Trentino South Tyrol
Trentino South Tyrol is Italy’s northernmost region, bounded by Austria, Switzerland, Veneto and Lombardy. The towering peaks of the Alps and the Dolomites preside over forested wilderness, alpine pastures, meadows carpeted by wild flowers and vineyards. One of Italy’s loveliest and least spoilt regions. Find your perfect Trentino – South Tyrol holiday
Trentino – Alto Adige is an Italian anomaly: an autonomous region containing two autonomous provinces, a product of the region’s checkered ethnic divide. Each is a province with the mentality of a region. Trentino is resolutely Italian, with a Latin soul, while Alto Adige is decidedly Teutonic and German-speaking. Alto Adige prefers to be known as the Sudtirol (in German) or the South Tyrol (in English).
The South Tyrol, which belonged to Austria until the end of World War I, still resembles the Austrian Tyrol and feels Tyrolean. Trentino, the southern province, prides itself on looking (and sounding) more Italian, though the subtle distinction is often lost on visitors.
This is an inspirational lakes and mountains destination, with almost 300 lakes and a foothold on Lake Garda. The majestic Dolomites tower over forests, pastures and vineyards – or the ski slopes. Trentino lays claim to being Italy’s most environmentally aware region, with pristine lakes, and a ban on motor boats. Strudel and dumplings do form part of the Mitteleuropean legacy but Trentino plays down its Austrian heritage. Tyrolean folklore and Viennese waltzes play second fiddle to the Italian lifestyle, from warmth to well-being.
This is Tyrolean perfection, from the geranium-hung chalets to the onion-domed belltowers and long craft tradition. Like Trentino, the South Tyrol is both a summer and winter playground, with superb trails and ski slopes. The jagged peaks of the Alps and the Dolomites preside over forested wilderness, alpine pastures, meadows carpeted by wild flowers, vineyards in the foothills, and orchards in the valleys. Alto Adige may have an Italian passport but its spirit is Tyrolean.
The Trentino – Alto Adige region is undoubtedly Italian but its strategic location has made it an historical pawn. Alcide De Gasperi, a legendary Italian prime minister from Trentino, once said: “Either you make history or you succumb to it”. But these territories have been a borderland since the times of the Roman Empire. Later, as part of Mitteleuropa, the region cannot deny its Austro-Hungarian legacy.
Alto Adige (South Tyrol/Sudtirol) was Italy’s reward for supporting the Allies in the First World War. Before 1919 the region was known as the South Tyrol (Sudtirol) and was part of Austria. In 1803 Austria annexed Trentino and, until the First World War, the Marmolada peaks marked the border between Austria and Italy. At the end of World War One, the region was ceded to Italy and Mussolini set about italianising it, from place names to colonisation by Italian-speakers. The creation of the Trentino-Alto Adige region in 1948 was followed by complete autonomy, which both regions have exploited to the full.
What to eat
For big appetites, try the “2 Giganti” in Trento with their massive pizzas.
If you are bored of eating pizza Margherita have a go and try pizza with honey, apples and gorgonzola at Uva e menta.
Do not expect to overdose on pasta and pizza here. Speck is on offer - a smoked pork salume sausage that originated in this region, now popular all over Italy. Try Brenta Salumi in Borzago Tel: 0465503836 to purchase this signature product at its best. If you like polenta, Trentino is the place. Tip from Italian Connection
Whilst there, take lunch in the Rifugio Papa. You get an insight into the inspiring camaraderie amongst alpine walkers in the region. Top Tip from Ramblers Worldwide Holidays
What to drink
Taste the famous sparkling wine ‘Rotari’ at Mezzocorona, 20km from Trento and surrounded by vineyards where they host Cantine Rotari. Wine tours and events are possible.
The position of Caffe Tridente allows you to sip your coffee in the middle of the main and medieval Piazza Duomo in Trento.
Trentino Alto Adige accounts for about 10% of Italian grappa production, a spirit actually distilled from grape pomace. After your meal, ask for a corretto or a rasentin or even a flavoured Grappa. There’s an art in drinking grappa – sip and savour, don’t knock it back in one go, Tip from Italian Connection
Ski heaven starts with glamorous Madonna di Campiglio to Pinzolo, from Bondone to Folgaria, and from Cavalese to Canazei. Get the Superskirama skipas, it provides access to 150 lift facilities, 380 km slopes and 8 resorts. The Santa Cristina to Ortisei James Bond run gives absolutely stunning views as well as great facilities and lots of après ski possibilities. Tip from Italian Connection
What to see
Grab a cable car from behind the train station to Sardagna, a small village on the top of a mountain for a stunning view of Trento. Ticket is cheap, just 1€ lasting 90 minutes.
The best walk is certainly the Strada delle 52 Gallerie on Monte Pasubio. The military road and 52 tunnels, cut through the rock by the Italian army during World War 1, and allow for a fairly easy ascent in mountains that would normally be inaccessible to the walker. On clear days there are amazing views to Austria and Venice!