Trento is the capital city of the province of Trentino. It is a lovely place just two hours from the Austrian border. It is culturally Italian with a hint of Austrian influence. Trento is surrounded by beautiful mountains (the southern part of the Alps and the Dolomites) and lakes (in particular lake Garda, known for its mild climate); it is dominated by the nearby Mounts Bondone (2,170 m.) and Paganella (2,125 m.). The high craggy limestone buttresses and spires of the Dolomites soar above the conifer forests and plains surrounding their foothills. At dawn and dusk their pinkish rock becomes tinted pastel pink, red, and violet, which is indeed a spectacular sight. The valleys, woodland, grassland, and small lakes between the peaks are breath taking. This is why the Dolomite mountains are famous throughout the world. Trento is a city rooted in art and history, where the Italian and Mitteleuropean cultures meet. The unique charm of a Renaissance Alpine city, where history is art. Unique amongst the Alpine cities, the City of the Council (1545 – 1563) still keeps its precious monuments as tokens of its rich artistic and historic heritage. Built in the elegant Renaissance style, they have been enhanced by recent refurbishing works. Special mention goes to the Castello del Buonconsiglio (for several centuries residence of the Prince Bishops of Trento), the Duomo, its splendid piazza and fountain dedicated to Neptune, the frescoed houses and Council Churches as well as the museums and exhibitions which make Trento a true landmark of Alpine arts, culture and traditions. The “imperial” tour starts at Castello del Buonconsiglio and takes visitors across the historical city-centre up to the piazza Duomo, along Via San Marco, via Manci and via Belenzani, running past some of the most beautiful palaces of the city and their surrounding network of roads, alleyways and squares – where other historical buildings can be discovered, such as Via Suffragio’s characteristic arcades and the city’s ancient towers and battlements. Trento offers visitors its richly historical and artistic heritage all year around. Visitors can admire its beauties while strolling around the city-centre’s alleys, enjoying shopping or visiting the city’s museums.
HISTORY
The origins of this city on the river track to Bolzano and the low Alpine passes of Brenner and the Passo di Resia (Reschenpass) over the Alps are disputed. Some scholars maintain it was a Rhaetian settlement: the Adige area was however influenced by neighbouring populations, including the (Adriatic) Veneti, the Etruscans, the Cimbri, and the Gauls (a Celtic people). According to other theories, the latter did instead found the city during the fourth century BC. Trento was conquered by the Romans in the late 1st century BC, after several clashes with the Rhaetian tribes. The Romans gave their settlement the name Tridentum (Tri Dentum, meaning ‘Three Teeth’) because of the three hills that surround the city. If you walk from Piazza Battisti you can walk through Roman ruins: gates, roads, houses. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the independent bishopric of Trento was ruled by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards and Franks, finally becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1027, Emperor Conrad II created the Prince-Bishops of Trento, who wielded both temporal and religious powers. In the following centuries, however, the sovereignty was divided between the Bishopric of Trent and the County of Tyrol (from 1363 part of the Habsburg monarchy). Around 1200, Trento became a mining center of some significance: silver was mined from the Monte Calisio – Khalisperg, and Prince-Bishop Federico Wanga issued the first mining code of the alpine region. In the 16th century Trento became notable for the Council of Trent (1545–1563) which gave rise to the Counter-Reformation. Prince-bishops ruled Trento until the Napoleonic era, when it bounced around among various states. Under the reorganization of the Holy Roman Empire in 1802, the Bishopric was secularized and annexed to the Habsburg territories. TheTreaty of Pressburg in 1805 ceded Trent to Bavaria, and the Treaty of Schönbrunn four years later gave it to Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy. With Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, Trento was finally annexed by the Habsburg Empire, becoming part of the province of Tyrol. After World War I, Trento and its Italian-speaking province, along with Bolzano (Bozen) and the part of Tyrol that stretched south of the Alpine watershed (which was, in the main, German speaking), were annexed by Italy.
SIGHTSEEING
The Duomo is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Indeed Piazza del Duomo is ranked amongst Italy’s finest, with much of the merit rightly going to Adamo d’Arogno’s masterpiece, which was built in the 13 th century. (There’s a small square dedicated to the architect at the back entrance of the cathedral.). It was built mainly in Romanesque style but has Gothic influences on its façade, which with its immense portal complete with 14th Century lunette is a sight to behold. Castello del Buonconsiglio – Via Bernardo Clesio 5. This castle is one of the top attractions in Trento and it is located in the town itself. It is one of the biggest castles in Italy and is made up of many different styles, the oldest part of the castle dates back to the 13th century. One of the castles highlights is the Torre dell’ Aquila. This is a sight not to be missed when visiting Trento. The Buonconsiglio castle, which dates back to the 13 th century, now houses a museum. Abbey of San Lorenzo – Via Pozzo 2. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Trento and dates back to the 12th century, and was one of the most frequented churches during the period of the Catholic Council. The church is surrounded by a beautiful garden, which adds to the church’s beauty. Museum of Natural Science Trento, Italy Trento is rich in paleontological flavor. In fact, several of the castles and churches that held these counter reformation activities of the Council of Trent are composed of fossil-rich marble, mined from the surrounding Alps. Every street and sidewalk in Trento is composed of this rose or white colored marble, and everywhere you step you are bound to walk on the remains of Jurassic ammonites. Even Castello del Buonconsiglio, has walls composed of ammonite-rich limestone. The Trento Museum of Natural Science is located near the large castle and contains paleontology, geology, mineraology, zoology, insectology, and botany exhibits. Many interesting local fossils and even a surprising dinosaur footprint can be seen here.