An ancient village of charcoal burners, overlooking the lake
Bondone, home to charcoal burners in olden times, is one of Italy’s most beautiful villages and marks the starting point for mountain excursions to discover Valle del Chiese
The municipality of Bondone overlooks the waters of Lake Idro in the far south-west of Trentino, on the border with Lombardy, in the tranquil natural setting of Valle del Chiese's Network of Reserves. It was known as the “town of charcoal burners” up until fifty years ago, a name earned by centuries of inhabitants who carried out this work, turning the wood of local forests into this precious fuel.
Today, Bondone is officially recognised as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages (i Borghi più Belli d’Italia), with its stunning castle and lakeside beaches, and is a favourite location for lovers of sports and outdoors activities, topped off by a glass of wine in the piazza and a romantic meal on the lake.
Things to see
Our advice is to make a stop in the town’s piazza to see the monument to the charcoal burners before losing yourself in its maze of cobbled streets, admiring the frescoes you will find on the façades of the houses, which express their inhabitants’ devotion to the Madonna who, according to legend, relieved the plague epidemic that hit Bondone between 1628 and 1630 (as told by Manzoni in The Betrothed).
Two unmissable sights are the Natività parish church, which dates back to 1300, and Castel San Giovanni, an ancient fortress of the Lodron Counts which dates back to the eleventh century and now plays host to exhibitions on nature, culture, tradition and history.
Afterwards, just a few minutes’ drive will bring you to Lake Idro and its Porto Camarelle beach, which has a Blue Flag from the Legambiente environmental association.
Things to do
In summer, Bondone is the ideal destination for a holiday built around open-air sports. On Lake Idro, for example, you can enjoy lots of water sports from canoeing to kitesurfing, or simply take a walk between the two beaches on the Trentino side of the lake, which are connected by a wooden boardwalk crossing through the Biotope of Lake Idro, home to many different species of waterfowl and other birds.
A short distance from the village, in the Baitoni area, there is the Valle del Chiese cycle path, a healthy and immersive experience of the nature and culture of the Giudicarie zone.
Then, in August, the streets of the village come alive thanks to “Bondone in Strada”, the international festival of street artists.
During the rest of the year, however, Bondone offers the tranquil atmosphere of a village immersed in nature, a chance to leave your routine behind and enjoy long walks exploring Valle del Chiese.