The drive from Lake Como to Trento takes about three hours, and it would have gone much faster had it not been for the frequent signs warning us about “controllo elettronico della velocita”. It seems that between Milan and Verona there are more than anywhere in Italy. When we see one, we know there may (or may not) be a camera posted on the highway sign or on a box alongside the road. It’s maddening, this frequent need to hurry up, slow down, watch for signs. It might be more helpful to actually post the speed limit, but during the whole journey we don’t see one of those signs either. Oh well, might as well just turn up the Italian music and enjoy the trip.
We have been caught before and learned our lesson. It’s expensive! But how is it that so many Italians are speeding through the traps with impunity? We dare not find out. They obviously know something that we don’t.
After passing the exits for Lake Garda, we pay attention and successfully make the transition from the east-west A4 to the north-south A22 autostrada. As we go north and the sun goes down, the terrain changes and the Dolomites begin to appear on the horizon, making their abrupt angles up to the sky. The weather begins to cool and the speed traps seem to fade into obscurity. Not so many on this stretch of highway.
As everyone well remembers, the Council of Trent was convened in December of 1545, had twenty-five sessions and lasted for eighteen years, finishing in December of 1563. In response what it viewed as the heresies of Martin Luther, the council defined many of the important doctrines of Catholicism, including Original Sin, the Sacraments and the Eucharist. Three different Popes presided over the sessions. Even though there was much disagreement and controversy, the outcome was a thorough and spirited response to the challenges of rising Protestantism.
The Council has left an indelible mark on the city, and lives on in the architecture and artifacts that remain. You can’t visit ‘Trento’ without seeing firsthand many of the remains of those years.
We arrive at our meeting place, greet our old friend Giorgio and get into his car. Our destination is their family restaurant outside of town in the mountains. When we arrive, it is warm inside and the locals are beginning to arrive.
Carla is in the kitchen, taking on all of the cooking responsibilities herself. We know that she is working very hard and her family is helping in every way they can. Giorgio and their son Andrea work as bartender and waiters and the place begins to come alive.
You can really overeat in Italy if you don’t watch out, and here it comes again! Before we know it, Giorgio has brought out a luscious dish tortelli in butter, stuffed with cheese. That might have been quite enough, but we know better. There is a lot more to come. Next course–zuppa di castagna. Chestnut soup? It’s delicate and delicious. What’s next? A platter of prosciutto and other meats. Dessert? Yes, of course! Tiramisu. Then, a nice grappa to follow and we are convinced we are in very good hands indeed.
Trento is in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, hardly as popular as Tuscany or the Cinque Terre for many. But for the experienced traveler, and one who wants sincerely to avoid the beaten path, this is the real Italy. For anyone fascinated by history, most of Italy can provide an enriching experience, but Trento offers just as much without the throngs of tourists. With a rich historic and cultural background that includes Germanic and Austrian influences as much as Italian, there is much to see and learn here.
To stay in the area, you can consider these fine vacation rentals:
Asolo Bello – An absolutely stunning villa, renovated and decorated in the style of its owner, an important player in Milan’s thriving fashion industry. Asolo is listed as one of Italy’s 100 Most Charming Villages.
Villa Paolina – A comfortable and modern villa in San Felice del Benaco, not far from the shores of Lake Garda.
Villa il Parco – Positioned on a large garden estate with pool and lots of room for strolls, this impressive villa is close to Asolo, with Venice, Verona, Lake Garda and the Veneto towns in each reach.
Next stop: Venice