Do you remember that beautiful Italian city I was talking about a couple of months ago; Trento? I said it was the loveliest city in Italy that you’d probably never heard of. Well, now I want to talk about the whole region of Trentino, which you might not have heard of either! While I was in Trento, I got to spend a few days exploring part of the Trentino region and fell in love with it. If you are wondering where to go to Northern Italy to get away from busy cities like Venice and Milan, then Trentino is definitely for you! Here are just 7 of the many reasons why you should visit Trentino.
Where is Trentino?
The region of Trentino-Alto Adige or Trentino-South Tyrol is on the northern border of Italy, above Veneto where Venice and Verona are, and north-east of Lombardia, where Milan is. The region is split into two provinces, Bolzano – Bozen to the north and Trentino, the province of Trento, to the south. Trentino borders the northern tip of Lake Garda and is easily accessible from Verona and the rest of Italy. It is surprisingly close to several major tourist destinations, yet remains relatively undiscovered, by English visitors at least.
Why Visit Trentino?
Although I only visited a small part of the Trentino Region, it was already enough to convince me that I have to go back and explore more. I went to Trentino for a travel blogger conference, run by Traverse in partnership with Visit Trentino, and I was blown away. Everyone from Visit Trentino was so excited to have us there, as for some reason Trentino hasn’t made it onto the radar of most tourists yet! They wanted to bring a whole bunch of bloggers to the region so we could show the world what Trentino has to offer. And WOW! I can’t believe I’d never heard of Trentino before! So, I’m doing my part to try and spread the word about this beautiful region of Italy. You should definitely go soon, before the world catches on.
I have to start with the scenery. Trentino is incredibly beautiful. Lakes, mountains, waterfalls, lush green fields filled with wildflowers; everywhere I looked was simply stunning. The UNESCO listed Dolomite Mountains are in the north of the region, and although we didn’t go that far north, we could see the mountains in the distance from most of the places we visited. We spent our time in and around the Valle di Cembra and Valle dei Mocheni, winding our way up the roads to look down at the valleys below.
One of the best views of my week in Trentino was from the cable car in Trento, and the other from Fattoria Le Mandre which was simply breath-taking. For a unique landscape though, you have to visit the Pyramids of Segonazo, bizarre rock formations eroded by the weather to leave pillars of soil topped with stone ‘hats’ (see the cover photo).
Delicious Food and Wine
OMG, the food and the wine here is AMAZING! The region’s specialities are Italian dishes but with a distinctly Alpine flavour, blending hearty comfort food with delicious fresh produce and exceptional wine. The high altitude and fertile soil in the region lend themselves well to producing unique wine unlike anything else in Italy. I imagine you’ve heard of Prosecco, the sparkling wine from the Veneto region? Trentino has TrentoDoc, another sparkling wine made with grapes grown on the hillsides of the region which quickly became my drink of choice!
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I enjoyed every dish I tried here, from tagliatelle with wild mushrooms to deer carpaccio and spinach & parmesan dumplings. My stomach is rumbling at the thought! We also foraged for wild strawberries and tried some incredibly creamy ice-cream from the Grey Alpine cows we helped to herd. Portions are generous here, and the courses just kept coming, even with my large appetite I struggled to finish some of the meals, so come here hungry and ready to enjoy.
Why Visit Trentino – For Friendly People
The people are often the ones who can make or break a destination for me. Here, everyone we met was friendly, welcoming and clearly passionate about whatever they did. From our guide Paulo at the Pyramids of Segonzano who led us through the forest, pointing out flowers, wild strawberries and birdsong, to the farmer Marco at Fattoria Le Mandre who let us (attempt to) herd his cows up the hill.
Certainly, the most flamboyant was the wildly enthusiastic owner of the Living Rocks Museum, Mario, who showed us how to pan for gold. He also gave us a tour of the museum he and brother created with stones they collected themselves from various expeditions in the mountains and mines. Kids would love it here, and we all enjoyed panning for specks of gold in their custom-made streams, so much so we didn’t want to leave!
Everyone was met wanted to share how special Trentino is, which was lovely to see.
Fascinating Culture and History
Trentino has a complex history and has been under the rule of various empires since the region was conquered by the Romans in 15 BC. Everyone from Germanic Tribes to French, Italians, Austro-Hungarians and Germans have all left their mark here, creating a distinct blend of cultures.
Although in Trentino the majority language is Italian, German is also spoken here, and there is still a community in the Valle dei Mòcheni who speak an old German dialect called Mòcheno. The Mòcheni are fighting to preserve from the onslaught of social media and television when the younger generation prefers to speak German or Italian – or English. We visited the Instituto Mocheno and a traditional Mocheno farmstead to learn more about the community here which was really interesting.
We also visited one of the highest museum areas in Europe nearly 1500m above sea level, where an archaeological site has preserved ‘ovens’ used to extract copper from calcium pyrite stone from 13th – 11th century BC. It is amazing to me how the people developed tools and techniques to heat the stone to such a high temperature, it was mind-blowing!
Beautiful Towns and Villages
Trento, the capital of the region, is a lovely city and there are plenty of things to do in Trento to keep you occupied for a few days. Known as the painted city, Trento is famous for the frescoes which adorn many of the buildings in the city, and the walls of the castle. Outside of the city, the beauty of Trentino lies in the scenery and the little towns and villages dotted around the mountainside. Sometimes just a few houses and a church, several vineyards and an occasional castle make up the towns, each one as picturesque as the last.
We visited the Castle of Segonzano, which features in some of Albrecht Durer’s paintings, nestled among rows of vines and a short walk from the village. The quaint houses are definitely more Alpine than Italian, and each home is well kept and just oh so pretty!
Why Visit Trentino – To Try A Range of Activities
You will never get bored in Trentino. Even in a few short days, we tried Nordic Walking in the mountains, panning for gold, venturing down a mine and even trying our hand at making cheese. The region is also excellent for hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding and water sports on the lakes during the summer, and for skiing in the winter.
It was the first time I’d tried Nordic Walking and to be honest I really wasn’t convinced at first, I found swinging the walking poles to be awkward and unnecessary, but by the end, I’d got the hang of it – and loved the scenery as we walked along. Close to Trento I also had the chance to go horse-riding along a trail through wineries which was a lovely relaxing ride.
Going into the mine was probably the most nervous I felt during my time in Trentino, and although I’m not claustrophobic I am not a fan of caves as I get paranoid I’ll slip over. However, we were given helmets and off we went, visiting the Mine of Erdemolo which was first used 600 years ago when the Mocheni people carved out the mine by hand, searching for copper.
If you want to relax in Trentino, then there is absolutely no pressure here. Alternatively, if you want to chill out after a hard day’s hiking then you can do that too. Wellness and relaxation are an important part of life in Trentino.
We got to try a slightly strange kind of relaxation, at Beewellness Gocce d’Oro. Here at Gocce d’Oro Apicoltura e Giardino d’Erbe, Matteo Andreatti came up with the idea of combining the family business of beekeeping (apiculture) with a wellness project. Inside their Beewellness centre, you lie on comfortable beds and listen to the sound of the bees as they go about their work. The sounds and smells of the honey bees create a relaxing environment where you can meditate, or even take a nap.
We also spent two nights at the Hotel Belvedere Wellness & Family, a large hotel with a pool, spa and sauna. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to take advantage of the facilities, but we had dinner there on our first night which was delicious. A buffet breakfast is provided, and you can arrange bike rides, horse riding and other activities at reception.
So, have I convinced to visit Trentino? I hope so! Just don’t wait too long, Trentino won’t be Italy’s hidden gem for much longer.
I’d love to hear what you think about Trentino, please leave your comments below.
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This trip was in partnership with Visit Trentino and Traverse Events, and although the trip was complimentary I maintain full editorial control.
Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.Last updated: September 13, 2019