We love visiting Italian cities and towns that are a bit off the beaten path. The city of Trento, Italy, nestled on the edge of the Italian Alps, is fairly well-known among European tourists. But for American travelers, it’s virtually unknown.
I certainly hadn’t heard of it until late last year, when I signed up for the Traverse conference. But the thought of exploring a new to me place intrigued me. And travel conferences are a fun excuse to travel to a new city. Now, since visiting Trento in early June, all I want to do is tell everyone about my Trento Italy experience!
This post was updated on May 28, 2020.
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An ancient town in the Italian Alps
The city of Trento, Italy is the capital city of the Trentino-Alto Adige region. You can read about this part of Italy in the the DK Eyewitness Back Roads Northern and Central Italy guide book. Almost 120,000 people live in this ancient town, set in the Italian Alps. Established in the 4th century, the city has a long and complicated history. The DK Eyewitness Back Roads Northern and Central Italy book mentions this part of Italy
In the 1st century BC, Trento fell under Roman rule. After the fall of the Roman Empire, control of Trento shifted to the Catholic church as part of the Holy Roman Empire. Later, the city fell under Austrian rule. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that Trento became part of Italy.
With so much history and influences from different cultures, it’s easy to see why visiting a city like Trento would be a must on your Italy itinerary. We loved our Trento Italy experience, and hope to someday return to this city.
Ideas for exploring Trento, Italy with kids
While it may not seem like it, Trento, Italy is absolutely a kid-friendly city. Many of the streets in the Centro Storico (the historic center) are pedestrian friendly. And there are plenty of playgrounds throughout the city so they kids can play and parents can relax.
Here are a few of our ideas for visiting Trento, Italy with kids.
Hang out with Neptune at Piazza Duomo
When the Romans conquered Trento, they renamed the city Tridentum. The name is a tribute to Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. This legacy is still alive at the Piazza Duomo, the central square of Trento, Italy.
The centerpiece of the square is Fontana Del Nettuno, with its detailed sculpture of Neptune. Piazza Duomo is a popular place to have a meal or a snack. And also the perfect place for a photo of the Italian Alps.
Walk through Castello Del Buonconsiglio
A must-do in your Trento Italy experience is taking a visit to Castello Del Buonconsiglio. Built in the 13th century, this castle was the seat of religious power in well into the 1800’s.
These days, this castle in Trento houses the Provincial Gallery of Art, which showcases historical art from Italy. The castle also has gardens that families can walk through and take a rest.
Castello Del Buinconsiglio is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. From May 7 to November 3, the hours are 10am to 6pm. The rest of the year, opening hours are 9:30am to 5pm. Tickets cost 10 euros for adults, and children under 15 are free.
Take a visit to Muse Science Museum
Despite being such an ancient city, there are plenty of modern wonders to be found in Trento, Italy. One of the museums we enjoyed visiting was Muse Science Museum.
As a homeschooling family, we’re always looking for opportunities for learning wherever we go. Muse is full of interactive exhibits to make your Trento Italy experience fun and educational for your kids. Our kids really enjoyed trying out puzzles, and even laying on a nail bed!
Muse is located outside of the town center of Trento. The museum is open from 10am to 6pm from Tuesdays to Fridays, and from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Family pricing is 20 euros for families of two adults, and 10 euros for families of one adult.
Drive through the Italian Alps
We rented a car to get to Trento from where we were in Parma. And I have to say, that was a really good choice. Driving to Trento, we passed by castles built on mountainsides. We drove past farms along the hillsides and beautiful mountain scenery. The city, itself, is set in the Italian Alps, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy.
If you have a few days to spend in Trento, then it’s worth visiting some of the national parks nearby. Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi sits to the east of Trento about 71 miles. To the north, about 34 miles, sits Parco Naturale Monte Corno (Trudner Horn Nature Park). And about 44 miles to the west of Trento, Italy is Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta. All of these parks have trails that allow you to hike in the Italian Alps.
Since our time in Trento was limited, we didn’t have a chance to visit any of these parks. But we did get to drive through some fantastic mountain roads. I can only imagine how much more beautiful it would have been to hike there!
Grab a meal to experience Trento Italy cuisine
Trento’s Centro Storico is full of family-friendly restaurants. Since our hotel was about ten minutes away from Piazza Duomo, it was easy to find restaurants.
In Italy, there are many different types of restaurants, ranging from the casual pizzeria and osteria, to the more upscale ristorante and enoteca. Italiarail has a good write up of the differences between all the types of eateries in Italy, so you can prepare your appetite (and wallet!).
We found several good eateries serving local food all throughout the Centro Storico, and even beyond.
A family-friendly visit to Trento, Italy
We’re constantly surprised at how family-friendly Italy is. Even a town like Trento, Italy, with its medieval roads and buildings, has a great appeal for families. I’m glad I had a chance to visit Trento, otherwise I would have completely missed out on this unique Italian experience.
Have you had a chance to visit Trento in the Italian Alps? Share your experience in the comments below!
Disclosure: we received free entry to Muse Science Center courtesy of Visit Trentino, as part of attending the Traverse conference. However, the opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
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