Trento - Italy

Alicia Miller takes in the intricate frescoes of this northern Italian city and finds that, thanks to the local sparkling wine, cured meats and cheeses, it’s hard to go hungry.

Travel Time 4hrs 10min

Why go?

Central and southern Italy might rack up the visitor numbers, but Trento, capital of the Trentino Alto Adige region in Italy’s north, has everything you could ask for in an Italian holiday. There’s a long, illustrious history (the Council of Trent took place here), sublime architecture (it’s nicknamed ‘the painted city’) and moreish food and wine. Then there’s the location; surrounded by mountains, in a region dotted with lakes, vineyards and apple orchards, even if you tire of the city’s many delights – which is difficult – there are plenty of nearby green spaces to escape to.

What to do

Site of the Council of Trent from 1545-1563, this Italian city was the centre of Christianity during the 16th century and, as a result, has an impressive display of period buildings and artworks. Piazza Duomo is the obvious place to begin; the magnificent Duomo is the city‘s focal point, and it now also holds an important museum. Beautiful buildings radiate outwards from the piazza in a jumble of baroque, renaissance and medieval styles; particularly notable are the scores with colourful 16th-century frescoes (the air is so good that they are all original). You could spend days examining the architecture, but for the crown jewel head to the enormous Castello del Buonconsiglio, seat of several prince-bishops and home to the spectacular 15th-century fresco, Cycle of the Months. To get a sense of the city’s origins, visit the ruins of the Roman settlement, Tridentum, beneath Piazza Lodron; some areas are so well preserved you can still see Roman-era paw prints. Back above ground, check out Trento’s modern side: two old traffic tunnels at Piedicastello have been transformed into quirky galleries, and there’s the MART (mart.trento.it), a modern art museum. No visit is complete without exploring Trento’s wine regions, so head to the hills to visit winemakers producing Trento DOC – a traditional method sparkling, nosiola and vino santo – a nutty, honeyed dessert wine. Pravis (pravis.it) runs tours and tastings at its winery, which produces all manner of still wines, while Pisoni (pisoni.it) is a great place to try varietal-specific grappa, another of the region’s specialities.

Where to stay

Adjacent to Piazza Duomo, the Aquila d’Oro (00 39 461 986282, aquiladoro.it) is recently renovated; service is very friendly, showers are waterfall style, and some larger rooms come with infrared saunas. Outside the city centre, among the lush greenery of the surrounding vineyards and woods, Relais Villa Madruzzo (00 39 461 986220, villamadruzzo.com) occupies a 16th-century prince-bishop’s summer home. It also has a popular restaurant serving excellent pasta and risotto dishes.

Where to eat and drink

Sample the local smoked salami, mortandela, and trentingrana (similar to parmesan), all washed down with copious amounts of Trento DOC at Palazzo Roccabruna (00 39 461 887101, palazzoroccabruna.it); the historic house has been transformed into a venue dedicated to the region’s produce, and sells tasting plates and glasses at very reasonable prices. For something more substantial, Le Due Spade (00 39 461 234343, http://leduespade.com) has been open since the 16th century; these days it produces refined local classics, such as cheesy polenta, fir-steamed venison and a yummy apple strudel. Spilling out onto the city square, Scrigno del Duomo (00 39 461 220030, scrignodelduomo.com) is an atmospheric maze of rooms; opt for white asparagus and speck lasagne, and walnut and caramel pie. If you feel peckish while exploring the wine regions, head for Castel Toblino (00 39 461 864036, casteltoblino.com) – one of the region’s most spectacularly located eateries. Perched on Lake Toblino, the restaurant has an excellent fish menu, including stuffed perch with vegetables, and candied lemon and char cooked on larch bark.

Time running out?

Don’t leave without visiting Ferrari (cantineferrari.it), the region’s much lauded (and very first) Trento DOC producer. They give tours and tastings in their winery, but also own the magnificent Villa Morgon, which is open for visits, and a nearby restaurant.


Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the euro. Trento is one hour ahead of GMT, and is a two-hour flight, plus two-hour drive from London.

Getting There

Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies from London Stansted to Milan-Bergamo, from which Trento is a two-hour drive.
Alitalia (alitalia.com) flies direct from London Heathrow to Milan.


Trento Tourist Board and Visit Trentino (visittrentino.it) are great resources for planning your trip, and also run tours of the city and region.

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

Min Temp-6-6-5-4268842-3-6
Max Temp-2-2028121514961-2

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