This guide on Trento will give you an overview of things to do and see in stunning, yet under-the-radar town in northern Italy, rich in history and beautiful sights.

What to see in Trento

One of the things I love about travelling in Italy is discovering gorgeous places that make me wonder why it took me so long to appreciate my country and the incredible places I have at my doorstep. Earlier this month I went to Trento to attend Traverse 19, an international conference for digital content creators that this year was hosted by the team at Visit Trentino. It was my first time in Trento and it quickly become another fantastic gem to add to my Italian diaries!

Trento is located in the Trentino Alto Adige region and is the capital city of the autonomous province of Trento. It has its share of Austrian influence, due to the region’s long history under the Austria-Hungarian empire.

Colorful houses in TrentoTrento has that authentic feel that can be hard to find in places like Venice or Rome nowadays. Forget pushy selfie-stick vendors, claustrophobic queues, and outrageous prices. In Trento it’s all about exploring pretty sights in a very relaxed atmosphere, with numerous gelato breaks, friendly talks with the locals and sweet mountain views.

Still wondering if Trento is worth visiting? Oh yes, let me show you why…

Trentino Guest Card

Surprise, surprise! When travelling to Trentino, you will receive a Trentino Guest Card, a special tourist pass that gives you free entrance to a wide range of attractions and castles around the region. It also allows you to circulate freely on public transport (trains included) and provides discounts and other exclusive services. Pretty cool, right? I hardly spent any money during this trip with it!

I got the card as part of the conference package, but regular travellers have to spend at least two nights in one of the hotels adhering to the initiative in order to receive it. Alternatively, you can stay one night only and request the card at a special price ( I think you ave to ask the hotel directly about this).

Buonconsiglio Castle, one of the top things to see in Trento

Buonconsiglio Castle is Trento’s most famous landmark and is also considered one of the most important monumental complex in the region. This beautiful castle has an ancient history that dates back to the XIII century, and played a key role in the political and cultural history of Trento. It was one of the locations that hosted the famous Council of Trento in the XVI century, and the place where Italian patriot Cesare Battisti was imprisoned and executed during WWI.

Buonconsiglio Castle in TrentoI spent a good couple of hours staring at the stunning frescoes and extensive collection of paintings and sculptures. There is also a fantastic Venetian loggia on the third floor that offers some pretty amazing views over Trento.

The Venetian Loggia in the Buonconsiglio Castle in TrentoEntry to the Buonconsiglio Castle is free with the Trentino Guest Card (regular price is €10), but I recommend paying the extra €2 to visit the Eagle Tower and its beautiful “Cycle of The Months” frescoes detailing court life throughout the year at the end of the Middle Ages. Visits take place every 45 minutes and you’ll be given an audio guide that explains every fresco.

The Buonconsiglio Castle in TrentoThe castle is surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with trees and colorful flowers and there is also a pretty cafeteria to grab a drink after the visit.

The garden of Buonconsiglio castle in TrentoTrento Cathedral

Right in the buzzing heart of Trento lies a beautiful cathedral with stunning interiors. It was built on the burial ground of Saint Vigilius, the patron saint of Trento, and the ruins of the old religious building can still be seen by descending underneath the cathedral. This is also the place the Decrees of the Council of Trento were issued.

The Cathedral of TrentoI really liked the interiors, with an imposing baroque canopy dominating the altar and many works of art. There are two beautiful staircases that lead up to the two bell towers, but they were closed when I visited.

The Cathedral of Trento

Trento’s historic centre

Trento has a small, colorful and elegant historic centre that makes for a delightful walk among art and culture. I loved strolling around with my nose up, marveling at the colorful buildings, the charming architecture, the cozy cafés and the pretty shops housed in historic buildings!

The Fountain of Neptune in TrentoTrento’s central square is Piazza Duomo, dominated by the Fountain of Neptune, one of the town’s most recognizable landmarks, and the gorgeous Medieval house called Casa Cazuffi-Rella. Here you’ll find also the imposing Civic Tower and the Palazzo Pretorio that today houses the prestigious Diocesan Museum.

Palazzo Geremia in Via Belenzani in TrentoNot to miss is Via Belenzani, which is lined with fantastic Renaissance buildings featuring stunning frescoed facades, like Palazzo Geremia and Palazzo Thun, currently home to the local town hall.

MUSE, Trento’s Science Museum

It took me a bit of a walk to find the MUSE, but it was totally worth it – and it’s said from someone who’s not a huge science fan! It’s located slightly outside the town centre, in the new Le Albere district where buildings have striking glass facades and green is king – quite a contrast from the ancient and colorful buildings of piazza Dante!

The building that houses the museum was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, as the rest of the district, and its shape resembles that of a mountain. Its huge glass walls are truly impressive! 

MUSE Science Museum in TrentoInside you’ll find 6 floors filled with plants, stuffed animals and dinosaurs’ skeletons. Each floor offers super interesting hands-on activities for kids, spanning from climate change to the secrets of DNA (the genetic exhibition was my favourite part). Oh, and there is also a panoramic terrace with great views over the Adige valley.

MUSE Science Museum in TrentoAfter the visit I grabbed a coffee and pastry from the museum café and relaxed for a bit in the beautiful gardens.

Palazzo delle Albere

Right next to the MUSE you’ll find Palazzo delle Albere, a pretty Renaissance-style villa. During the Council of Trent this beautiful villa was the place of feasts and tournaments to welcome princes and ambassadors, while today it hosts art and photography exhibitions.

Palazzo delle Albere in TrentoThere’s not much to see inside, just some traces of the beautiful frescoes that once decorated the walls. If you are visiting the MUSE then I suggest to pay a quick visit to the villa (entry is free), otherwise I wouldn’t consider it a destination in its own right.

Trento cable car

If you like a good view, then you should hop on the cable car by the Adige river that quickly takes you to a panoramic terrace with gorgeous views of the city and the valley around it. You’ll find it near the San Lorenzo Bridge.

Trento cable carTip: don’t limit your visit to the terrace (or drinks at Bistrot Trento Alta just outside the cable car station…). Keep walking for about 10 minutes until you reach Sardagna, a tiny village decorated with beautiful murals depicting scenes from rural life. 

The village of Sardagna in TrentoThe cable car is open every day from 7am to 10:30 pm, you can check the timetable here. Tickets are free with the Trentino Guest Card (regular return tickets cost €5) and you can bring your on bike for an extra €2. I usually don’t mind the heights but felt a little dizzy on the way up to the mountain, so you might want to consider this before taking the trip.

Delicious local food

Eating in Trento is an amazing culinary experience. No, I’m not talking about some local variety of pasta or pizza. I’m talking about truly unique dishes rooted in this fantastic territory and characterized by a blend of Mediterranean flavours, mountain cooking traditions and Austrian influences. These include canederli, dumplings made with bread, cured meat and cheese and served with a variety of sauces or broth, tortel di patate, kind of a potato pancake served with cured meat and cheeses, and some steaming hot polenta made with corn flour. Strudel, a layered pastry filled with apples, raisins and cinnamon, is the most popular dessert. 

Canederli the typical food in TrentoThe region of Trentino has an important winemaking tradition and produces some great wines. The most famous ones are the white sparkling Trentodoc and the red Teroldego. Oh and end your meal like a local with a glass of grappa! Be prepared though, it’s pretty strong…

Tip: check out Palazzo Roccabruna for a quick introduction to Trentino’s 600 wine labels. The building is home to the Provincial Wine Promotion Board of Trentino that organizes wine tastings on Thursday and Saturday evenings.  

Doss Trento

Doss is a small hill that stands on the right bank of the Adige river. It is a striking element of Trento’s landscape and a popular excursion from the town centre (it’s a 40-minute walk).

Mausoleo Cesare Battisti in TrentoAt the top of it stand the Mausoleum of the Cesare Battisti, the man who fought for the annexation of Trentino to Italy, and the Museum of the Alpini Troops.

Day trips from Trento

Trento is a great base to explore the incredibles beauties of the Trentino region, plus remember that you can use public transports for free with the Trentino Guest Card!  

A quick bus journey will take you to the Orrido di Ponte Alto,  a fantastic canyon with a magnificent 40m high water falls. It’s open only on Saturdays and Sundays, though, so plan your visit accordingly.

Orrido di Ponte Alto in Trento

Photo: ecoargentario.it

Mountain lovers should head to Monte Bondone, which is  often referred to as the local mountain of Trento. It’s only a half-hour bus drive from Trento’s city centre and it’s both a popular winter destination for skiers and a summer gateway for some great hiking in the nature.

Trentino is home to some spectacular lakes that can be easily reached from Trento. One of these is Lake Toblino, which is considered one of the most romantic lakes in the region due to the fairytale atmosphere created by an ancient castle reflecting on the water and the surrounding woods. It’s only about 15 km from Trento with bus lines B201 or B201. Another beautiful lake to visit while in town is Lake Molveno Bus line B611will take you there in about 1h 15 min. It has some serious crystal-blue waters and the gorgeous back drop of the Brent’s Dolomites.

Other popular lakes in the vicinity of Trento are Caldonazzo and Levico, which can be reached with the regional train line from Trento to Bassano del Grappa in about 45 minutes. You’ll fined great beaches and super transparent waters. 

If you are short of time, you could also visit Lake Garda in a day from Trento. In about an hour by bus you can reach Riva del Garda a lovely town located at the northernmost point of Lake Garda. It surely offers a great introduction to the beauties of the lake.

Riva del GardaAnd finally, if you have a car and are looking for a one-of-kind experience, then you should consider visiting Maso Eden, just about 28km south of Trento. It’s a farm specialized in the rearing of lamas and alpacas and organizes hikes in their company.

Trento is small enough to be easily explored on foot. I spent a day and a half exploring it and I feel it’s a good amount of time to see all the main sights and get a good feel of the town.

USEFUL TIPS

  • Getting to Trento is pretty easy. The closest airport is Verona and from there it’s a quick bus ride to the station to catch a train that brings you to Trento in about an hour. The train journey itself is pretty scenic, passing through vineyards and mountains.
  • You can check the timetables of public transport on the Trentino Trasporti website
  • There are some pretty hotels bed and breakfasts scattered around town. Many bloggers that attended the Traverse conference stayed at the Grand Hotel Trento and told me it’s very nice. Also the Heart of Trento Luxury BnB seemed to be a popular choice. I personally opted for this very nice Airbnb in Trento city center with the most welcoming host. If it’s your first time using Airbnb you can click here for a discount
  • Great places to eat in Trento are Ristorante al Vò, the town’s oldest restaurant (it dates back to 1345!), Green Tower (they do excellent pizzas, among other things) and Antica Trattoria Due Mori. I had the best gelato at Fior di Gusto and I recommend a coffee break at the cute La Vie En Rose and aperitivo at Scrigno del Duomo. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Antica Birreria Pedavena for excellent artisanal beer and some tasty bites.
  • Stock up on foodie souvenirs from Salumeria Belli in Piazza Vittoria, in particular matured speck, salted meat and luganega, the typical Trentino salami… yum! If you love coffee, then you should also drop by at Casa del Caffè for some excellent coffee blends!
  • I think Trento is one of those places that can be visited all year around, because it offers great things to do in any season. In December the towns lights up for the traditional Christmas markets in the old town.

Until next time,

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14 Comments

Debjani Lahiri 24 June 2019 at 22:57

This place looks like a dream in a dream . Dream for me because, Italy is one such place which is a perfect combo of beauty, luxury and food . And Trento looks like just the same . I would definitely put this place in my Italy itinerary whenever I get to visit this place .

    Val 26 June 2019 at 09:21

    Thanks so much Debjani, love reading messages like yours about how amazing my country is!

Medha Verma 25 June 2019 at 12:57

I can totally imagine that there must be so many such smaller cities and towns in Italy that a tourist who’s there for a short period of time doesn’t manage to explore. I have never heard of Trento but it has everything an Italian town is expected to – from great food to amazing wine and even the architecture. Buonconsiglio Castle looks absolutely breathtaking by the way, would be my top pick, apart from the cable car.

    Val 26 June 2019 at 09:18

    I know, there’s such a variety of places to explore here in Italy that it’s impossible to squeeze all of them in a single trip. A good excuse to come back soon 😀

Vanessa 25 June 2019 at 16:25

The Trentino Guest Card sounds like a ‘must-have’ to see the sights. I’ll admit, I don’t know much about Trento but the Buonconsiglio Castle looks stunning especially with the fantastic views. I bet there is wonderful atmosphere in Trento dining al frescos in the cute cafes. Great tip about walking to Sardagna after getting off the cable car too. I’d definitely love to visit Trento.

    Val 26 June 2019 at 09:14

    Thanks Vanessa! The Trentino Guest Card is a great bonus indeed 🙂 !

Emman Damian 25 June 2019 at 21:51

I haven’t been to Trento yet. I have been to Rome and Vatican City but not on this side of Italy. I wanted to see Buonconsiglio Castle and I hope I can make it happen next year. I want to also try the local cuisine in Trento. Seems like a great gastronomic adventure for me!

    Val 26 June 2019 at 09:15

    Hope you’ll be able to visit Trento and the surrounding area soon, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Daniel 26 June 2019 at 09:03

I’ve never heard about Trento but the place sounds absolutely amazing! I love small hidden towns that aren’t that touristy and would love to visit it someday! It seems like Trento has everything one might expect from some of the other famous tourist destinations in Italy. Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work!

    Val 26 June 2019 at 09:15

    Thanks Daniel!!

Clarice 27 June 2019 at 08:44

Wow! I have never been to Trento and getting a Trenton Guest Cards sounds wonderful. I wish other locations can also offer the same. It would be such a great perk to attract more tourism activities.

    Val 1 July 2019 at 09:27

    I know, right? Receiving the card was a great surprise! 😀

Yukti 29 June 2019 at 09:33

Sometimes I wonder, why we go to overcrowded touristy Italian destinations and leave beautiful and peaceful places like Trento. Buonconsiglio Castle, is really photogenic and good to know that it has large collections of paintings. Trento’s historic center is looking very rustic place.

    Val 1 July 2019 at 09:28

    I think that any first-time traveller to Italy should see Venice, Rome and Florence but it’s important to understand that Italy is not limited to those 3-4 big places, there are so many fantastic places to explore!

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Ciao! I’m Val

Ciao! I’m Val

Ciao! I'm Valentina, an Italian blogger with a huge passion for my country, its culture and traditions. My Italian Diaries is the online space where I share my expert knowledge of itineraries, activities and off-the-beaten path places to help you experience the best of Italy like a local.

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