We had our AirBnB apartment in Lake Garda for a week so this day we decided to drive along the scenic lake side highway towards Trento, spending short times in little towns such as Salo and Rive del Gardo along the way. We reached Trento in the late afternoon, since it’s winter time, sunset starts really early at around 5pm. Just in time to visit the Christmas market and the Duomo in Trento, Italy, as well as to savour the local street food in the market.
Trento is a really interesting place. I read that this city used to be part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, and only was indexed by Italy in 1919. According to Wikipedia, Trento often ranks highly among Italian cities for factors such as quality of life, standard of living, and business and job opportunities, ranking 5th in 2017. This mountainous city is also one of Italy’s wealthiest and most prosperous cities, with its province being one of the richest in Italy.
Since our time is limited in Trento and we want to make sure we drive back to Lake Garda the same night, we spent our time mainly in the city centre, which is quite compact. The architecture speaks of medieval style, with the night fall, and festivities going on in the city, I can really feel the strong Christmas atmosphere going around.
We parked our car outside the city centre and walked about 10 min into the city centre. Passing back some really old buildings.
The main touristic area happens around Piazza Duomo, a rather spacious stoned flooring square where the Duomo is the main landmark and the surrounding lined with 3 to 4-storey high medieval style buildings, decorated with arched walkways and wooden balconies.
The Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Vigilius of the 12th to 13th century, is a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral built on top of a late-Roman basilica. Standing in front of Piazza Duomo, on the left side of the cathedral, are frescoed Renaissance buildings and the Late Baroque Fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno) built in 18th century. The bell tower, known as Torre Civica, built in the 13th century stands at Palazzo Pretorio, next to the Duomo, now hosts a collection of baroque paintings of religious themes.
The night we were there, there was an interesting wall projection at the piazza.
The Christmas market is a short 5-min walk away. The market looks just like a unique magical nativity scene, full of lights, food, souvenirs, singing and traditions. Located over Piazza Battisti and Piazza Fiera, with close to 100 stalls selling all sorts of Christmas stuff.
I read that this year in 2019, the Green Project continues in this market with environmental sustainability in mind, we are talking about clean energy, plates made from bread, sustainable mobility, eco-certified paper and etc. I’m pretty impressed by this to be honest, to think that the organisers inject sustainability elements into a traditional festive where tonnes of wastes are generated from excessive drinking, eating and gift wrapping.
One of the highlights for me in the market is definitely this group of singers, all male, singing some local Christmas carols.
Of course, the food was a draw. Interestingly, we found food that’s a fusion of the Austrians and Italians. One of my favourite is this local alcohol, Bombardino, a popular drink in Italy during winter, especially in the ski resorts. It is made by mixing 1/2 Advocaat or eggnog and 1/2 Brandy. It is served hot and with whipped cream on top.
I’ve a big fan of cold cuts and cheese and the charcuterie also attracts me over. Love seeing the different types of cold cuts and charcuterie and tasting them.
There are so many other stalls selling beef goulash, polenta, Tortel de Patate (a South Tyrolean potato pancake), Fastenbrezel (South Tyrolean bretzels), strauben (sweet fritters that’s deep fried and complemented with all kinds of sweet condiments you can choose), Canederli (bread dumplings served in broth or dry, flavoured with Alpine ingredients such as speck, a local cured meat and cheese), Probusto (a Trentino inspired pork and beef sausage, served with coriander potatoes and mustard greens, and topped with mustard), and so much more. I wish I had more space in my tummy.
On the way back, we also chanced upon this lovely little shop, Le delizie, another irresistible place for me. Loved shopping for fresh pasta, especially for assorted types of pasta and we can just pick and choose. My all-time favourite of all must be the zucca (pumpkin) ravioli, it’s sweet and savoury at the same time, with a subtle hint of almond.
So here’s concluding our little short trip to the Christmas market and the Duomo in Trento, Italy. Another two hours drive back to Lake Garda via the expressway. Can’t wait to be back to cook the zucca ravioli for late dinner. Do check out my other post in another beautiful Italian city, Mantova.
Trip made on 27 December 2019.