An Introduction to Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy
One of Italy’s autonomous regions, Trentino-South Tyrol, is located in the north of the country.
Bordered by Switzerland and Austria, Trentino-South Tyrol is pretty interesting from a cultural perspective: here, you will find the Ladin culture and traditions in the Trentino part and Austro-Hungarian roots in Alto-Adige (or South Tyrol). The “foreign” imprint is so strong that 30% of the region’s population speaks South Tyrolean German.
Besides the wonderful cultural mix, the region has magnificent natural landscapes with impressive mountains, green valleys, and blue lakes. If you are into the outdoors, you won’t go wrong with a holiday in Trentino-South Tyrol.
Things to See & Do in Trentino-South Tyrol
Start your exploration of Trentino-South Tyrol from the capital city of Trento. Its two unmissable attractions are the Buonconsiglio Castle and the Duomo, the Romanesque-style cathedral. And don’t miss the archaeological site in the Duomo’s underground.
Trentino-South Tyrol is famous for its beautiful castles: one that needs to be on your bucket list is Castel Thun. This stunning castle is open to the public.
Bolzano is a gorgeous Austro-Hungarian-built town, where you will find the fascinating Piazza delle Erbe, Bolzano’s main square, where the locals still come to shop for local food products. While in Bolzano, visit the Duomo with its beautiful green and golden roof visible from afar.
One of the best things to do in Trentino-South Tyrol is relax in thermal baths. One of the top spots to do it is the gorgeous town of Merano, famous worldwide for its thermal pools. Once in Merano, don’t miss the Trauttmansdorff Castle and Gardens, where Austrian Princess Sissi stayed for some time.
Another fantastic thermal destination in the region? Levico, where you will find curative arsenic-rich waters. Levico is also popular for its beautiful lake in the heart of the Valsugana Valley.
If you love a lakeside vacation, Trentino-South Tyrol will blow your mind! The region has 297 lakes, perfect for a summer vacation or an off-season gateway. The region’s most famous lake is Garda Lake, Italy’s largest one. Visit the lake in the warm season for sporty activities such as windsurfing and canoeing.
Unmissable is Lake Braies, a true gem with its turquoise waters. Surrounded by the Dolomites slopes, the lake is surrounded by a 4-kilometer-long hiking trail, and the area is also perfect for hiking and cycling.
Speaking about the Dolomites, these spectacular mountains in the Italian Alps are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find incredible hiking trails and winter sports opportunities thanks to the many kilometers of slopes and cozy mountain lodges.
If you fancy an on-the-road holiday, the breathtaking Stelvio Pass in the Stelvio National Park will be the joy of every motorbike lover!
Secret Gems of Trentino-South Tyrol
A place that seems to have come out of a fantasy movie, Lake Reschen has a unique characteristic: a church tower peeking out from its waters. You won’t believe your own eyes!
There is an explanation for the church location: Lake Reschen is an artificially created reservoir on the site of a destroyed village, of which only the church tower remains.
A legend says that the sound of the church bells can still be heard to this day. And when the lake freezes in winter, you can approach the church tower on foot.
Food & Drink of Trentino-South Tyrol
The food of Trentino-South Tyrol is different from what you might think of as typically Italian. The Austro-Hungarian and Ladin food traditions are still very present in the region’s cuisine.
In the cured meats department, the best product is the Luganega, a mild pork sausage that is cooked before eating and used in various dishes. Cheeses in Trentino-Alto Adige are must-tries! Make sure to get your hands on the Asiago PDO and the Provolone Val Padana PDO.
Crauti is one of the most popular dishes in the region, which consists of sour cabbage, usually flavored with pepper and other species.
Canederli are bread dumplings flavored with speck, spinach, or ricotta cheese and served in a broth or drizzled with butter. Another fantastic pasta dish is the Spatzle Tirolesi, a green pasta made from boiled spinach, eggs, flour, and nutmeg tossed in a butter-fried sauce made from heavy cream and crispy speck.
As a main, try the Tyrolean Goulash, served with polenta, and Carne Salada, made by flavoring beef rump with salt, pepper, juniper berries, crushed garlic, and herbs.
End your meal with a homemade Strudel, a layered pastry with apple filling. The region is famous all over Italy for its apple production, so this dessert is an absolute must!