Trento is a city in the northern regions of Italy that sits on the River Adige and is nestled within the Adige River Valley. As the capital of the Trentino region, the city has a population of 117,000 and is considered to be one of the richest cities of the country. Furthermore, citizens here enjoy a high quality of life and standard of living.
During ancient history, Trento was occupied by the Etruscans, Gauls and Romans. Once the Roman Empire had fallen, the city became part of the Lombard Empire and also came under the rule of the Habsburgs during the Middle Ages. Today, the city has a thriving economy and serves as a main communication hub in Northern Italy.
Due to its extensive history and involvement with various Empires and rulers, Trento has a plethora of beautiful historical structures such as the Duomo and Castello del Buonocnsiglio. Furthermore, the city has a host of fine museums and galleries, and some great shopping opportunities. Alternatively, due to its location in the Northern Alps, Trento lies in close proximity to many high-quality ski resorts for those who are more adventurous.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Trento:
1. Castello del Buonconsiglio
This stunning castle complex once served as the home of the prince-bishops that ruled over Trento and the surrounding region during the 13th century.
Due to its immense age, the castle has several different design elements that have been added at various stages throughout its history.
The complex is surrounded by a series of impressive crenulated walls, and the main feature is a round tower that dominates the skyline.
Much of the original stonework and decoration remains and in the inner courtyards, you can see some beautiful coloured frescos and wall paintings.
From the top courtyard, you are given amazing views across the valley to the surrounding mountains.
Tours of the castle are possible, and the interior has a series of fantastically decorated rooms with a plethora of Gothic art.
2. Duomo di Trento
Located in the heart of the old town of Trento, this Cathedral is the main religious structure in the city and was originally the seat of the Bishop of Trento until 1802. Constructed in the 11th century, this old building has been renovated and remodelled over the years and during the 14th century had a series of stunning Renaissance frescos added to its interior.
At the front of this cathedral is a huge circular rose window and a decorative arched doorway.
Furthermore, the exterior features two large gothic towers, one of which has an onion dome.
The aforementioned frescos in the aisles of the cathedral depict Saint Julian, and there is also a series of decorative stone statues.
3. Museo Diocesano Tridentino
Located in the Piazza del Duomo you can find the Palazzo Pretorio – this opulent structure has an old history but held within the palace is a fantastic museum.
This museum is dedicated to the religious history of Trento and features a wonderful collection of artefacts and relics dating from the 9th century to modern times.
Split into several different categories, the museum features paintings, wooden sculptures, tapestries, treasures and manuscripts.
The paintings date as far back as the Middle Ages whilst the wooden sculptures feature some truly magnificent detail and design.
Each collection is beautifully presented and this whole museum helps build up a picture of the history of the cathedral of Trento, but also of the various techniques used to create the religious artefacts.
4. Via Belenzani
Leading directly from the Piazza del Duomo, the Via Belenzani is one of the central streets in the old town and features some fine architecture and selection of shops and restaurants.
Contained on this street is a selection of historical buildings that are covered with beautiful coloured frescos dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
When walking on this street, you will feel transported into a different era.
Notable buildings include the Palazzo Thun, the Palazzo Municipale and Casa Geremia.
On each building is a series of motifs ranging from classical, historical and mythological – despite the age of the buildings, the detail is still fantastic and the colours are vibrant.
Simply known as the museum of Science, the MUSE complex is a wonderful building and a great attraction for all the family.
Located on the banks of the River Adige, this museum can be reached from the Piazza del Duomo on foot in roughly 20 minutes.
The structures this museum is housed in feature a modernist design and are just as interesting as the collections held within.
Inside the intriguing structures is a series of interactive and well-presented exhibitions – these exhibitions display the natural environment of the local region, together with geological information, taxidermy examples of wildlife and displays on natural phenomenon’s such as avalanches.
If you are looking for a detailed and entertaining insight into the Alpine regions of Italy, this museum will deliver!
6. Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore
Sometimes overshadowed by the Duomo, the Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore is nonetheless a beautiful building and worthy of a visit in its own right.
You can find this charming church to the north west of the Duomo and it can easily be reached on foot.
The exterior of this church features a similar design to the Duomo and has a large circular rose window and a ornate triangular pediment at the top.
Furthermore, the doorway contains some delightful stucco detail, and there is a large bell tower at the rear.
Within the church, there is a myriad of decoration, and a notable feature is the magnificent Baroque altars.
7. Museum of Aeronautics
Another fantastic museum in the region surrounding Trento, the Museum of Aeronautics is located at the Trento international airport.
From the centre of the city, you can reach the museum by car in approximately 15 minutes.
Within this old aircraft hangar is a collection of historic airplanes from various time periods.
Including in the collection is a range of Caproni designed planes, a Fokker D. VII and even a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter.
Other models include the Breda Ba.19 (an aerobatic aircraft), the Ansaldo A.1 (an Italian fighter plane), and a Reggiane Re.2005. Each plane has been maintained beautifully and has some detailed information about its history and usage.
8. Take to the slopes on Mount Paganella
To the north west of Trento is the immense Mount Paganella.
This mountain range is renowned for its skiing and winter sports opportunities and is a great place to visit for those who love a little adventure and Alpine landscapes.
If you fancy trying your hand at skiing, Paganella features a plethora of ski resorts including ski lifts at Andalo-Doss Pela, Teresat, Salare Conca and San Antonio.
Near the top of the mountain is the Rifugio la Roda which offers shelter, warm food and supplies.
The landscapes here are truly breath-taking and aside from the skiing, the photographic and hiking opportunities are endless.
9. Underground Roman Tridentum
You would not know by simply looking, but underneath the city of Trento lays an ancient Roman town that has been completely buried.
The city of Tridentum was built and inhabited during the first century BC during the Roman conquest of this region of Italy.
As the Roman Empire expanded, Tridentum was developed and became an important military and trading post.
Today you can see several excavations of the ancient city that reveal some of the original city wall and sections of the fantastic Roman roads.
Furthermore, several remains of houses still exist complete with mosaics.
This site provides an interesting look at the ancient history of this region.
10. Explore Lake Garda
Trento lies approximately 1 hour from the northern edge of the immense Lake Garda.
This lake is the largest in the whole of Italy and is renowned as one of the most beautiful regions in the country.
Due to the lakes impressive scenery, charming towns that rest on its shores, and the variety of activities and sites you can see here, it is one of the premier holiday locations in Lombardy.
A day trip to this spectacular region from Trento is well advised and there is plenty to do and see.
Particular points of interest include the mighty Monte Baldo, the charming promontory of Sirmione, and the delightful coastal town of Rive del Garda.
11. Cesare Battisti Mausoleum
On the western banks of the Adige River you can find the grounds of Doss Trento which are covered in gorgeous woodland.
On the top of this small hill is a fantastic monument dedicated to Cesare Battisti.
During the early 1900’s, Battisti was an important figure in Italy and was exectuted at the hands of the Austrian army during WW1. The monument itself features a circular design with a series of large stone columns – the design looks almost Roman or Greek.
From here you have fantastic views across to the main part of Trento and the river.
Furthermore, there is also a series of old military howitzer cannons and also the historic Alpine Museum.
12. Visit the village of Mezzano
This small village lies to the west of Trento and can be reached in approximately 50 minutes by car.
Mezzano has a population of just 1,600 and is situated in the middle of a valley in the dolomites.
The main square of this village is filled with greenery and there is a small church and a war monument.
Surrounding Mezzano is a series of hiking trails that snakes through the mountains and luscious forests.
For those who love the outdoors and a little adventure, this region is the perfect place to explore.
For a day trip from the city of Trento, Mezzano is a fantastic destination and you will find yourself falling in love with this quaint mountain village.
13. Enjoy a quality Italian meal at Locanda Margon
Although a little out of the way, the Locanda Margon restaurant offers extremely high quality food and an fantastic dining experience.
Located to the south of Trento on the slopes of the mountains, this restaurant is surrounded by acres of vineyards and small farm houses.
You can sample some of the local wine during your meal and there is a great selection to choose from.
The menu has a divine selection of authentic Italian dishes, meat courses and seafood.
Each meal is presented to perfection and several of the dishes are brought out on specialist plates.
Consider dining out at Locanda Margon for an evening of excellent cuisine and fine wine.
14. Piazza del Duomo
Located in the heart of the old town, the Piazza del Duomo is one of the main squares in Trento.
This magnificent square features a series of fantastic buildings and is often thriving with local activity.
Buildings of note include the previously mentioned Cathedral of Trento, the medieval Palazzo Pretorio and the intriguing Casa Balduini.
Furthermore, in the centre of the square is the opulent Fountain of Neptune complete with statues of the water god and his trident.
Aside from these structures, the rest of the buildings on the square are painted in a myriad of bright colours that really bring this area to life.
Consider admiring the architecture, or sitting outside at one of the cafes for a coffee or meal.
15. Mercatini Di Natale
You may not consider Italy to be a prime destination for Christmas markets, but the Mercatini Di Natale is one of the prime events in Trento and is held annually in the Piazza di Fiera.
This delightful square is located only a short walk from the Piazza del Duomo and is partly surrounded by one of the old defensive walls from the Middle Ages.
From November the 18th to January the 6th, this square is transformed into a winter wonderland.
Here you will find all manner of stalls and foods stands selling a fantastic range of Christmas goodies.
The atmosphere is amazing and the colours, smells and sights create an unforgettable experience.