Whether it’s skiing on Monte Bondone in January or swimming in the aquamarine lakes of Monte Terlago in June—there are countless ways to take in the majestic wonder of the mountains near Trento in Northern Italy. If you’re staying down in the city center, consider the following day trips up to these breathtaking sights. Here is a short activity guide, arranged by season, for your trip to the Trento region.
Monte Bondone (4265 ft.)
This spectacular mountain, part of the Brenta Dolomites, is only a half-hour drive by car or bus from Trento’s city center. Spend the whole day downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, or even snowboarding. For kids, there’s an ice-skating rink and a toboggan run. There is a variety of ski slopes designed for every level of skier, and if you want to increase your level, you can take a class. From the slopes you have a stunning view of Trento down below. You can also warm up with a coffee at one of the many local bars. Because the ski resort is able to produce artificial snow (made with fresh mountain water), you can take to the slopes from December through April.
Val di Fassa (Alba, Penia and Campitello)
The Ladin Carnival (January 20 through February 24)
Val di Fassa doesn’t just have ski resorts to boast of—what always draws people here year after year is the Ladin Carnival. This month-long event keeps the Ladin culture alive—which dates as far back as 15 B.C. This captivating ritual celebrates its traditions and the changing of the seasons. Don’t miss these animated and colorful parades, where participants wear wooden masks made by local artisans and dress in bright, beautiful costumes. You’ll also see humorous theater shows spoken in the Ladin language. The area is proud of this folklore tradition and it enlivens the spirit during these dark days of the year. Vale di Fassa is conveniently accessible by bus from the Trento train station.
Alpine Botanical Gardens
As stunning as the icy landscapes of Monte Bondone are in the winter, they are nothing when compared to the visions of splendor that await you in these Alpine meadows in the summer. The mountain’s extensive botanical garden has over 2,200 different species of plants. Wander through these rich landscapes by foot, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go horseback riding or bike riding. The park is open from June through September. In July and August the park holds special public events, especially geared for families, to educate visitors about the gardens.
Monte Terlago, just a ten-minute picturesque drive from downtown Trento, is famous for its three lakes: Lamar, Santo, and Terlago. All three are a haven for swimmers in the summer and all three reflect the lush green trees and snowy mountaintops in their clear waters. You can grill outside or have an Austrian beer with your pizza at Ai Tre Faggi on Lake Lamar. Just down the road you can also take a swim at Lake Santo. Both of these lakes are a spectacular sight because of their aquamarine color. At the olive-hued Lake Terlago, the largest and most popular of the three lakes, you can go for a healthy walk up one of the many trails after a swim. It’s best to take a car to the lakes, but if you don’t feel like renting a car, you can always take a taxi from Trento’s city center. It will be well worth it!