I realize this may be shocking…as we once again encourage you to visit northern Italy. Truly, we can’t help ourselves. We have traveled throughout the country and feel love for many areas from Tuscany to Amalfi, yet always gravitate back to this dynamic duo:
Veneto & Trentino.
Outdoor living and pursuits are boundless, wines and cuisine are distinctive – with the tastes of both regions being different than anywhere else in Italy – and, the people are welcoming and kind.
When it comes to Trentino, any visit should begin in capital city Trento, for its unique architecture, ample parks and outdoor cafes and restaurants, all surrounded by soaring mountains. And, among Trento’s many attributes (more in depth information on this topic coming soon), the compact city boasts a stunning medieval castle.
Castello de Buonconsiglio is an awe-inspiring sight as you emerge for the town’s historic core and catch a first glimpse of the watch tower. Unlike many fortresses around Europe, Buonconsiglio’s proximity to the city’s daily life gives the feel of the past entwining seamlessly with present. The feel is vibrant and timeless.
Castelvecchio, with it’s impressively preserved tower (keep), served as a luxurious home for the prince-bishops of Trento beginning in the 13th century. A “newer” Renaissance section kept up with the times with 16th century artists like Dosso Dossi, Romanino and Fogolino commissioned to create frescos throughout the vast new wing. This section served as a home for the prince-bishops until the late 18th century.
From airy courtyards where the elites wined and dined to prison cells where political rivals where held (including local hero Cesare Battasti who was executed, by hanging, in the backyard), art and intrigue mingle through every passage.
You should definitely plan a visit to this spot. Here’s what to know before you go:
>>> Grab a Visit Trentino Guest Card, available at area hotels as well as the Tourism Office in Piazza Dante. The card offers free admission to the castle (along with 60 other museums and 20 castles).
Plus, you can travel via regional buses and trains for FREE (yep, free) with this handy card.
>>> The scale and variety of artwork within the castle is stunning. From massive frescos by Italian Renaissance painter Marcello Fogolino to tiny bronze and wood sculpture works and from a mini-Versailles room of mirrors to an installation of stoves and tiles dating from the 16th century, there is a head-spinning volume of artistry to take in. The highlight is located in Torre Aquila, a secular cycle of pictorials known as Cycle of the Months, illustrating life in the region. Through each season, you gain a sense of how time was spent and passed as locals farm, hunt, fish and socialize. It’s a truly unusual and fascinating work.
>>> Multi-lingual tours are held at 10 am every Saturday, no reservation necessary. Meet at the Tourism Office in Piazza Dante. Tickets are 4€ with card/8€ without. Expect the tour to take about 2 hours and only hit highlights. Plan to stick around after to check out exhibits at your own pace. Entrance to Torre Aquila is an additional 2 euro.
>> The castle often plays host to special events from wine tastings to painting classes, so be sure to check the website. With a car rental, you can drive around the region and check out sister castles of Castel Beseno, Castel Thun and Castello di Stenico.