Trentino South Tyrol
2 days in Trento, things to do in the city in a weekend
Two days to discover the provincial capital of Trento, a treasure trove of centuries-old culture nestled amidst the mountains, slopes and woods of the Adige Valley.
30 December 2022
DAY 1: From the Cathedral Square to Piazza di fiera
Your route has to start from the central Piazza del Duomo, where some of Trento's architectural gems are on display, starting with the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Vigilius, the city's patron saint. Here you can visit the famous Chapel of the Crucifix, seat of the 16th-century Council of Trento. The enchanted setting, especially in winter, with the snow, is completed by the historical Renaissance backdrop of Palazzo Cazuffi and Palazzo Rella, ancient noble residences with their façades embellished by traditional frescoed decorations; Palazzo Pretorio, the Civic Tower and the Neptune Fountain, located in the centre of the square and surmounted by a statue of the god of the sea holding a trident. A reference, it seems, to the city's ancient name (Tridentum).
Crossing Via Belenzani and Via Manci is like stepping back in time: you can immerse yourself in the city's many mediaeval and Baroque sights, all the way to Piazza Silvio Pellico, where, with a small diversion, you will have the opportunity to do some km0 shopping with Trentino food specialities every Tuesday afternoon, Thursday and Saturday morning at the Campagna Amica covered market, a foundation that promotes the excellence and biodiversity of the Italian agricultural supply chain.
Once you have had your fill of delicacies, the Buonconsiglio Castle awaits you. Home to prince-bishops since the 13th century, it is rich in frescoes and crenellated towers, and is perhaps the most outstanding monument in the region. Inside this complex of buildings dating back to different eras, the cells in which the irredentist and patriot Cesare Battisti was imprisoned are still preserved.
At the end of the first day, when, against the backdrop of the mountains, Trento becomes an illuminated nativity scene, head to Piazza di Fiera, the heart of the traditional Christmas markets and many other cultural events and fairs that take place in the shadow of the monumental Bishop's Palace and the Torrione Madruzziano, erected to guard the city. This is the perfect occasion to sample local sweets and excellent craft beer, or to enjoy some Christmas shopping.
DAY 2: From The MUSE museum to Valsugana
The second day is dedicated to the territory, so why not begin by paying an early visit to the MUSE, the visionary Science Museum designed by Renzo Piano. It is ideal for connecting with the relationship between man and mountain, which is at the heart of the museum's exhibition philosophy. Amidst workshops and multimedia installations, you can also explore the famous tropical greenhouse, which reproduces the ecosystem of a rainforest in the heart of the Dolomites.
Photo credit: Libens libenter
Trento embodies an inspiring oxymoron: it is a mountain city where you can take advantage of the many options to enjoy outdoor sports, winter or summer. Majestic peaks such as Monte Bondone - just over half an hour's drive from Trento - offer alpine or cross-country skiing, hiking and cycling.
On Lake Garda, about 50 minutes away from the provincial capital, you can sail, kite or windsurf, while the Adige river is an extraordinary setting for kayaking or rafting adventures. Finally, the walls of Arco di Trento are amazing natural arenas for climbing and a natural springboard for paragliding.
If you prefer to relax and perhaps want to soothe your muscles after a day of sport, take refuge in the cosy thermal warmth at sunset. There are several centres in the area, including the Terme di Levico and Vetriolo, in Valsugana, the first destination with sustainable tourism certification. The Forte water, which springs from the Lagorai mountains, is a natural remedy against anxiety, stress and skin conditions.
There are ancient and alpine cheeses, such as Puzzone Di Moena, Casolét Della Val Di Sole or Spressa Delle Giudicarie; historic dishes such as Carne salada, the first to receive the De.co, the denomination of origin of the Alto Garda villages; trout and char reared in streams; apples and small fruits; and, of course, wines and many other excellences that make up the Trentino Quality brand. The best conclusion to your weekend in Trento could only be consumed at the table: bon appétit!