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District Trento
Province Province of Trento
Region Trentino-South Tyrol
Country Italy
Sea level 192 m
City partnerships Berlin Charlottenburg (Germany)

Kempten im Allgäu (Germany)

Postal Code 38100
Area Code 0461
Mayor (2005) Alberto Pacher
Elections (2005, only parties with more than 5% are listed) Margherita (Left-wing Catholics): 28.7%
Ulivo (Social Democrats): 17.7%
Forza Italia (Center-Right): 11.6%
Rifondazione Comunista (Communists): 5.7%
Lega Nord (Northern Separatists): 5.2%
A view of Trento from Castello del Buonconsiglio. In the background, the Monte Bondone.

Trento, in English sometimes called Trent, Italian Trento (TREN-to), German Trient (tree-ENT), Latin Tridentum is located in the Adige river valley in the Italy region of Trentino-South Tyrol. It is the capital of the region and of the autonomous province of Trento.

The township of Trento is geographically very large and encompasses the town center as well as many suburbs of extremely varied geographical and population conditions (from the industrial suburb of Gardolo just north of the city to tiny mountain hamlets on the Monte Bondone). Various distinctive suburbs still maintain their traditional identity of rural or mountain villages. The town proper only has 55.197 inhabitants (October 2004). The 2001 population of the entire township is 104,946.

Trento's province that is almost completely mountainous, and has an area of 6,207 km2 and a 2001 population of 477,017.


Originally a Celtic city, Trento was later conquered by the Romans in the first Century BC. The Romans gave Trento the name Tridentum, because of the the three hills that surround the city: the Monte Verruca a.k.a. Doss Trento, Sant'Agata and San Rocco. The Latin name is the source of the adjective Tridentine. On the old townhall a Latin inscription is still visible: Montes argentum mihi dant nomenque Tridentum ("Mountains give me silver and the name of Trento"), attributed to Fra' Bartolomeo da Trento (+1251).

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Trento was ruled by the Goths, Lombards and Franks, finally becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1027, Emperor Conrad II created the Prince-Bishop of Trento, who wielded both temporal and religious powers. Around 1200, Trento became a minerary production center of some significance (silver was mined from the Monte Calisio), and Prince-Bishop Federico Vanga issued the first mining code of the alpine region.

Trento became famous for the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which gave rise to the Counter-Reformation. The adjective Tridentine literally means pertaining to Trento, but because of the Tridentine Council, can also refer to this specific event. Among the famous prince bishops of this time were Bernardo Clesio (who ruled the city 1514-1539, and managed to steer the Council to Trento) and Cristoforo Madruzzo (who ruled 1539-1567, during the Council), both able European politicians and Renaissance humanists, who greatly expanded and embellished the city. Prince bishops ruled Trento until Napoleon conquered the city in 1801. In 1814, Trento was assigned to the Habsburg Empire.

During the late 19th Century Trento and Trieste, Italian cities still belonging to the Austrians, became icons of the national unification movement. Benito Mussolini briefly joined the staff of a local newspaper in 1908. The nationalist cause led Italy into World War I. Fabio Filzi and Cesare Battisti were two well-known local irredentists who had joined the Italian army to fight against Austria-Hungary with the aim of bringing Trento and its territory into the newly founded Kingdom of Italy. The two men were taken prisoners during Austro-Italian fightings at the nearby southern front. Taken to Trento, they were put on trial for high treason and executed in the courtyard of Castello del Buonconsiglio (Cesare Battisti had served in the Austrian army). Their death caused an emotional outcry and was later used by the Italian government to celebrate the "liberation of Trento." The region was greatly affected during the war, and some of its fiercest battles were fought on the surrounding mountains. Interestingly the Austro-Hungarian military did not allow soldiers from Trento, being ethnically and culturally Italian, to participate in battles on the provinces borders but instead sent them to fight in Russia in an effort to prevent cultural sympathy with the Italians. This also happened the other way around—Czech and Hungarian soldiers were sent to the southern front.

After World War I Trento, and its Italian-speaking province, along with Bolzano and the part of Tyrol that stretched south of the Alpine watershed (which was German speaking) were annexed by Italy.

During World War II after the overthrow of Mussolini, Trento briefly reverted back to Austria as part of Hitler's greater Germany. From November, 1944 to April, 1945 Trento was bombed as part of the "Battle of the Brenner." War supplies from Germany to support the Gothic Line were for the most part routed through the rail line through the Brenner pass. Over 6,849 sorties were flown over targets from Verona to Brennero with 10,267 tons of bombs dropped. Parts of the city were hit by the Allied bombings, including the church of S. Maria Maggiore, the Church of the Annunciation and several of the bridges over the Adige river. In spite of the bombings, most of the medieval and renaissance town center was spared.

Starting from the 1950's the region has enjoyed prosperous growth, thanks in part to its special autonomy from the central Italian government.

Society and Economy

18th century map of Trento showing walled old city and original course of the Adige river.

Eight centuries of Prince-Bishop rulers, relative independence from the rest of Europe and a strong sense of communal fate left a distinctive mark on the city's culture, which is dominated by a progressive Social-Catholic political orientation. The city is considered to be well-administered and enjoys the benefits of special autonomy from the central Italian government. Trento ranks high in Italian quality-of-life statistics.

The city owes much of its unique history to its position along the main communication route between Italy and Northern Europe and to the Adige river which prior to its diversion in the 19th century ran through the center of the city. The Adige river was formerly a navigable river and one of the main commercial routes in the Alps. The original course of the river is now covered by the Via Torre Vanga, Via Torre Verde and the Via Alessandro Manzoni.

Today Trento thrives on commerce, services, tourism, high-quality agriculture and food industry (including wine, fruit), as a research and conference center thanks to a small but renowned university and research centers such as ITC/IRST, and ECT*, and as logistics and transportation throughfare. The manufacturing industry installed in the post-war period has been mostly dismantled.

Valued pink and white porphyry is still excavated from some surrounding areas (Pila). This stone can be seen in many of Trento's buildings, both new and old. (For example, in the Cathedral, pictured below).

Things To See

Piazza Duomo, the Cathedral (XII-XIII Century) and the fountain of the Neptune.

Although off the beaten path of mass tourism, Trento offers rather interesting monuments. Its architecture has a unique feel, with both Italian Renaissance and Germanic influences. The city center is small, and most Late-Medieval and Renaissance buildings have been restored to their original pastel colours and wooden balconies. Part of the medieval city walls is still visible in Piazza Fiera, along with a circular tower. Once, these walls encircled the whole town and were connected to the Castello del Buonconsiglio.

The main monuments of the city include:

  • the Duomo (Cathedral of Saint Vigilio), a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral of the twelfth-thirteenth century, built on top of a late-Roman basilica (viewable in an underground crypt),
  • piazza Duomo, on the side of the Cathedral, with frescoed Renaissance buildings and a neoclassic fountain of the Neptune,
  • the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (1520) site of the preparatory congregations of the Third Council of Trent (April 1562 - December 1563),
  • the Castello del Buonconsiglio, which includes a museum and the famous Torre dell'Aquila, with a cycle of fine Renaissance frescoes depicting the months, commissioned by B. Clesio,
  • Torre Verde, along the former transit path of the Adige river, is said to be where persons executed in the name of the Prince-Bishop were deposited in the river,
  • the Palazzo delle Albere, a Renaissance villa next to the Adige river, now hosting a modern art museum,
    The Torre Civica (XIII Century).
  • the Palazzo Pretorio, next to the Duomo, of the twelfth century, with a bell tower (Torre Civica) of the thirteenth century,
  • various underground remains of the streets and villas of the Roman city (in via Prepositura, piazza Cesare Battisti), and
  • the monument to Cesare Battisti, a circular colonnade on the Verruca hill west of the city (Roman ruins are also found on the hill).

Trento also sports noteworthy modernist architecture, including the train station and the central post office, both by futurist architect Angiolo Mazzoni (1894-1979). In particular, the train station (1934–36) is considered a landmark building in Italian railways architecture and combines many varieties of local stone with the most advanced building materials of the time: glass, reinforced concrete, metal. The post office was once decorated with colored windows by Fortunato Depero, but these were destroyed during bombings in World War II. Other buildings of that time include the Grand Hotel (by G. Lorenzi) with some guest rooms furnished with futurist furniture by Depero, and the "R. Sanzio" Primary School build by Adalberto Libera in 1931-34.

An important museum of modern art (Museo d'Arte di Trento e Rovereto) is located in the nearby town of Rovereto.

Trento's surroundings are known for the beautiful mountain landscapes, and are the destination of both summer and winter tourism. The Alpine Botanical Garden, located on Monte Bondone in Le Viotte was founded in 1938 and is therefore probably the first such garden in Italy.

Trento is also the venue of a popular Mountain Film Festival

Famous natives of Trento

In addition to the aforementioned Bernardo Clesio and Cristoforo Madruzzo, Giacomo Aconzio was born in Trento. Kurt von Schuschnigg was born in Riva del Garda, in the Trentino region.

Fortunato Depero, futurist artist and one of the founders of the futurist movement in Italy, was born in Fondo in 1892, close to Trento. Giovanni Segantini, Italian Art Nouveau painter, was born in Arco in 1858.

Alcide De Gasperi, post-war statesman and one of the founding fathers of the European Union, was born in Pieve Tesino, then in the province of Trento still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

A dark episode in the history of Trento involved the death of a three year old boy known as Simon of Trent (S.Simonino) in 1475. The death was blamed on the local Jewish community and resulted in a series of executions.


Trento (elev. 192m) lies in a wide valley, where the Fersina and the Avisio rivers join the Adige (the second longest river in Italy). The city is surrounded by high mountains, including the Monte Bondone (2099m), the Paganella (2125m), the Chegul (1454m), and the Monte Calisio (1096m). Nearby lakes include the Lago di Caldonazzo, Lago di Levico, Lago di Garda and Lago di Toblino.


Highway A22-E45 to Verona and to Bozen/Bolzano, Innsbruck and Munich. Railway (main connection between Italy and Germany; direct train to Venice). Bus or train service to the main surrounding valleys: Fassa, Fiemme, Gudicarie, Non, Primiero, Rendena, Sole, Tesino, Valsugana.

External links

Regional Capitals of Italy
L'Aquila (Abruzzo)Template:· Aosta (Aosta Valley)Template:· Bari(Apulia)Template:· Potenza (Basilicata)Template:· Catanzaro (Calabria)Template:· Naples (Campania)Template:· Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Trieste (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)Template:· Rome (Lazio)Template:· Genoa (Liguria)Template:· Milan (Lombardy)Template:· Ancona (Marche)Template:· Campobasso (Molise)Template:· Turin (Piedmont)
Cagliari (Sardinia)Template:· Palermo (Sicily)Template:· Trento (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol)Template:· Florence (Tuscany)Template:· Perugia (Umbria)Template:· Venice (Veneto)