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The Buonconsiglio Castle, contemporary art at the MART, using the mountain as a metaphor to teach science at the MUSE, life in the mountains depicted in the collections of the Museum of the Customs and Traditions of the Trentino People. Castles, hill forts, fortified residences, town walls and old ruins, restored and open to the public

Buonconsiglio Castle – A comparison of architecture, history and styles

The monumental Buonconsiglio Castle was once the very symbol of power: the official residence of the prince-bishops of Trentino, nominated directly by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from about the year 1200 up to the end of the 18th century. Here history flows true a succession of different styles and architecture, which seem to fit in together without outdoing each other: a spectacular effect. From the imposing medieval keep in the older part of the castle and the gothic-venetian loggia overlooking the city, you come to the Magno Palazzo dating from the renaissance period after passing through the baroque Giunta Albertina. Within the castle, the halls have been frescoed and decorated by masters of the Italian renaissance such as Alessio Longhi, Marcello Fogolino, Girolamo Romanino, Dosso and Battista Dossi whereas in the Torre dell’Aquila (Tower of the Eagle) you can admire the “Cycle of the Months”, an international gothic masterpiece. In the museum collections you will find archaeological artefacts, wooden sculptures, bronze statuettes from the Renaissance, stone epigraphs and tombstones, not to mention the Egyptian section. For more information:


MART – The court of 20th Centurt Art

The view along Corso Bettini, with its 17th century palazzos, is the same as that admired by a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Johann Wolfgang Goethe, as they made their ways into Rovereto along the Imperial Road. And it’s among these buildings that today we are projected into the future by the giant dome that overshadows the circular courtyard that is the heart of the MART, the museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta.

The Rovereto museum is an international point of reference in the field of research and appreciation of contemporary figurative art. Among the exhibitions there are the masterpieces of Italian painting of the 20th century united in the Giovanardi Collection. The Depero House of Futurist Art (Casa d'Arte Futurista Depero) is an integral part of the museum as is the Civic Gallery in Trento. The Depero House is located in the heart of medieval Rovereto, only example of a museum founded by a futurist. The artist, a true pioneer of contemporary design, personally took care of the details: mosaics, furniture, painted panels. All 3,000 pieces left by the artist to the city are exhibited in turn: paintings, sketches, cloth intarsias, graphics and toys. More information at


MUSE – Science as you haven’t seen it before

It’s difficult to miss the similarity between the MUSE skyline, the science museum of Trento designed by Renzo Piano, and the mountains of Trentino. This renowned architect made use of many sustainable and energy saving building techniques. The exhibitions use the metaphor of the mountain to describe life on earth. You start from the top: the rooftop terrace and the fourth floor are dedicated to elements such as the sun and ice. As you make your way down you are able to examine such concepts as biodiversity, sustainability, evolution until you reach the ground floor and the marvels of the tropical greenhouse. Various installations and activities transform the visit into an extraordinary experience for people of all ages. For children there’s also the innovative Maxi Ooh! Area, where they use their senses to touch, smell, taste, see and hear to discover the secrets of nature. For information:


Museum of the Customs and Traditions of the Trentino People – Labour in the Alps

With its 5 floors, 43 rooms and over 12,000 exhibits, it is the most important ethnographic museum in Italy and one of the richest at an Alpine and European level. It’s housed within the old Augustinian abbey of San Michele all’Adige which dates back to the 13th century. The convent has preserved an unusual triangular cloister besides the invaluable baroque church. Entirely dedicated to the popular traditions of Trentino, the museum of San Michele celebrates rural labour with its ingenious and versatile technologies, common to many types of country life. It tells the tale of a world that has either disappeared or profoundly changed. This inspired the founder of the museum, Giuseppe Šebesta, to patiently reconstruct this way of life within these walls where you can also find mills, trip hammers, venetian sawmills, looms and lathes. For more information:


Castle-Museums both also private residences

There are over 200 castles in Trentino. Some are simple ruins, others are private residences or have been transformed into restaurants and hotels. The most monumental castles however, enriched with collections of works of art, have been opened to the public.

Besides Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento, Beseno Castle in the heart of Vallagarina, is the vastest fortified complex of the region, an imposing medieval stronghold. Following the Adige river you reach Rovereto, dominated to the east by the Venetian Castle, one of the finest examples of late medieval fortifications and home to the prestigious War Museum. As you continue south you encounter the castle of Avio, owned by the Fai family. In the Val di Non, Thun Castle is the monumental residence of what is probably the oldest Trentino noble family, already present in documents dating from 1050 and counting 4 prince-bishops between the 17th and 18th centuries.