Christmas among castles in the Dolomites
Spend the holidays in a fairy-tale atmosphere
In Trentino Alto Adige the Christmas holidays are the most characteristic and evocative time of the year. Famous markets, the hope of enjoying the first snowfall… give it a truly unique winter atmosphere. Why not allow yourself a few days in the mountains in a magic area, maybe take the opportunity to visit a couple of castles and picturesque Trento. If you find this programme intriguing, we’ll guide you through an itinerary of history, culture and plenty of Christmas shopping.
Trento: the pearl set in the Dolomites
Trento is not just about mountains, it is a wonderful city waiting to be discovered. It has museums, palaces, workshops, churches and so much more to visit. Disputed over between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy up until 1919, Trento captures many elements from both of these cultures. There are many sights to visit. Piazza del Duomo with its splendid noble frescoed palazzos and Duomo di San Vigilio where all the meetings of the Council of Trent were held are not to be missed. The Palazzo Roccabruna is highly unusual, it houses a wine bar with over 60 prestigious labels, including grappas and distilled liquors that date from 1940 to 1980. Anyone passionate about wine will fall in love with this place: in addition, every week the wine bar hosts a sampling event for all typical Trentino products accompanied by 100 of the region’s best wines with help from sommeliers.
Good advice is free for all!
Buonconsiglio Castle, also in Trento, is the ancient residence of prince-bishops and today hosts a museum that shows the art and culture of Trento from 11,000 BC to 1800 AD and each year it stages hugely successful exhibitions. The imposing city walls dating from the 1500s protect the bastions beyond these there is a captivating garden, if you are lucky enough to see it under snow, it is like entering a magic place from another time, straight out of a fairy tale. The upper balcony of the castle is utterly breathtaking, from it all of Trento and the surrounding mountains can be seen. (www.buonconsiglio.it)
Take time to look around the markets
The 25th edition of the Christmas Market will be held in Trento’s Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti up until the 6th January. Over 90 wooden booths with plenty of local artisan products and numerous events dedicated to families transform Trento into the true home of Father Christmas. Everything can be found in these booths, from nativity decorations to typical handmade items, passing through gift ideas and gastronomic specialities that will leave you amazed. In fact, there is a whole section dedicated to taste and the sampling of numerous traditional specialities, such as strudel, zelten, and the classic vin brulè. There is even a small train that will transport adults and children on a discovery tour of the city, the large Tree and Father Christmas’ House are an unmissable treat for children of all ages.
Wellness amid lake and mountain
For a few hours of peace, far from confusion and to recharge your batteries, we recommend the city of Arco, a short distance from Trento. The city unravels on the slopes of a rocky cliff from where the magnificent medieval castle dominates the entire valley of Alto Garda. Originally the castle was a fortified hamlet, defended by imposing walls and a good look-out system thanks to the towers present on the various sides of the nucleus. The whole complex was made from the two towers “Renghera” and “Grande” as well as various buildings including the fortified prison, the smithy, the cellar, the mill and three cisterns. A truly atmospheric site to visit.
Sleep at the feet of a castle
After a tour around the Arco’s Castle, nothing could be more enjoyable than lunch or dinner at “Ai Conti” (www.aicontiarco.it) to eat in the “sala dei fiori” (hall of flowers) or in the “sala delle virtù” (hall of virtue) inside the Palazzo Marchetti, the latter of which is entirely frescoed. In the evening you can stay in the splendid “Pace 1954 Hotel”, situated in the historic centre of Arco. The hotel will welcome you into its refined and relaxing atmosphere. The recently renovated rooms are very inviting, wood-effect porcelain stoneware from Ceramiche Coem has been selected to finish the entire structure, in particular HABITA Oak and SIGNUM Rosewood. These collections are a fresh modern reinterpretation of a wood effect for porcelain stoneware in the most sophisticated and elegant wood types. Which colours predominate? The warm and natural, decisive yet almost uniform tones, with particular graining finishes, are perfect for the contemporary interior design. During these Christmas holidays there is nothing left to do except going to Arco and relax while watching the unique panorama of lake Garda and the Dolomites.
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