When tourists decide to visit Italy, they usually go to Rome. Then it varies depending on the people : Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Sicily… But few people go visit Trento in Italy! Truthfully speaking, I didn’t even know the existence of this city before going there. But I had the opportunity to go to Trento for a travel blogging conference called Traverse. And honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by this small town! I didn’t really know what to expect, and I really liked it!
Trento is a small town with almost 120000 inhabitants, in Trentino-Alto Adige region, northeast of Italy in the Alps, not far from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Trento sits in the Adige Valley, and is surrounded by the Dolomites, the famous mountains now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not very far, there’s also Lake Garde, the largest lake in Italy. Trento is not the most famous city in Italy, but you can already deduce the landscapes there are just… wonderful! By the way, it’s in the Trentino-Alto Adige area that many Italians choose to spend their vacation days!
Trento reminded me of a big village. Yeah it looks like a village, like Montmartre in Paris. Trento is not too big, nor too small. The atmosphere is really relaxed, therefore visiting Trento is enjoyable. Moreover, the locals are friendly, welcoming and very nice. I think since Trento is less touristic than Rome, Milan or even Verona, the locals don’t hate (yet) the tourists staying in the city.
Even me, as a black person, I had a little apprehension before getting there but honestly, there’s nothing to report! The neighbors of the apartment I was staying at were greeting me warmly, with a big smile, and asked me several times if I needed anything. The cars stop to let you cross the street. We’re basically living the dolce vite in Trento! By the way, even in a small town like Trento, I ran into several black people! Sometimes we were doing the nod when bumping into each other!
Visiting Trento is a bit special. In fact, Trento was part of Austria from the 14th century, and was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918! We can still feel it today! The atmosphere and the mentality of the locals reminds more of Central Europe than the Mediterranean. When you go to the restaurant, the menu is in Italian but also in German (and sometimes in English, too!). The architecture reminds more of Austria than Italy.
The edge of Trento? You can go there any time of the year. Summertime, it’s the perfect place to go hiking, have a walk along the lakes, admire the valleys, go cycling or do activities like canyoning, rafting… Wintertime, the area is ideal to go skiing with the Dolomites a few kilometers away. No matter the season, you’ll see very beautiful landscapes. Trento is also a rich city, with a high standard of living. Trento is a destination suitable for couples, families, but also solo travelers like me!
What to do in Trento?
As I said, there’s a lot of things to do in Trentino-Alto Adige (rock climbing, hiking, skiing…), but there are several places to see in the city of Trento. Castello di Buonconsiglio is impressive! It’s impossible not to see it when visiting Trento. It dates back to the 13th century, and it was the seat of the bishop of Trento. It’s now a museum, Renaissance style, where it’s possible to visit different rooms exhibiting gothic art, the history of Trento… You can see wonderful frescos there. Visitors also love the view from the balcony on the 3rd floor. From there, you have a nice view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
Take the cable car to enjoy a very nice view from the heights of the city! The entrance of the cable car is just across the river, and it’s 5 euros the round trip if you don’t have the Trentino card (tips at the end of the article). Once you’re on top, as I said, you have a nice view of the city, and there’s also a bar/restaurant where you can savor delicious Italian dishes, or just have a drink.
In Trento, you’ll inevitably pass by Piazza Duomo. It’s the main square of Trento, located in the heart of the city. There’s a lot of people and bustle there, and you can admire beautiful buildings like the cathedral of Trento, the medieaval Palazzo Pretorio and the Casa Balduini. In the center of the square, you’ll find the very beautiful fountain of Neptune. In Piazza Duomo, it’s also possible to taste delicious gelatos (ice creams). For your information, the Piazza Duomo tower used to be the prison of the city.
The Gallerie at the tunnels of Piedicastello is another place to see. It used to be an old highway tunnel, and they turned it into an exhibition place. It’s 300-meters (984 ft.) long! The exhibitions are about the history of Trento in general. When I went there, there was an exhibition about Italy’s involvement during World War I, Trento which was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and then ceded to the kingdom of Italy, etc… It’s free to get in.
I’m not into museums in general but I gotta admit I really liked my visit of the MUSE museum. It’s the museum of science, with several floors. A lot of families were there. You’ll see exhibitions about the environment of the local region, animals who used to live there a long time ago, the avalanches of the area… There are also interactive experiences. A must see!
Finally, do not miss it in Trento, I’m talking about Orrido di Ponte Alto. It’s a stunning waterfall, actually located a few kilometers away from Trento. You cannot admire the waterfall by yourself, you need to be on a guided tour. It’s free, and guided tours leave every hour between 10am and 6pm. A must see! From Trente, take bus number 9 at Piazza Dante and get off at Cognola Scuole. It’s a 20-minutes ride. Then you’ll have to walk for like 10 minutes to get there.
I didn’t talk about it but take some time to savor the food there, it’s delicious in the area. Taste some Trentodoc, it’s the local sparkling wine. I really liked my stay in Trento, a beautiful hidden gem in Italy. Are you into nature, good food, and you like to stay active? Then go to Trento!
Trento travel tips
- How to get to Trento? There’s no airport at Trento, the closest one is at Verona. From there, you have to take the train or the bus, it’s a one-hour ride. There are other airports in the area. There’s one in Venice, but also in Milan, Bergamo, Bologna or even Innsbruck a bit further.
- Do not travel without a travel insurance!
- How to get around in Trento? Just walk, it’s possible to visit Trento by foot, it’s not a big city! You just have to take the bus to see the waterfall!
- Where to stay in Trento? There are plenty of options, just have a look here.
- The easiest way to visit Trento is to take a Trentino card. With this card, you can use public transportation for free, it’s possible to visit numerous museums and castles free of charge, and there are discounts on many other activities. The Trentino card is free if you stay at least two nights in one of those hotels. They hand you the card when you check-in. It’s free for people under 18. Otherwise you can buy the card at the tourist office. It’s 40 euros and valid for one week.
- Don’t trust weather apps regarding Trento! They were all saying the weather would be like 12°C/53°F, when it was actually 30°C/86°F. I think they take into account the temperature in the surrounding mountains.
- Get some pastas, pizzas and gelatos! 🙂