Trento was a Roman city which grew up on the site of a prehistoric settlement; then it belonged to the Longobards and the Franks and finally, for almost nearly eight centuries (1027-196) it was governed by bishop princes. It is a pleasing Alpine city, laid out following the lines of the Roman city.
Standing at the crossroads of Venetian, Austrian and Lombard art, Trento was able to blend tastefully these various tendencies into a serene and unique style of its own. Entering by way of the Brenner Highway, Via Manzoni and Via del Suffragio, with its ponderous arcades, we pass below a charming loggia, and come into Via Manci, where several beautiful palaces are to be found, among them the 17th century Palazzo Galasso.
We then turn left into the stately Via Belenzani, the most beautiful stret in Trento, with its 16th century Palazzo del Municipio, the Casa Alberti-Calico and the amazing Casa Geremia, a Lombard Venetian building with a gaily painted fagade. Other elaborately painted facades are to be found at the crossing between Via Belenzani and the Piazza del Duomo: to the left is the striking Casa Rella, with a striking arcade, frescoed by Fogolino (1530). In front of us we have the elegant Fountain of Neptune (1769) and the imposing north side, with its porch, of the Romanesque Cathedral, the most important work of architecture in the whole area. The solemn interior with its aisled nave and 14 pillars contains Bolognese 14th century frescoes, handsome tombs and an important Treasury. The Diocesan Museum of Trento contains important Flemish tapestries. We can then walk around the Cathedral, to admire the solidity of its structure, and especially the sturdy apse which supports the dome.
We should visit some other Trento’s old streets, including Via Oss-Mazzurana where the beautiful 16th century Palazzo Tabarelli and the Casa Cazuffi with its painted facade, are to be found, before climbing up to the Castello del Buonconsiglio. This ancient castle, residence of the feudal bishops, is a picturesque and compact group of buildings dating from various periods (13th to 16th century) with a fascinating succession of courtyards, passageways, loggias, halls, footbridges, towers, parterres, and hanging gardens, in which the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are constantly interwoven with surprising effects.
Most worthy of all to be visited in Trento is the Torre dell’Aquila, with the cycle of exceedingly beautiful 15th century frescoes of the Months, the work of Northern artists; the Italian Renaissance, on the other hand, is represented in the Castle by the handsome frescoes by Gerolamo Romanino. The Castle also houses the municipal art and archaeological collections, the latter boasting, among prehistoric, Etruscan, Roman, and medieval objects, an extremely rare Roman bronze Tablet, still intact, with a text granting Roman citizenship to the Anuanian tribes.
On the opposite side of Trento, we will visit the Renaissance church of S. Maria Maggiore (inside, altar-piece by Moroni, and a lovely marble cantoria, or choir-stall), where many of the meetings of the Council of Trento were held. After the picturesque Romanesque church of San Lorenzo, near Trento’s station, we will visit, on the farther side of the Adige, another Romanesque church S. Apollinare, its high triangular facade recalling those of the churches of Apulia.
There are many trips to be taken in the immediate surroundings of Trento. Particularly advisable is the trip to the top of the Paganella (6,972 It.), which may be reached by funicular railway from Lavis (5 miles), from which one may enjoy a magnificent view of the Alps.
Where to stay in Trento
There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and farm stays available, check them out and make a reservation here.