From castle to castle

Towers, battlements and frescoes: here are 10 castles worth experiencing

Located as it is halfway between Italy and the rest of Europe, Trentino has been a borderland since Roman times. In this geographically challenging context with harsh mountain peaks and deep valleys covered in woodlands, castles were indispensable for the control of strategic access routes. Fortresses were built for defence, counterattacks and to exercise power, like that of the Prince-Bishops, lords of Trentino right up to the 19th century. The stories of these castles and their inhabitants are, naturally, intricately intertwined.

Impregnable strongholds, sumptuous citadels and romantic castles: here we’ve chosen 10 of the best to take you on a journey into the Middle Ages with its swords, crosses and battlements.


Buonconsiglio Castle

Residence of the Prince-Bishops of Trento, this castle has covered important political and strategic roles over the centuries. If you appreciate art then you’ll love the beautiful Renaissance frescoes in the “Magno Palazzo” and the “Cycle of the Months”, a Gothic masterpiece that decorates the walls of the “Torre dell’Aquila” (Eagle’s Tower).


Thun Castle

Probably the most famous castle in Trentino. It’s located amongst the apple orchards of the Val di Non, about half an hour from Trento by car. You will be impressed by the perfect state of preservation of its interiors, like taking a trip into the past. If you visit the “Stanza del Vescovo” (Bishop’s Chamber) you’ll see what we mean.


Beseno Castle

Located on a hilltop overlooking the town of Besenello, near Trento, this imposing citadel played a pivotal role in the epic Battle of Calliano in 1487 between Tyrolean troops and the Republic of Venice. In great condition, this castle also has a well-furbished armoury with weapons and armour for guests to try.


The Castle of Rovereto

If you’re a history enthusiast, think twice before entering, as you may not want to leave! Indeed, this castle houses the Italian War Museum, a real-life encyclopaedia on the Great War and on military history in the modern age, from the Renaissance to Garibaldi.


Arco Castle

After a 20-minute uphill walk, through olive groves and cypress trees, you finally reach the gates of this fortress and a spectacular view across the plains of the upper Garda. Then make your way to the “Torre Grande” (Great Tower). This castle also appears in a famous watercolour by the German painter Albrecht Dürer.


Avio Castle

It’s the first castle you encounter if you arrive from the south along the motorway. You can’t miss it, clinging as it is to the mountainside with its keep dominating the surrounding vineyards. It’s definitely worth a visit even if it’s just to see the frescoes in the “Sala delle Guardie” (Hall of the Guards).


Stenico Castle

Located halfway between Lake Garda and the Brenta Dolomites, this castle represented a strategic stronghold under the Prince-Bishops who decorated its halls with frescoes and sculptures. Today, these halls, well-preserved and richly furnished, house a vast collection of objects in wrought iron and painted and engraved wood, including elegant marriage chests and finely decorated furniture, copper utensils, ceramic tiled stoves, keys and locks, arms and timepieces.


The Castle of Pergine

Have you ever slept in a Medieval castle? In Pergine Castle you can! The ancient stronghold has been renovated and offers 20 rooms and 3 towers where guests can spend the night, besides an elegant restaurant. A word of advice: keep your eyes open for the “Dama Bianca” (the white lady) a ghostly figure that apparently haunts the Chimney Room when there’s a full moon.


Caldes Castle

This castle is located in the Val di Sole, at the entrance to the town of Caldes. Legend has it that the young countess Olinda was imprisoned in one of its chambers, guilty of having fallen in love with a simple troubadour. Indeed, the “Stanza di Olinda” (Olinda’s Chamber) is still decorated with romantic frescoes, apparently painted by the unfortunate girl during her captivity.


Valer Castle

Built in the 12th Century on the hills of the Val di Non, it is undoubtedly one of the best preserved castles in the Alps. The perfectly furnished rooms allow you to take a journey back in time from the origins of the noble manor to the present day. Don't miss the charming chapel, frescoed by the Baschenis brothers. 

Published on 04/08/2022