Keen to get back into the Alpine spirit, but not sure where to go? We’ve found a great spot in northern Italy that’s perfect for year-round adventures. Presenting Trentino, a lesser known European ski destination that’s also a fantastic wellness retreat.
Trentino is centrally located between the Southern Alps and Venice. International travellers can fly into several airports including Milan, Venice, Verona and Bologna and take a short drive to reach the mountains. There are also regular train services that take you straight to Trento – the capital of Trentino – and Rovereto.
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The two cities are a great way to experience the mountains, particularly if you find the quieter ski towns here, such as Folgaria, a little too tranquil. If you’re after a ski holiday with easy access to the slopes, book a stay in the Alpe Cimbra Ski Resort.
The variety of activities in Trentino make it a fantastic place to visit any time of the year. We’ve picked out some winter sports, summer excursions and lesser known wellness experiences from the region so you can start planning your next Italy trip now.
Things to do in Trentino
Go skiing in Folgaria
In the winter months, you really want to hit the Folgaria slopes for some of the best skiing in the region – there are excellent facilities here for both first-timers and seasoned downhillers. But if ski lifts don’t appeal, there are other exciting ways to explore Folgaria and its surrounding forests and undulating terrain.
Hire an e-bike with chunky tyres and you can easily climb the most challenging ascents. These quirky two-wheelers, known by the unusual term of fat bikes, are a lot of fun on the ice, but also work well in the summer months when you can see a lot further on clear days. Snowshoeing is a great option if you want to experience the quiet of the dense pine forests and dog sledding is fun if you want to try something a little different.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Folgaria, this hotel is hard to beat. In winter, you can walk across the road to the ski lift and begin a day on the slopes. The rental shop is just as close and the ski room means you can leave your equipment in a secure location rather than lugging it up to your room every night. In the summer, the hotel lives up to its name as the golf course opens, allowing you to play a round in the foothills of the Alps. The hotel decor fits in with the surroundings and there’s even a great pizzeria a few minutes away if you want to try authentic regional food.
Try an aufguss sauna at Malga Millegrobbe
Saunas are common throughout the region, but one import from northern neighbours Austria and Germany is a heady blend of ballet, wellness and music. Aufguss saunas, like the ones at Malga Millegrobbe in Lavarone, involve the usual set-up of a heated room and minimal wooden furnishings, but with the added feature of a saunameister who acts as the master of ceremonies. Scented ice bombs are added to the heat source and the meister rhythmically wafts a towel or cloth to deliver a sensuous experience unlike anything you’ve tried before. It’s one of those curious cultural oddities that you have to experience to appreciate, but once you take an aufguss sauna, all others seem pretty tame.
Visit the ancient fortress town of Rovereto
One of the reasons Italy is a globally popular holiday destination is the chance to discover small towns such as Rovereto. It feels like a slice of Tuscany mixed with the quiet backstreets of Venice, all encircled by spectacular mountains. Elite cyclists have used this town as a base and there’s a delightful coffee museum that serves some of the best hot drinks in the world. The Bontadi Cafeteria is said to be one of the oldest coffee roasters in Italy, and certainly has the paraphernalia to back up the claim.
Experience local culture and modern art at MART
Given the impressive history of Rovereto, it might seem odd to stumble across MART – the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. The sleek building is at odds with the surroundings, but somehow it all unites in a wonderfully coherent manner. The exhibits showcase the best local talent from the past and artists currently working in the region. A recent hit has been an extensive display of works by unconventional genius Fortunato Depero, whose paintings, sculptures, collages and designs were an early forerunner in the vivid world of Pop art. You’ll probably need to spend the whole day here to take it all in, but that’s fine as there is also a Michelin-starred restaurant called Senso. A surprisingly affordable set menu from chef Alfio Ghezzi acts as the perfect accompaniment to a day at the museum.
With several picturesque towns just like Rovereto throughout Trentino, it’s little surprise the region is growing in popularity with travellers looking for a new type of Italian vacation. There’s a lot to do here, so you might not be able to pack into a weekend, but Trentino is somewhere you’ll want to visit again and again once you make your first trip over.
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