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Introducing Trento & The Dolomites

Italy’s northernmost region, comprising the twin provinces of Trentino and Alto Adige (Südtirol), is a winter wonderland of glistening forests, frozen waterfalls, and adrenaline-pumping ski runs. Deep, hidden valleys harbour the ancient Ladin language and culture, whose tradition of woodcarving and toy making is displayed at Christmas market stalls set up on the main squares of villages and towns throughout the region. Ranging across both provinces are the rose-hued peaks of the Dolomites, forming part of the continent’s heartland, the Alps.

As the snow at the lower altitudes melts and wild flowers appear, protected parks, lakes, and trails dotted with mountain huts provide pristine hiking and biking terrain. The warmer months also see apples harvested from the region’s orchards, and cheeses produced from its vivid green pastures. Both are staples in the region’s cuisine, along with its vineyards’ medal-winning wines and grappas that pack a punch.

Trentino-Alto Adige soars north from the shores of Lago di Garda to the Austrian and Swiss borders. Although united as one region on paper since they were ceded to Italy in the early 20th century, these two autonomous provinces are essentially as independent of each other as they are from the rest of the country. Each province retains and invests its own taxes, resulting in safe, clean townships, state-of-the-art infrastructure and, importantly, the preservation of vast tracts of wilderness that shelter rare flora and fauna as well as age-old artisan industries such as dairies. While they’re both formally trilingual (in Italian, German and the minority Ladin language), Trentino has always been Italian-speaking, whereas two-thirds of Alto Adige’s population speaks German as their first language. As a result, you’ll encounter completely different cultural identities in each province.

Information

Tourist offices in Trentino’s capital, Trento, and Alto Adige’s capital, Bolzano, each have province-wide information, including updated lists of rifugi (mountain huts) and B&B farmhouses.