Cultural itineraries among the colours of autumn
Walking through the centre of Trento, you must stop in the iconic Piazza Duomo, the ideal starting point to discover the city, from Castello del Buonconsiglio to the MUSE. In Rovereto for the Oriente Occidente dance festival, and new temporary art exhibitions at the MART.
Near but different
Trento and Rovereto are ideal destinations for a weekend in Autumn. You can begin your tour from iconic locations like Piazza Duomo or the large dome of the MART in Rovereto, touching on the most typical corners of these cities, full of history, culture and artistic treasures, following the dates of the various festivals offered at this time of the year, or searching for little corners of nature just a few minutes from frescoed Renaissance homes, Baroque palaces, or churches providing evidence of the Council of Trent... interests that can always be combined with the right dose of curiosity. And then enjoy authentic local experiences between typical places, wine bars, historical shops and “delicatessen” stores.
Trento’s Tourist Board (APT) has also created 15 Urban Treks with different themes. These are itineraries on foot through the historical centre or between the city and its suburbs, to discover places permeated with history and culture: the Roman era, the Council of Trent, the renaissance city, the Great War.
The medieval-Renaissance city revolves around Piazza Duomo. Here, the scenic effect is surprising: frescoed homes of the renaissance era, tower homes, a series of delicately toned palaces, and Palazzo Pretorio, with the high Torre Civica. At the centre, the Baroque Neptune Fountain, and, behind it, the cathedral dedicated to San Vigilio [Saint Vigilius], a masterful example of Romanesque-Lombard style. Just a few minutes on foot along one of the four cardinal roads will lead you to further discoveries: via Belenzani and Palazzo Geremia to the north, the medieval walls to the south, the Albere district and with the Science Museum MUSE to the west, and the monumental Castello del Buonconsiglio (which, together with Piazza Duomo, is one of the symbols of the city) to the east.
The heart of the city’s life rotates around the “giro al sas”, an ancient neighbourhood, torn down in the 1930s to make way for Piazza Cesare Battisti. Beneath its pavement, you can visit the oldest part of the city, the ancient Roman “Tridentum”. The roads along the four sides of this “vanished” neighbourhood are today the traditional place for locals to take a stroll and shopping, in the typical Italian lifestyle. The piazzas and alleys of the centre come to life in the late afternoon, as everyday rituals mark the arrival of evening time - moments accompanied by a glass of TrentoDoc spumante, a glass of wine, or a craft beer. On the other hand, those who are in search of something more original can climb with cable car to Sardagna (from Ponte San Lorenzo, just a few minutes from the historical centre), to admire the spectacular view of the sun setting over the city and the surrounding mountains.
In the heart of Rovereto, following Corso Bettini, the sight is not very different today from what it was when a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited it (and, a decade later, Johann Wolfgang Goethe), arriving from the “Via Imperiale”, embellished, as it was then, by a series of Eighteenth-century palazzi: Casa Piomarta, Casa Alberti, Palazzo dell’Annona and the historical Teatro Zandonai, the oldest in Trentino. Among these buildings rises the steel and glass dome of the MART - the Museum of Modern Art of Rovereto and Trento, designed by Mario Botta. From 12 October 2019 to 2 February 2020, thanks to a collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the MART is bringing the works of Richard Artschwager to Italy. An understanding of space, everyday objects, and perception: these are the foundational elements of the poetry of this American artist, considered one of the most interesting representatives of minimalism.
From the MART, in a few minutes, you can reach the historical centre of the city. From Piazza Rosmini to Piazza Battisti, and further on to Piazza del Podestà, you walk through alleys and narrow lanes lined with numerous historical shops. Raising your eyes, you can recognise the architectural mixtures and Venetian influence in the façades of churches and buildings, proof of the Serenissima’s power over the city. A symbol of this period is the castle, overlooking the entrance to Vallarsa, currently the location of the Museo Italiano della Grande Guerra [Italian Great War Museum].
On the way to the castle, it is worth visiting the Baroque church of San Marco - where a very young Mozart held his first Italian concert in 1769 - and the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero, the only museum in the world founded by a futurist artist. These are a few of the 15 stops on the city tour among art, history, culture, and a few culinary delights, like the Museo del Caffè [Coffee Museum], a unique exhibition of about 300 instruments used for coffee production and processing www.visitrovereto.it.
Trento and Rovereto: all the culture (and much more) with one card
To experience and discover the cultural offer of Trento, Rovereto, and the surrounding areas, there is a Museum Pass. The card can be purchased for 22 Euro from all museums, from the Tourist Offices in the two cities, or online www.museumpass.it. In addition to priority access to the museums, castles, and archaeological sites, it also allows you to use urban and extra-urban bus lines, as well as regional trains on provincial lines, free of charge for 48 hours.
Between history and legend: the castles of Trentino
Entering halls furnished with antique furniture and precious majolica stoves, once the home of the powerful Prince bishops of Trento. Strolling through loggias and courtyards where envoys of the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope were received. Sitting on the jousting field, the theatre of tournaments and duels between knights.
There are more than 200 castles in Trentino. Some are mere ruins, challenging the seasons, others are private homes, while the most monumental castles, enriched with collections and works of art, mostly purchased by the Autonomous Province of Trento which, under its Special Statute, has primary authority over monuments and architectural heritage, have been opened to the public.
In Trento, attention is focused on Castello del Buonconsiglio, a historical-artistic monument of inestimable value, home to the Prince bishops of Trento until 1803. Famous for its “Cycle of Months” in Torre Aquila, an international Gothic masterpiece, for the frescoes of Dosso Dossi, Romanino and Fogolino, and for the collections of archaeology, wooden sculptures, stone sculptures, the Egyptian section, the Renaissance bronze statuettes section, and an extensive picture gallery.
Castel Beseno, in the heart of Vallagarina, is the largest fortified complex in the territory, a powerful fortress of medieval origin. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, every day (except Monday) from April to November (in other periods of the year, only on Saturdays and Sundays).
Continuing south, you come to Avio castle, owned by the FAI [Italian Environmental Fund]. Open from March to November, from Wednesday to Sunday.
In Val di Non, the reference point is Castel Thun, a monumental residence of what may be the oldest noble family in Trentino, already documented in 1050, which had four prince bishops between the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from March to November (in other periods of the year only on Saturdays and Sundays).
Castel Valer, near Tassullo, can be recognised by the typical octagonal tower, the highest in Trentino. This manor, which is an impressive nine centuries old, has been inhabited regularly by a single family, that of the Spaur Counts, since 1368. The castle can currently be visited - by booking - on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
All information can be found on the new portal www.castellivaldinon.it which contains the calendar of all guided tours.