Distances from Rovereto:
15 min, by trains (about every hours)
20 min, by car from Rovereto.
Enjoy this video about Trento:
The Capital of Trentino, Trento is a city of art that has a strong Renaissance mark, which characterises it for its colours, its buildings and make it unique in the entire Alpine arc.
The itinerary, proposed here, starts from the frescoed façades of these wonderful 16th century buildings and follows the historical route going from the Castello del Buonconsiglio to the cathedral´s square, a route characterized by an extraordinary harmony between the Renaissance and other architectonic styles – such as the medieval and the baroque – and by traces of the city´s long history, which started with the foundation of the ancient Roman town of Tridentum, important remains of which are still standing.
Here the visitor can walk through a thick network of roads, narrow alleys and small squares, overlooked by sumptuous houses, churches and museums and surrounded by mountains, by those Alps which are integral part of Trentino´s culture and traditions.
From the Castello del Buonconsiglio to Piazza Duomo
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This itinerary, which allows the visitor to discover Trento´s attractions, starts from the Castello del Buonconsiglio, a castle that is worth a visit because of its size and different styles, which are evidence of several different building phases.
It has been the seat of the Princes´ Government and the Diocese for 500 years.
The oldest part, called “Castelvecchio”,
and the mighty tower Torre Grande or Torre d´Augusto
were erected early in the 13th century.
Interesting and fascinating features are the swallow-tailed battlements, the gothic windows and the gothic-Venetian loggia, which gives a very elegant appearance to the whole complex.
But what astonishes visitors is undoubtedly the interior of Torre dell”Aquila, where they can see one of the most significant examples of medieval knightly painting, made by a Bohemian artist and commissioned by the then prince-bishop, Giorgio from Liechtenstein.
A cycle of paintings, representing the months, “Il ciclo dei mesi“, stretches over the walls of this small room and is made up of an unbroken series of large squares, on which games, dances and entertainments for ladies and gentlemen are depicted together with the main working activities of farmers.
Photo: ancient painting “The cycle of months”
In the 16th century, Cardinal Bernardo Clesio, who was at the height of his ecclesiastical career, ordered the construction of Magno Palazzo, a precious building containing an incredible number of works of art, including stucco-works, sculptures and frescoes made by artists, such as Girolamo Romanino, Dosso and Battista Dossi, Marcello Fogolino.
In the second half of the 17th century, Castelvecchio and Magno Palazzo were joined together by Albert´s Council. Now the Castello del Buonconsiglio hosts the museum “Monuments and Provincial Collections” and the “Historical Museum“.
Having walked through Via Bernardo Clesio, along the castle´s bastioned walls, the visitor reaches Torre Verde, a medieval tower with a peculiar spire, built in 1450 to defend the port on the river Adige before its diversion carried out in the mid 19th century. This was the place where ships, loaded with goods, had to pay the tolls imposed by the prince-bishops.
The itinerary continues along Via del Suffragio.
Photo: Via del Suffragio
At the beginning of this street stands Palazzo Trautmannsdorf, built late in the 17th century and characterized by singular works of art, like the grotesque masks decorating its windows. Via del Suffragio, which is renowned for its typical porticos, was the heart of the city´s district, inhabited by German-speaking craftsmen and tradesmen.
Photo: Palazzo Trautmannsdorf
Nowadays, visitors are still fascinated by its surprising variety of architectonic styles. At the end of the street, the charming cross-roads, called “Cantone” (corner), is dominated by Palazzo Del Monte, whose two façades are decorated with frescoes representing scenes taken from the labours of Hercules.
Photo: Palazzo Dal Monte
Via Antonio Manci, once called “Via Lunga” (long road), is lined with the aristocracy´s palaces in the Renaissance style, including Palazzo Salvadori, built at the beginning of the 16th century by the Lombard artist Lucio di Pietro where the ancient Jewish synagogue once stood. The two oval stone medallions above its front doors, sculpted by Francesco Oradini, depict Simonino´s martyrdom and glory.
Photo: Palazzo Salvadori
A few steps further on there is Palazzo Saracini, whose façade is characterized by a large central window with two stone balconies, by which the round-arched door is framed and, on the same side of the road,
Photo: Palazzo Saracini
the visitor can also see the marvellous 18th century façade of Palazzo Trentini, which now hosts the office of the Provincial Council´s President, and Palazzo Galasso, called Palazzo del Diavolo (Devil´s Palace) because of an old legend also quoted by J. W. Goethe, according to which it was built in one night because of a bet made with Satan. This building was designed by Pietro Maria Bagnadore from Brescia and then bought by General Mattia Galasso, a distinguished commander who took part in historic battles.
On the opposite side of the road stands Torre Mirana. On the ground floor of this building, the visitor can still see 3rd and 4th century architectonic elements, although the tower was greatly changed in the Renaissance period, when two-light mullioned windows were created.
On the façade of the Church of S. Francesco Saverio, designed by Carlo Gaudenzio Mignocchi, there are still traces of a medieval walled-up house that belonged to the Costede family. The interior is characterized by a great number of baroque architectonic elements and paintings.
To reach the Cathedral´s square, the visitor has to walk along Via Belenzani, once called “Contrada Larga” (Wide street), which is one of the most beautiful and multicoloured roads in the city and is lined with harmonious and sumptuous Renaissance palaces featuring precious façades. At the beginning of the street there is Palazzo Thun, which has been the town residence of the Thun family, one of the most influential families in Trento’s history, for four centuries.
Photos: Palazzo Thun
On the opposite side stands Palazzo Geremia, built in the late 15th century. The frescoed squares on its façade depict some of the most significant events in the history of the city and of this street: parades, processions, triumphal entries, diplomatic assemblies and heroic deeds which remind us of the early Roman period. Both palaces are seats of the town council.
Palazzo Alberti Colico has a wonderful frescoed façade, too.
Not less fascinating are the frescoes embellishing the two houses Case Rella, which are a sort of “moral book” opening out directly onto the cathedral’s square. On the left-hand façade there are scenes and characters taken from classical mythology, on the right-hand one subjects such as Virtue, Time, Fortune, the Triumphs of Love, Apollo and Abundance.
In the centre of the square, which is surrounded by the walls of monumental buildings and hosts important events, stands the baroque Neptune fountain, sculpted by Francesco Antonio Giongo in 1767.
Photos: Neptune Fountain
From its large steps, the visitor can enjoy a wonderful view of the Cathedral of San Vigilio, Palazzo Pretorio, an embattled building that was an archbishops’ residence and now hosts the Diocesan Museum; and the tower Torre Civica, built in 1200 on the ruins of the Roman gate, from which the street Claudia Augusta began. Traces of this ancient road can still be seen.
Photos: San Vigilio Cathedral
The cathedral, a wonderful building designed by Adamo d’Arogno, is characterized by a mainly Romanesque-Lombard style, influenced by gothic elements. The oldest part of the construction rests on a cemetery church (open to the public), dating back to the early Christian period. Vigilio, martyr and third bishop of Trento, was buried there. The façade, which can be admired from the square, is embellished with a marvellous rosette decorating the transept called “Rosone della Fortuna” (Rosette of Fortune), that for the last eight centuries has been a tragic and serious warning about the transience of human life. Other remarkable features are the small loggia above the rosette, the door decorated with lions and the portico supported by columns. The main façade, looking out onto Via Verdi, features a precious front door embellished with a 14th century fresco painted on the lunette. The bell tower was erected in the Romanesque style. The fourth façade, looking onto Via S.Vigilio, is characterised by different architectonic styles, as it includes the apse of the church of St. John, the bishops’ small castle, the bell tower of San Romedio, the main apse and the portico.
Another building located in the same square is Palazzo Balduini. Its decorations, featuring garlands of flowers and fruit, date back to the late 15th century and are the oldest external decorations of the buildings of the city.
Photos: Palazzo Geremia
Giro al Sas”
If the cathedral’s square can be regarded as the city’s refined drawing-room, the traffic-free zone, known as “Giro al Sas”, is its hearth. From the small lovely square called Piazza Pasi, the visitor reaches Via Oss Mazzurana.
Photos: Palazzo Tabarelli
Palazzo Cazuffi was decorated in the 16th century by Lattanzio Gambara from Brescia, who distempered biblical scenes framed by friezes featuring flowers and fruit. Next Casa Rella.
Photos: Palazzo Cafuzzi e Rella
The following building is Palazzo Festi, which hosts the Social Theatre, officially opened in 1819 and once regarded as the most beautiful theatre in Tyrol. Below ground, important archaeological ruins of the Roman period, including a large part of “Tridentum“, the town founded by the Romans in the mid 1st century B.C., have been brought back to light. A stretch of paved road, a domus with mosaics and a craftsman’s shop can be visited.
Photo: museum of Roman ruins
“Giro al Sas” also includes Via S. Pietro, which can be reached through Piazza Cesare Battisti, a square dominated by the 15th century church bearing the same name. Torre Rella, town residence of the noble family Negri from S. Pietro, whose coat of arms can still be seen over the doorway of a small balcony, stands out on the opposite side of the square.
Via S. Pietro ends in Largo Carducci, a meeting place that is now considered the busiest area in the centre of town. In the background stands Palazzo Firmian, characterised by a classical 16th century front door surrounded by an architectonic structure supported by pillars.
Towards the walls of Piazza Fiera
Behind the cathedral’s apse there is Via Calepina, a street lined with numerous elegant buildings, including the imposing Palazzo Sardagna, which is considered one of the most significant public buildings in the city and displays clear marks of baroque and 18th century influences.A peculiar feature is its front door characterized by two caryatids supporting a balcony, whose stone balustrade is crowned with three puttos with shields, sculpted by Cristoforo Benedetti from Castione. Today, this building hosts Trento’s Natural Science Museum.
Photos: Palazzo Sardagna
A little way further stands Palazzo Lodron, whose interior is decorated with paintings of remarkable historical and artistic value depicting mythological scenes and events concerning the Lodron family.
Another building worth visiting is the Church of the Holy Trinity, located along a parallel road and built for the monastic order of Poor Clare in 1519. On 13th December 1545, the procession that officially opened the Council of Trento started from here and ended at the Cathedral.
Palazzo Roccabruna dates back to the mid 16th century, too, and stands out because of its rusticated front door, surmounted by a balcony with a stone balustrade. Inside, there is a beautiful frescoed chapel dedicated to St. Jerome. This building was defended by a medieval tower, Torre del Massarello, which, during the Council, was the residence of the compiler of the Council’s documents, Mr. Angelo Massarelli da San Sepolcro.
While walking along Via Mazzini, the visitor can admire the imposing telamons decorating the beautiful front door of Palazzo Larcher Fogazzaro (a building characterised by a late baroque style) and then, reach Piazza Fiera, a large quadrangular square, surrounded by the Archbishop’s Palace on the eastern side, the 13th century Mura Vanghiane, a well preserved part of the town walls once lapped by the stream Fersina, on the northern side and the Torrione Madruzziano, a massive cylindrical tower, on the western side. The latter was built to defend the gate of S. Croce and turned into an embattled bastion by the prince-bishop, Ludovico Madruzzo, towards the end of the 16th century. In the past, annual and cattle fairs were held in this large square.
From Piazza Duomo to Palazzo delle Albere
In Via Cavour, located along the way back near the cathedral’s square, there is Torre della Tromba, one of the few fortified buildings that are still standing, as the others were all demolished by order of Federico Barbarossa. Then, the visitor reaches the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, commissioned by Prince-Bishop Bernardo di Cles and erected in 1520. It is made of white and red stones and features a typical Lombard Renaissance architecture. Inside there are noteworthy works of art, like the organ, supported by a choir made by two artists from Vicenza, Vincenzo and Gerolamo Grandi, and the paintings embellishing the hall’s side chapels.
Along the near Via S. Margherita, the visitor can see the old Gate of St. Margaret, located in the 13th century town walls and characterized by a large ogival opening, short stretches of rounds and a small part of a suspended staircase, and Torre Vanga, which is one of the most significant medieval monuments in the city and the western bulwark of the town walls. The latter is also the symbol of the quarter of Portela, one of the districts that were most damaged during the second world war, as it is very close to the Brenner railway.
The visitor can then take the road running southwards along the river Adige. Here stands Palazzo delle Albere, a wonderful residence built for the powerful Madruzzo family, which ruled over the city from 1539 to 1698. This is a massive 16th century palace, characterized by four keeps at the corners and a three-light mullioned window with a small balcony on the main façade, looking out onto the city. Inside, there are wonderful frescoes painted by Domenico Ricci and Marcello Fogolino. Today it is the seat of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Photo: Palazzo delle Albere (Fine Arts Museum)
The old quarter of Piedicastello
At this point, those who want to visit the old quarter of Piedicastello, have to come back and reach the downhill station of the cableway for Sardagna, a built-up area on the slopes of Monte Bondone.
Photo: cableway leading to the Botanical Garden and the Mausoleum
This mountain, known as Trento’s Alp, is a famous winter ski resort, which in summer turns into a green haven, characterized by an incredible variety of flowers. The Alpine Botanical Garden (one of the most important in Europe because of its over 2000 species of plants and flowers coming from all over the world) and the Centre for Alpine Ecology (where research and studies on alpine ecosystems are carried out) are also located here.
Having crossed the bridge of St. Lawrence, situated over the river Adige, the visitor can see the Church of S. Apollinare, which was built in the 14th century and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Distinctive features are its extremely high and very steep roof, the interior surmounted by two high octagonal domes and the big wooden crucifix of the 18th century.
Then, by walking along Via Brescia, the visitor reaches a square, from which a small road leading to Dos Trento begins. Dos Trento is a rounded, wooded and flat cliff, on top of which stand a Mausoleum dedicated to Cesare Battisti and the Historical Museum of the Alpine Troops. From there the tourist can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Trento and the valley of the river Adige.
Photo: Mausoleo di Cesare Battisti (military altar)
On the way back, there is the Church of St. Lawrence, located between the bus and the railway stations. Bergamo’s Benedictines, called to Trento by bishop Altemanno, built it in the 12th century. Features of particular interest are the apsidal part built in the Romanesque style and the presbytery characterized by three apses.
Photo: Chiesa di San Lorenzo
A few steps forward lies the lovely park-garden of Piazza Dante, surrounded by the most important buildings that now host public institutions, including the seats of the provincial and the regional governments. In the centre, there is a monument dedicated to Dante Alighieri, which is evidence of that Italian sentiment for which Trento’s irredentists died. The square, with its trees, its well-kept flower-beds and its small lake is an ideal place to rest at the end of the visit, but it can also make the visitor feel like going for a walk or a ride by bicycle in the green
Photo: Piazza Dante and the Communal Park, right opposite the railway station