought in 1921. After more than 20 years of renovation work, it was recently opened for guided tours, which are organized by the Ecomuseo Argentario.
4.00 pm – Head for the hill
On the hill overlooking the city to the east is the striking Orrido di Ponte Alto: a deep canyon that has been carved into the rocks by the Fersina stream. It is a natural work of art that combines the wild beauty of nature, awe-inspiring heights and chasms, and great scientific and historical interest.
7.00 pm – An aperitif in a wine bar
Palazzo Roccabruna on Via Santissima Trinità is home to the Enoteca Provinciale del Trentino, where visitors can taste wines from Thursday to Saturday, from 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm.