Like other regions along the northern Italian border, Trentino-Alto Adige has something of a split personality – and though it hasn’t always managed to marry its Italian and Germanic history perfectly as far as politics are concerned, the integration of the two makes the region an interesting one to visit.
It’s easy to forget that a country with as much historic importance as Italy is, as a country, so incredibly young – until, that is, you learn that the Trentino-Alto Adige region was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until as recently as 1919. The region’s other name, Südtirol, or “South Tyrol,” refers to its geographic position as the southern part of the Tyrol area of Austria.
Trentino-Alto Adige occupies a large piece of northeastern Italy along the northern border of the country. It’s an incredibly mountainous region, with parts of both the Dolomites and the Alps within its borders. Owing partly to its Austro-Hungarian history, Trentino-Alto Adige is one of the autonomous regions of Italy – and within the region, there are two autonomous provinces. Indeed, you’re just as apt to hear German spoken in some parts of the region as you are Italian.
This page contains a basic overview of travel information for Trentino-Alto Adige, including links to other articles on WhyGo Italy to help you plan your Trentino-Alto Adige trip. Please let me know if you have trouble finding what you’re looking for.
Quick links to Trentino-Alto Adige travel resources:
- Where to Stay in Trentino-Alto Adige
- What to Do in Trentino-Alto Adige
- Where to Go in Trentino-Alto Adige
Trentino-Alto Adige: Fast Facts
- The official name for the region – Trentino-Alto Adige – is both the Italian and English name, and it’s pronounced tren|TEE|noh AL|toh AH|dee|jay. But there’s an additional name for the region that you’ll hear in some of the more German-influced areas – Südtirol (pronounced SOOD|tee|roll).
- The capital city of Trentino-Alto Adige is Trento.
- Trentino-Alto Adige is one of only five Italian regions with no UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- The Trentino-Alto Adige region is one of five autonomous regions in Italy.
- Trentino-Alto Adige shares a border with both Austria and Switzerland in the north, as well as the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
- Famous people from Trentino-Alto Adige include famed director Nanni Moretti, actress Francesca Neri, and showgirl Adriana Volpe.
- People from Trentino-Alto Adige are called different things depending on which part of the region they hail from. Those from Trentino are called trentini (that’s the masc. pl. form; others are trentino – masc. sing., trentina – fem. sing., and trentine – fem. pl.), and those from Alto Adige are called sudtirolesi (that’s the plural form; the singular form is sudtirolese) because the region is also known as the Sudtirol.
Where to Stay in Trentino-Alto Adige
While the Trentino-Alto Adige isn’t high on the must-visit list of many first-time visitors to Italy, it remains incredibly popular with tourists year-round. Winters mean a large influx of ski-related tourism, and fairer weather brings people to the region’s beautiful lakeside as well as to hiking in the mountains. Still, it may surprise you to know that the Trentino-Alto Adige region has the highest concentration of hotels than any other region in Italy.
During prime vacation seasons (which translates to both winter and summer) in Trentino-Alto Adige, then, while there are plenty of rooms to house all the people who visit you’d be smart to book well in advance to get the best spots at the best rates.
If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, don’t overlook the various hostels listings in towns throughout the region, too – these contain listings for small, budget hotels as well as bona fide hostels. Other budget options include renting a vacation home for a stay of a few days or longer, or, if you’re doing some hiking through the mountains, taking advantage of the rustic rifugi set up for people on longer than simple day hikes.
Here are some links to articles about hotels and hostels in some of the cities in Trentino-Alto Adige:
- Cheap Hotels in Trento
- Hostels in Trento
- Cheap Hotels in Bolzano
- Hostels in Bolzano
- Cheap Hotels in Merano
- Hostels in Merano
- Cheap Hotels in Rovereto
- Hostels in Rovereto
- Cheap Hotels in Nago-Torbole
- Hostels in Nago-Torbole
- Cheap Hotels in Arco
- Vacation Rentals in Trentino-Alto Adige
- Agriturismo in Trentino-Alto Adige
What to Do & See in Trentino-Alto Adige
The main tourist draw in the Trentino-Alto Adige region is the great outdoors – especially its many mountains that are excellent for winter sports as well as summer hiking. Lake Garda peeks into a portion of the region, and that’s another popular place to spend a holiday.
The mountaintop ski resort towns often look like Swiss or Austrian villages (because they once were), and the region’s Germanic history also turns up in the local food specialties, too. Like every other region in Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige has its own wine producing areas, and it also happens to be famous throughout the country for its apples.
There are also old-fashioned spa resort towns in Trentino-Alto Adige, including some that have long been popular with European royalty.
Where to Go in Trentino-Alto Adige
From lakeside spots to mountain ski resorts, there are cities and towns at all elevations in Trentino-Alto Adige – and although many of them have names you may not recognize, this region is a popular tourist destination for a reason. Many of the towns are either ski resorts or spa resorts, and there’s also fascinating history (ancient and more modern) in these mountains.
Here are a few of the cities and towns of Trentino-Alto Adige you might have on your list (because many of these towns have German names that are just as common as their Italian ones, the German name is in parentheses):
- Trento (Trient) – Capital of region, pretty historic center, home to a highly-ranked university, Alpine Botanical Garden, 12th century cathedral, 13th century castle, 16th century church which was the setting for the Council of Trent
- Bolzano (Bozen) – City in center of region, pretty medieval center, home to archaeology museum where Ötzi the Iceman lies, 12th century Gothic cathedral
- Merano (Meran) – Spa resort town in a valley surrounded by mountains, home to a castle which houses a regional museum of tourism
- Rovereto – City on the Adige River in southern part of region, home to a 13th century castle, the largest sounding bell on earth, a notable Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
- Bressanone (Brixen) – Ski resort city in northern part of region, near the Brenner Pass, home to a 10th century cathedral, 11th century Parish church, 13th century palace, Pharmacy Museum
- San Martino di Castrozza – Mountain resort town near Veneto border
- Riva del Garda – Town on Lake Garda in southern part of region
- Arco – Town near Lake Garda in southern part of region, home to a medieval hilltop castle overlooking town center
- Nago-Torbole – Spa resort town on Lake Garda in southern part of region, Torbole is lakeside, Nago is on hilltop overlooking Torbole