trento italy mountains scenic view
Italy,  Travel,  Travel Guides

Discovering Trento: Italy's Most Beautiful Secret City

A TRAVEL GUIDE

Have you ever heard of Trento? Before making my way to this breathtaking little city in Italy, I hadn’t either.

While I have marveled at the beauty of other Italian cities like Citta Alta and Cascia, visiting Trento was an experience on a whole new level. The city is packed with activities for the likes of every traveler, whether you’re an adventure seeker or simply want to relax and take in the beauty all around.

As a travel writer and curious explorer, I am often eager to share my experiences of places I have been to in the hopes of helping others with their adventures. However, anytime I come across a place I’ve never even heard of, let alone been to – visiting it is equally as exciting as it is humbling. 

On this particular trip, visiting Trento generated all of these feelings in addition to some sad ones as well.  

It is often said that life’s toughest lessons happen when you least expect them. If you’re like me and spend the majority of your time traveling, this means these lessons will inevitably occur while you’re on the road – far from home and the support of loved ones.

Two weeks before visiting the beautiful city of Trento for the Traverse 19 Conference, I received the horrific news from home that my baby Maltese, Sophia, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She had been by my side for 14 years and was the closest thing to perfect love I have ever felt. 

To say it was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever gone through so far from home is an understatement. In the end, I decided to carry on with my plans and gave myself time to grieve before making my way to Trento for a week that promised to be filled with amazing activities and interesting seminars. 

TRENTO: HISTORY AND HOSPITALITY

Hidden in the Trentino/Alto Adige region of northern Italy – bordering Austria and Switzerland, the city of Trento is famous for its rich history, close proximity to the Dolomites and for being one of the country’s wealthiest regions. 

Unlike so many other cities in Italy, Trento has managed to remain a secret gem accessible only to those in the know – making it the perfect place to explore at your own pace. No matter where you go, the feeling that you are welcome and even part of the community is present in every interaction with the locals.

As you make your way through the various side streets and piazzas, you are transported to a different time and place where every single building tells a story. The beauty of Trento is that if you listen closely – you will be able to hear each and every one of them. 

Trentino city center
GETTING TO TRENTO

There are no direct flights to the city itself, however there are a few nearby options to reach Trento easily:

VILAFRANCA AIRPORT, VERONA (VRN) 
The closest airport to fly into when heading to Trento. It is located 60m/97km from Trento’s city center and an easy one hour car ride or 1.5 hour bus/train ride. (Buses and trains are also available from the Verona Porta Nuova train station.) 

ORIO AL SERIO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, BERGAMO (BGY)
Bergamo Airport is known as a budget airlines hub in the northern Italian area and is a great place to fly into from other neighboring countries. The distance from Bergamo to Trento is about 74m/120km and is a little over an hour if you’re driving. If taking a bus or train, it is about 1.5 hours and up, depending on any stops.

MARCO POLO AIRPORT, VENICE (VCE)
Venice Airport is the farthest option of the 3. However, it is better connected than the others internationally, which means you may have a greater chance of finding better rates if flying from outside of the EU. The distance from Venice to Trento is about 136m/220km and is a little over 2 hours if you’re driving. If taking a bus or train, it is longer as there are no direct trips. Travel time starts at about 3 hours and goes up depending on the number of stops.

Search for the best deals with Omio below:

bus stop outside bus approaching

On this particular trip, I was visiting my aunt in Bergamo and was able to find a ridiculously cheap ticket from Bergamo to Trento via Verona on Flixbus. (It was only $9!) The overall trip was 3 hours because we stopped in Verona for an hour, but the coach bus itself was super comfortable and the wait wasn’t long at all.

Need some helping finding the best prices? No problem!

These are all of the budget sites for train and bus transportation I recommend when searching for tickets. Many of them are available throughout Europe and offer fantastic rates and last minute deals.  

TRENTO HOTELS
trento italy mountains scenic view

When it comes to looking for a place to stay in Trento, the options are endless. On this trip I stayed at the Alberomonaco Hotel, which was about a 10 minute walk into the center of the city and close to absolutely everything. 

The best part about staying at this hotel was the magnificent view. Each room came with its own private balcony and each morning, you were greeted with the view of the city and its backdrop of mountains and blue skies. 

TRENTO RESTAURANTS: ITALIAN FOOD WITH A TWIST
vegetable flan with creamy white sauce on top
trento spaghetti cheese and basil
bruschetta tomatoes basil on large bread
ice cream cone on streets on trento

As is the case with the entire country, it’s worth visiting Trento purely for its cuisine. I can honestly say that every single meal I had during my stay was incredible. At Ristorante al Vo I had a vegetable flan with Casolet cheese followed by pumpkin and rosemary lasagna. At Il Simposio I had the best bruschetta of my life served with the freshest tomatoes I’ve ever tasted.

Isn’t it crazy how different tomatoes taste in Italy versus the states? I don’t really eat them back home, but anytime I visit Italy they are what I seek out first. 

What’s a trip to Italy without having some bubbly drinks? Although one of my go-to favorite drinks is the Aperol Spritz, I quickly made the switch to the locally famous “Hugo”, which is made of prosecco, elderflower syrup and mint leaves. YUM.

On the final night of the conference, we were treated to an event at Antica Birreria Pedavena which featured rooms of fresh pizza brought out by waitstaff in traditional clothing and small barrels of unlimited artisanal beer. It was wonderful! 

And of course, the GELATO. Do yourself a favor and have all the gelato when you visit Trento!

TRENTO ATTRACTIONS

Before making your way to Trento, I recommend you check out the Visit Trentino website which does an incredible job of breaking down things to do as well as upcoming city events. However, I warn you – there is SO MUCH to see and do it will make your head spin!

I spent a lot of my time walking around the city – taking in all of the incredible architecture, the colors of buildings, the smells from the restaurants and music from the streets.

The city’s most recent initiative included putting pianos on various streets to promote musical education and provide something for us visitors!

More often than not, the people who took to the piano really knew what they were doing and provided excellent entertainment as the rest of us walked around the city.

CASTELLO DEL BUONCONSIGLIO

Even though this magnificent castle stood tall a mere five minutes from my hotel, as I made my way in – it seemed as though I was stepping into a different century. 

Castello del Buonconsiglio is made up various buildings which were all built at different times and eventually became the home of Prince Bishops. 

The entrance alone leaves you feeling like you’re in a fairytale as you walk through the rose archways towards green gardens that lead into the monumental castle.

It was easy to spend hours here marveling at the various styles of architecture as well as learning all about its historical significance to the city and numerous works of art. 

PALAZZO THUN
trento palace thun

Located in the center of the city, Thun Palace is currently the city’s town hall. 

As you get a closer look, you will see that parts of its facade continue to feature frescoes from times passed. Once inside its doors, the building holds a beautiful courtyard which can be accessed at no additional cost.

The palace also holds the original statue of the Fountain of Neptune. The one  you see in Piazza Duomo is actually a bronze copy!

Fun fact: the reason this statue was remade in this material versus the original was because bronze won’t wear as quickly over time and could last much longer. 

statue in thun palace trento
ORRIDO DI PONTE ALTO
trento bridge waterfall ponte alto

The tour through the Orrido di Ponte Alto is spectacular and a must-see when you are visiting Trento. Note: you can only visit this waterfall with a trained guide and it’s well worth it.

Before heading to the actual falls, our guide explained the significance of the dam. It was built in 1850 with the sole purpose of slowing down the millions of tons of water whose power could cause mass destruction to the city center below.  It is one of the oldest hydraulic powers in the world.

FUN FACT: the waterfalls reach 131ft/40m in height!

As you make your way down lower and lower, you are witness to its power and automatically mesmerized by its sheer force. The best part of the tour is going behind the waterfall for a front row view of this powerful phenomenon.

tree area around waterfall trento orrido ponte alto
trento ponte alto waterfall
trento waterfall ponte alto
VIEWS FROM A CABLE CAR
trento cable car river brigdge

The Funivia Trento-Sardagna was literally the first thing I saw when stepped off my bus in Trento. Naturally, I made a mental note to come back as soon as possible and see the view of Trento the ride up would provide.

On my second day in the city, I finally made my way up. You all know how much I adore heights, especially in cable cars!  This was a no-brainer.

view from the cable car trento
trento cable car views
trento cable car views

The funicular takes you up over the Adige River into the village of Sardagna where you are presented with the most breathtaking views of Trento and beyond. There is a small restaurant at the top that provides refreshing Spritz drinks and delicious food with all the views. 

FREE WITH THE TRENTINO GUEST CARD

Psst. Did you know? This cable car ride along with all transportation, including trains and ferries, are FREE with the Trentino Guest Card. You also get free access to 60+ museums, castles and tastings all over the city. The card is included in the price of 2+ nights in any hotel within the Trentino Guest Card initiative. There is an option to purchase at a reduced rate as well. Children under 18 are free! 

OTHER MUSEUMS IN TRENTO
outdoor image of muse museum in trento blue skies white clouds mountains in distance

While there are over 60 museums all around the city, the ones I was able to visit were pretty impressive. 

You may not know this, but I am not the biggest fan of museums, unless of course they are fashion museums. However, the MUSE Science Museum in the center of the city was truly interesting! Perfect for kids of all ages, this museum has tons of interactive activities that will keep them entertained and interested for hours. 

outside of muse museum trento moat like building

The MASE Museum is a little further from the city center – you actually have to drive there, but it’s only about a 20 minute ride.  

The entire ride there feels like you are being taken into the countryside, especially once you arrive. As you make your way into the building itself, there are only green fields around and a feeling of complete tranquility all around you.

Once inside, it’s a very contemporary setting. Many of the exhibits were so interesting that their interpretation was left to the imagination of each visitor. A few of us were walking around together and although we were looking at the same things, had completely different meanings for each exhibit! 

mase museum trento igloo-like attraction
trento mase museum ceiling artistic
mase museum exhibit with girls face in front of quote

One of my favorite parts of the museum was a hallway full of different quotes in various odd locations on walls with mismatched fonts. When I asked one of the museum guides, they explained that the artist created these quotes based on things he had heard on the streets of Italy during his travels.

Some of them were strange, others simple and there were a few that were deeply profound.

trento mase museum quotes on wall exhibit
IL DUOMO: TRENTO'S MAIN ATTRACTION
duomo from center of trento city

Dominating the scene in the center of the city, The Cathedral of San Vigilio, otherwise known as the city’s Duomo, was built in 1212 on the site of a 6th century church devoted to St. Vigilio.

It is also the birthplace of the infamous Council of Trent, a council appointed by the Catholic church in response to Protestant doctrines that were growing in popularity among central and northern European countries. Essentially, the purpose of the council was to condemn this Protestant doctrine and make Catholic beliefs stronger amongst the people.

The Council is also who we have to thank for the gorgeous frescoes on the building fronts all around the city. Many of these images told stories much in the way the Bible does, to teach people the ways of God and how to live a good and noble life.

trento inside duomo structures and staircases leading to roof

Once inside, you can’t help but to be blown away by such majestic structures and beauty all around. It is evident that the church has been around for a long time, as you can see the wear and discoloration in certain areas of the interior walls. 

One of the interesting things our guide pointed out was the staircase on the right side of the church when you first walk in. Technically, there is a staircase on each side of you, however only one of these leads up to the clock tower – the one on your left. The other just stops and is completely closed off to avoid anyone trying to make their way up and getting hurt.

trento st christopher on wall of duomo

My favorite part? The larger than life image of St. Christopher, Patron Saint of travelers. 

The reason for this image and its size was that Trento was the passage for pilgrims on their way to Rome. If you were able to provide shelter to these travelers, you would put an image of St. Christopher in front of your house so that they knew you could help them. The image had to be very large in order to be seen from the mountains. 

trento duomo outside facade
trento duomo image of back of church

One of the best ways to discover the beauty of Trento and its rich history is to take a tour with a local. You can find a list of guided tours and activities, including costs and reviews, with my favorite company, Get Your Guide. I absolutely love GYG because they’re so easy to use and offer some of the best prices around, no matter what part of the world you are visiting!

WALKING ALONG THE STREETS OF TRENTO
street view of trento center

It’s easy to get lost in the beauty and enthralling history of this city.

If you make your way towards the center, you will find yourself in Piazza Duomo where you can’t miss the grand Fountain of Neptune.  

The reason for its large size? During the time of Napoleon, the larger the size and number of fountains within a city, the wealthier that city was. Several of the buildings within Trento have structures on the outside of them that bear gifts from Napoleon himself. 

trento city center
trento detailed facade buildings
trento building fresco front

If you walk past the city center, behind the Duomo, you will find yourself at the Mura Vanghiane Walls that surround the city. They are so impressive to see in person because of their sheer size and rock material. The walls lead you to the Piazza Fierra which is a marketplace for people to sell their fresh produce, fish and other foods. 

trento mura vanghiane walls surrounding city

In the few days that I was able to explore this enchanting city, I fell in love with it completely. If you have the chance to visit this part of the country, I truly can’t recommend it enough. 

floral initiative trento city
'take a book' stand in the center of trento for kids

For those of you who are looking for more extreme sports and adventures, Trento offers tons of hiking paths, white water rafting, visits to the Dolomites and so much more. The city also transforms itself into Winter Wonderland during the cold months and is the perfect getaway for a weekend on the slopes. 

In the end, I’m thankful to have gone ahead with my plans of attending my first ever Traverse conference, in spite of the sadness around me. I was able to meet some pretty amazing people I now call friends, learn so many new things, but most importantly – I left Trento feeling inspired. 

I guess it’s possible to find the support you’re looking for in the most unexpected of places. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you need. 🖤

Have you ever visited Trento? Would love to hear about your experiences below.
Happy Travels!

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59 Comments

    • emaroundtheworld

      So glad it has inspired you enough to add it to your bucket list! Happy to answer any questions when you take your trip! xx

  • Viola

    What a beautiful place! I love discovering places like this. It shows that Italy is not just Rome, Florence and Venice. There are so many other gorgeous spots too!

  • Josy A

    Trento looks amaaaazing. The architecture and the food both look amazing enough to make me want to visit, but you manage to find so many fun things to do as well! Do you know if it is possible to hike up to see those views for the cable car? I love it when you can hike up, then take a cable car down…

    p.s. I was thinking that Trento sounds familiar, so I just checked, it turns out we came through Trento on our way to the Dolomites! If I had known how gorgeous it is, i would have wanted to stop and stay for a while! Doh!!

  • Ivana

    The castle is so beautiful! And I love the view from a cable car.
    I was in Italy a few times and never thought of visiting Trento. It would be nice to add it to the list 🙂

  • Joe

    Wow, what an incredible image you’ve painted here. Your photos are awesome! My wife is Italian but neither of us have been to Italy. It’s definitely on our list of place to go. I’d never heard of Trento but I’m ready to go now.

    Best wishes and safe travels!

    Joe

  • Nicole

    Well, I just added another place to my bucket list. Love discovering new places to visit and to be honest, I had not heard of Trento. Thank you for the hotel recommendation! Deciding where to stay can sometimes be the hardest part.

  • Nikki

    OMG I just fell in love with this city!! It’s absolutely gorgeous! And the food, the sites…gah! I seriously want to go. Adding it to my bucket list. Pinning this article for later, for sure! Thanks for bringing all these beautiful pics to the internet for us to drool over. Lovely!

  • Nene

    Looks amazing!!! I’ve been to Italy before but not Trento. It looks so pretty plus the food is amazing and can’t get enough of gelatos

  • Phoebe

    I really love Italy! We did a road trip there for 10 days and visited 8 cities. It was fun. We’ve been to Italy 2x and I really want to see other cities. Trento looks beautiful!

  • Whitney Kutch

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! You captured such great shots of your adventures. Italy’s definitely one of my favorite places to visit <3

    • emaroundtheworld

      Thank you! It was easy to capture great images because the place was simply gorgeous. Italy is one of my favorites too.

    • emaroundtheworld

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Trento was incredible and a place everyone should visit at least once in their life!

  • Norma

    Trento seems like a great place to visit. The pianos in public spaces seem like a great idea to share music with everyone. Awesome pictures!

  • Stine Mari

    I am so sorry to hear about your Maltese, it breaks my heart. I had a similar experience with my 14 year old cat too. Very unexpectedly and it was terrible, so I know! However, licking your wounds in this beautiful place must be exactly what you needed. I think it looks stunning, and I’m putting it on my bucketlist!

    • emaroundtheworld

      So sorry to hear about your kitty. Our pets are absolutely everything and losing one is so hard. I am happy my post inspired you to put Trento on your list of places to see! xx

  • Karen Giuliana

    I absolutely love Italy! I don’t think there’s a bad city to visit! I love all the photos you took, such great quality and felt I was exploring the town from your post! Definitely adding this town to my Italy trip! Thanks for sharing your hotels and restaurants as well!

    • emaroundtheworld

      So happy you enjoyed the post and that it inspired you to visit Trento in the future! And you’re so right, there is no bad city to visit in Italy!

  • Autumn (Biscotti and a Ph.D.)

    I’m so sorry to hear about your pup! That must’ve been so difficult to handle while traveling, but at least you were in a beautiful city to take your mind off things. And thank you for sharing this city – it’s gorgeous, and I hope to see it one day!

    • emaroundtheworld

      Thank you for your kind words. It was absolutely devastating, but it did help to be in such a beautiful place with wonderful people.

  • Geeky Daddy

    I love the architecture of old Italian towns. The unique mixture of rolling hills behind columns and archway home fronts is so beautiful.

    Although, that bizarre looking twig igloo thing in the museum was unique as well

    • emaroundtheworld

      The museum was so interesting and odd at the same time! Definitely not like any other I have visited. Totally agree with you, the architecture mixed with the background makes for an unforgettable setting!

    • emaroundtheworld

      Yes! I can’t recommend enough. Though, every city is absolutely breathtaking in Italy! Have a great time xx

    • emaroundtheworld

      I can’t recommend visiting enough! Trento was so beautiful and should be on everyone’s list of places to see in Italy xx

  • Valerie Fowler

    Such a lovely post. We lived in Italy for a few years, and visited many places, but not here. We have seen some of the “other” Fountain{s} of Neptune–Rome, Naples, Florence, Bologna–and they are all so amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    • emaroundtheworld

      They truly are! Funny, I hadn’t thought about the fact that other cities had fountains named Neptune. I’ve seen quite a few myself but this is the first time I’ve realized this similarity! Thank you for that 🙂

    • emaroundtheworld

      Trento is absolutely breathtaking and because of its size, so charming. The best part is that it doesn’t have tons of people and crowds so you can visit at your own pace. Not many places in Italy you can say that about these days! x

    • emaroundtheworld

      I hope you do as well! If you make it out there, be sure to reach out with any questions. I am more than happy to help xx

  • Erica H

    Wow it’s beautiful there! Looks like a setting for a romance story.

    I’m also sorry for your loss. I have a four senior fur babies right now. My dog used to travel with us, but now she really can’t.

    • emaroundtheworld

      Thank you so much. It was truly devastating to be so far from home while this happened. Sending all my love to you and your fur babies! x

  • Amy

    Such a gorgeous spot! And you’re right, I’ve never heard of it before! Will have to plan another trip to Italy.

    • emaroundtheworld

      Yea, I thought it was really cool too. The funny part is that everyone who decided to play it was so good, so it was like getting mini concerts no matter where you walked to!

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