Castles and churchesMain tourist attractions
Trentino Alto Adige is a land blessed with a unique natural environment, in turn enriched by a huge historical and cultural heritage.
Among imposing peaks, lush green meadows and picturesque villages, the provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol show their cultural and artistic traditions through the strong and pugnacious spirit of their castles and the mystic atmosphere of their churches.
Tirolo Castle, Coira Castle, Ciastel de Tor, Presule Castle… are only some of the many strongholds and fortresses scattered on the territory. Their imposing walls hide a centuries old history, the memory of legendary men, and traditions of ancient times.
On the other side the San Procolo church, the sanctuary of Pietralba, the abbey of Novacella, the cathedral of Bressanone, together with many other, show the mysterious beauty of their frescoes, sculptures and altars, surrounded by the unique, enchanting environment of Trentino Alto Adige.
Besides quenching their thirst for culture, visitors here can an the same time enjoy the beauty of a pristine nature walking along the trails that lead to the castles and churches.
Show main castles and churches in Trentino Alto Adige
Tourist attractions: places to see
The region of Trentino Alto Adige features a remarkable natural and cultural heritage, and its tourist attractions attract every year thousands of visitors from all over the world: imposing strongholds, churches and museums tell centuries old tales and hide contemporary art treasures, whereas natural jewels like the glacial lakes, crystal clear expanses of water, stand as the best examples of a striking and unique natural environment.
Besides a host of sports and leisure opportunities, a holiday in Trentino Alto Adige offers the chance to discover the unique and centuries old cultural traditions of this territory.
You can for example visit the Beseno Castle, the Mart Museum or the San Colombiano hermitage in Vallagarina, but the province of Trentino offers many other interesting places to see, like the Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento, hosting an important museum, and Thun Castle in the Val di Non valley.
From an historical and cultural point of view, South Tyrol too has a lot to offer, like the old town of Bolzano, the Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, surrounded by the wonderful Gardens of Sissi, and the Novacella Abbey in the Valle Isarco valley.
The province of Trentino abounds in lakes, which are one of its main tourist attractions. Here you find Lake Caldonazzo, Lake Molveno and the northern section of Lake Garda, but also the many wonderful glacial lakes.
Trauttmansdorff Castle rises near Merano, in South Tyrol: its fame is due to Empress Sissi, and nowadays the castle hosts the Tourism Museum of South Tyrol, the Touriseum, a restaurant and a huge botanical garden.
Hosting the first museum of the Alps, the Touriseum, and the wonderful Gardens of Sissi, Trauttmansdorff Castle rises near Merano.
Rising in the municipality of Varna, near Bressanone, the Novacella Abbey is one of the biggest and most important spiritual centers of the Alps, run by the Augustinians.
Founded in 1142, the Novacella Abbey soon became the most important spiritual and cultural center of Tyrol. Nowadays the abbey hosts an important library, a winery and a beautiful garden.
The ruins of the imposing Belfort castle tell a complex story of different owners, madness and suspicion, and restless ghosts.
The castle rises between the villages of Spormaggiore and Cavedago, in Trentino, and nowadays shows to its visitors the high crenellated tower, surrounded by the ruins of the stronghold. Dating back to the 14 century, the history of Belfort Castle is characterized by a long line of different owners and by shady political events.
The Emperor's Forts
Imposing strongholds and one of the best examples of military architecture, they rise as a memory of one of the most tragic historical periods of Italy and of the world, described in the halls of the museum in Lavarone and along the trails of the Trentino Plateaus.
The Emperor’s Forts are seven fortresses located in the region of Trentino and built by the Austro-Hungarian soldiers during the First World War.
Forte Busa Verle, Forte Cima Vezzena, Forte Lusern, Forte Gschwent Belvedere (museum of Lavarone), Forte Cherle, Forte Dosso del Sommo and Forte Sommo Alto: these imposing strongholds rise along an ideal 30 km long line, between Cima Vezzena and the Folgaria Plateau. Visitors can admire them choosing one of the many trekking and mountain biking trails crossing the territory.
In addition, the fort museum of Lavarone, with its documents and finds, offers a detailed description of the tragic events of the war.
Despite the Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, in 1908 the Austro-Hungarian governemnt decided to build a series of defensive fortresses along the boundary with Trentino.
Except for the forts of Busa Verle and Lusern, the strongholds were severely damaged during the war, and in 1936 they were dismantled to obtain steel and iron.
Forte Busa Verle: located on a hill close to the Vezzena Pass (1,554 meters), it blocked the access to the plateaus from the Val d’Assa valley.
Forte Cima Vezzena: rising on the edge of a cliff at an altitude of 1,908 meters, it was built carving the mountain. The view you can enjoy from the front of the fort is just breathtaking.
Forte Lusern: built between 1911 and 1914,it controlled together with Forte Busa Verle the access to the Alta Val d’Assa valley, and was the main element of the so called “steel trench”.
Forte Gschwent – Belvedere di Lavarone: built between 1908 and 1914 to control the Val d’Astico valley, it’s the only stronghold spared in the dismantlement of the Thirties, thanks to king Victor Emmanuel III, who wanted one of the forts to stand as material proof of the First World War. Nowadays the fortress hosts a modern museum with documents and finds giving a comprehensive description of the war period (further information: tel. ./fax + 39 0464 780005; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Last but not least, there are Forte Cherle, Forte Sommo Alto and Forte Dosso del Sommo.
Besides visiting the fort museum of Lavarone, there are other ways to take a dive into history:
· Walking along the Peace Trail, a 450 km long itinerary along paths and trenches running along the old front line of the First World War, from the nature reserve Parco dello Stelvio to the Marmolada massif
· Taking part to the March of the Forts or to the Trekking of the Forts
· Taking one of the trails that lead directly to the strongholds
San Pietro Church in Cembra
It’s one of the oldest churches in Trentino, rising in the heart of the Val di Cembra valley: wonderful in its gothic style, its interiors are enriched by bright and gaudy frescoes (dating back to the 18 century) paying homage to the style of Tiepolo.
San Pietro Church rises in the center of Cembra, village of the valley bearing the same name, and is one of the main architectural masterpieces of the territory.
The documents date this building back to 1224: the original frame was modified several times, and the structure we can admire today is of the 16 century.
The Ossana Castle, with its 25 meters square based keep, rises on a high rock spur in the Val di Sole valley, as proof of an ancient glory now protected and hidden behind its imposing walls.
Located in the upper Val di Sole valley, the Ossana castle rises perched on a high rock spur from where it shows off all its imposing grace.
Thun Castle, imposing Middle Age stronghold rising on the top of a hill in the Val di Non valley, is partly open to visitors. Don't miss the chance to walk along its elegantly furnished halls!
The castle is a wonderful Middle Age building owned until not long ago by the Thun family, and now property of the Autonomous Province of Trento.
Rising at the top of a hill, the imposing stronghold is protected by high walls with ramparts, towers and a drawbridge (the castle is surrounded by a moat).
After eighteen restorations, Thun Castle is open to visitors since 2010.
Legendary Middle Age fortress, Ivano Castle rises in the eastern section of the Valsugana valley and nowadays hosts the culture center “Castel Ivano Incontri”.
Ivano Castle rises in Ivano Fracena in the Valsugana valley, not far from Trento, and is one of the best preserved fortresses in the province of Trentino.
Surrounded by a wonderful park, which hosts an animal reserve and several flower species, the castle has a long history and its charm is due also to the many local legends.
On a rocky spur near Vipiteno, in Campo Trens, rises the charming Tasso Castle. From the historical point of view, this is one of the most important fortresses of South Tyrol. Still in fairly good conditions, it hosts many antiques.
Ten halls of the castle, many with their original Late Gothic furniture, are open to visitors. The thirteen century kitchen is in good conditions, and one of the most interesting attractions of the castle is its beautiful old tower.
Castelbello Castle is perched on a steep rocky spur over the village bearing the same name, on the left bank of the Adige River. Due to its position on a not too high rock, but very steep on one side, the stronghold was always well protected agains attacks.
Until some decades ago the castle was a private property, but then the Italian state bought it, renovated it and turned it into a museum. Nowadays it hosts in the main hall a permanent exhibition on the Claudia Augusta Roman Road, while the other halls often hold temporary exhibitions of famous artists.
Tures Castle, one of the biggest and best preserved of the whole region, is an important tourist and cultural attraction. It overlooks the entrance to the Valle Aurina valley.
Thanks to the massif restoration that the castle underwent during the 20 century, about two thirds of the stronghold is now open to visitors, but the most interesting section is the library, still considered one of the most beautiful Middle Age hall of the whole region.
Toblino Castle rises in the municipality of Calavino, in Trentino, on a stretch of land along the shores of the lake bearing the same name. Rebuilt several times during the years, the fortress attracts also for its disturbing legends.
This wonderful 15 century stronghold, maybe the most famous of Trentino, on the shores of Lake Toblino. Remembered in many romantic legends, Toblino Castle had several owners, among which stands out Bernardo Clesio, who rebuilt the castle in Renaissance style.
From the top of a hill, the castle overlooks the town of Brunico. Ancient residence of bishops, nowadays it hosts the fifth museum of Reinhold Messner.
Brunico Castle rises on a hill in the old town of Brunico. Built to be the residence of bishops, during the centuries it underwent several changes, and from July 2011 it hosts the fifth museum of Reinhold Messner, the Ripa Museum, dedicated to the population of the mountains.
Gardena Castle is a romantic Renaissance stronghold rising at the feet of Sassolungo, in Santa Cristina, in the Val Gardena valley, surrounded by thick woods and lush green meadows.
The original name of Gardena Castle was Fischburg Castle, which means "fishing castle". This name was given after the owner, a big sport fishing enthusiast, created many small lakes along the castle for fish farming.
Once an Austro-Hungarian military fortress, the Dossaccio Fort rises in Predazzo on the mountain bearing the same name, at an altitude of 1838 meters, between the mountain groups of Bocche and Lagorai. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian defensive line built along the border with Italy. You can reach the fort following an easy path from Paneveggio.
The Dossaccio Fort, rising near Predazzo in the Val di Fiemme valley, was the main element of the defensive line stretching from the two valleys Val Travignolo and Valle San Pellegrino, erected to prevent invasions by the Italian army.
The Pietra Castle overlooks the village of Tonadico from the height of an erratic rock at the beginning of the Val Canali valley. Damaged several times during the years, it was restored only in the 80s.
The ruins of the Pietra Castle rise at the beginning of the Val Canali valley near Tonadico, a village not far from Fiera di Primiero. At present owned by count Georg Siegmund Thun-Hohenstein-Welsperg, the remains were restored at the beginning of the 80s.
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