Do you want to visit Trento like a local? Then check out 7 things to get the best out of the city.
Industrious, elegant and charming, framed by imposing Alpine peaks and crossed by the Adige river.
This single brushstroke is the best way to describe Trento: spectacular nature and sky-high quality of life.
The capital of Trentino-Alto Adige has for years been at the top of the official rankings certifying the quality of life in Italy.
But this small city offers much more than that, with its university, museums, mountain trails, events and excellent traditional food.
Thanks to the many young people living in the area, Trento can be lively and quite fun: to better appreciate the city we created a list with our favorite activities to do and places to see so you can experience the city like a true local.
A visit to Trento must begin from the beautiful Piazza del Duomo and its symbol, the Fountain of Neptune.
From here on, follow our travel tips and discover the 7 things to do in Trento to enjoy the city like a local, from the best panoramic point to traditional dishes not to be missed.
Also, don't miss the 10 things to see in the Trentino-Alto Adige region!
7. Visit Trento like a local: shop local products
Trento offers many shopping opportunities, thanks to its many craft shops and outlet.
The main shopping street is Via Balenzani, a wonderful street overlooked by boutiques and shops, perfect for buying clothing and souvenirs. Trento is well known for its production of objects made of wood, felt and also wrought iron, so these would be a perfect gift to bring back.
If you want to take home a local culinary souvenir, look for the Salumeria Belli or Il Maso dello Speck and stock up on speck and luganega (an exquisite local sausage), or take a look at Dal Marcante, a grocery store selling typical products. Other food specialties not to be missed are Trentino honey, polenta, apples and cheeses (above all try the Trentingrana), as well as the world-renowned spirits (wines and grappas).
For sports lovers, there are several outlets selling sports equipment, excellent for hikers who like to travel light and buy clothes and accessories it on site.
Finally, Trento is known for its Christmas markets, taking place in Piazza Fiera between November and January: they bring the craftsmanship skills of the Val di Fiemme villages to the city. It's a big event for the city and this traditional folklore attracts many tourists from all over Europe.
In the end, Christmas shopping and mulled wine, what better panacea against stress?
6. Have an aperitif in centre of Trento like a local
The historic center of Trento is a jewel made of charming, ancient buildings perfect to be explored on foot.
But you know, walking makes you hungry and thirsty.
So right before dinner look for a bar where you can enjoy an aperitif to mingle with the locals.
Wine, beer, grappa and cocktails: in Trento you can savour the best the market has to offer.
Some of the locals' favorite bars are La Quinta del Sordo (inspired by the Venetian bacari, an excellent tavern for wines and spritzes), the Bistrot Trento Alta (reached by cable car, the panorama from above is spectacular), the Accademia del Gin (hundreds of different gins to choose from) and finally Vinom (quality wines and appetizers, a wine bar with a charming atmosphere and staff madly in love with wines).
The local cured meat and cheeses are the perfect counterpart to Trentino spirits. For an unbeatable combination, match a fruity white wine like Müller-Thurgau with the Puzzone di Moena ("the Moena smeller"), a hard cheese so named for its penetrating and intense smell... but the taste is delicious!
Local people from Trento can be a bit shy at first, but it's obviously easier to make friends over good food and a glass of local wine.
5. Join a festival or an event
Trento is a quiet town, but there is always a certain buzz in the city.
The atmosphere is lively thanks to the many events involving locals and tourists.
The Trento FilmFestival and the Festival of Economics are the best-known events in the city.
The Trento FilmFestival is an international film festival dedicated to the mountains and adventure, with an eye to delicate environmental issues. Inaugurated in 1952, the Trento FilmFestival program unfolds over 10 days of film screenings and presentations of books and works of art connected to the main theme: mountaineering and high-altitude adventures.
If you love cinema and the mountains, the week of the festival should be circled in red on the calendar.
The Festival of Economics, on the other hand, has been held every year since 2006 and features meetings between important international political and economic personalities: this is perfect for those interested in current affairs and the economy. The meetings take place in various locations in the city of Trento and are spread in around 4-5 days, often hosting representatives of European institutions and entrepreneurs. During the days of the Festival the city boasts collateral events with special content and entertainment open to everyone.
But Trento also offers other events not to be missed: the famous Christmas markets, the Palio of the districts of Trento, the feast of the patron saint San Vigilio (every 26 June), the shows at the Teatro Sociale and the events at the Trento Expo exhibition center .
4. Take a day trip
Trento is a perfect base for exploring the natural beauty of Trentino.
Start from the Orrido di Ponte Alto ("Ponte Alto Ravine"), just outside the city centre.
It is a picturesque canyon with two 40-metre waterfalls and spectacular panoramic views carved out by the Fersina stream. The only way to visit the canyon is to join a guided tour, perfect for adults and children, taking you behind the waterfalls and inside the ravine to better appreciate the surreal lights and sounds of the ravine.
Another interesting experience is that of the stargaze on Monte Bondone, at the Terrazza delle Stelle ("Terrace of the stars"). The experts of MUSE (the local Science Museum) meet space enthusiasts to observe the stars with telescopes or with the naked eye, far from the city lights. Access to the terrace is free, while you pay around €3 to participate in the organised activities. The summer months between June and September are the best for gaze the starry sky and for the many events organised (concerts, theatre, guided tours to discover local mushrooms).
The activities for a day trip don't end here: you can walk in the Valle dei Laghi (follow the 14 km Lasino-Cavédine archaeological route), you can visit the old silver mines of the Argentario Ecomuseum, or you can trek in mountain, choosing one of the Alpine peaks nearby the city. Finally, wine-enthusiast can't miss a wine tasting in one of the local farmhouses.
3. Discover the best panoramic spot
The cable car to reach the panoramic point.
If you go to Trento you cannot miss the stunning view of the city from the top, near a village called Sardagna.
Just get to panoramic terrace by taking the cable car to Sardagna.
Sardania's viewpoint overlooks the city and the Adige valley and boasts incredible panoramic views, ideal for a memorable photo shoot.
The cable car was built in the 1920s and still carries tourists and locals to the hamlet of Sardagna.
The journey takes about five minutes and the cost of a return ticket is only €5. It departs from Ponte San Lorenzo and runs from morning till the evening, approximately every 15-30 minutes.
Pro tip: order a drink in one of the bars near the panoramic terrace and enjoy a romantic sunset over the Adige valley.
2. Eat the delicious local food
Trentino cuisine is a true, tasty mountain cuisine.
Thanks to the Austrian and Venetian influences, you can taste superb traditional specialties matched by the famous Trentino wines (including Müller Thurgau, Traminer, Nosiola, Teroldego).
The best way to approach the local cuisine is to eat in a traditional trattoria in Trento: these inns and taverns offer great insights into Alpine culinary culture.
A proper Trentino meal starts with canederli in broth (exquisite dumplings made of bread, flour, eggs, milk, cheese and, sometimes, meat).
There are other noteworthy main course, especially soups with cereals and legumes, polenta and the strangolapreti, green gnocchi made with spinach and seasoned with sage butter (the name translate as "priest stranglers" as it is said they were among the favorite foods of the priests during the Council of Trent).
Lovers of meat and game will find something to tell their friends back home: succulent stews of mixed meats such as tonco del pontesel (prepared with pork, beef and veal, whose "sauce" is worth the entire meal at the inn) or game stews, such as venison.
The German influence is evident when you look at dessert menu: if you have to choose just one dessert, aim for a slice of apple strudel. However, you can indulge yourself by enjoying the straboi (weirdly-shaped pancakes topped with jam) or all the varieties of "recycle" cakes, the ones using beer, grappa or wine to soften stale bread, which is used for a very aromatic dough.
Finally, close the meal with a sip of local grappa, perfect to digest and clear your mind: there are so many to chose from and every innkeeper will be happy to tell you about the properties of the grappas on display.
1. Visit the local museums
Trento features several interesting museums.
The most famous is certainly the Science Museum, called MUSE, housed in a spectacular glass building designed by Renzo Piano.
MUSE interactively introduces both adults and kids to the world of science. The 5 floors of the building tackle various natural subjects, such as alpine nature, fauna, climate, geology and also offers insights on the life of primitive men in the Alps. The panoramic terrace is the cherry on top with its view of the valley of the Adige.
The Castello del Buonconsiglio is also worth a visit. Here you can find different provincial collections, with emphasis on medieval art and ethnographic contents, as well as temporary exhibitions.
The Gianni Caproni Aeronautical Museum is instead dedicated to aviation enthusiasts. The excellent collection of aircrafts built between 1910 and 1980 - including some unique pieces such as an Ansaldo A.1 Balilla - is on display near the Trento airport in Mattarello.
Other museums worth visiting are the Tridentine Diocesan Museum (with sacred art and an area dedicated to the Council of Trent) and the National Historical Museum of the Alpini (located in a former Austrian powder magazine and full of interesting documents, testimonies and relics of the Alpini corps).
Finally, go for a walk back in time in the Sas Underground Archaeological Area, boasting the remains of the old Roman Tridentum (Trento's old name). This ancient portion of the Roman district is partially on display here, with a section of the city walls, a tower, part of the sewage system and a few houses.