This is one of the premier castles in Italy. The varied architectural styles, not always homogenous, have combined to make an impressive fortress nonetheless.
It commenced in the early 13th century and, for over 500 years, was the seat of the Bishop Princes of Trentino.
Inside the Torre dell'Aquila has fine examples of medieval knightly paintings, commissioned by Giorgio of Liechtenstein and done by a Bohemian artist. The unbroken wall to wall pictures called "Il ciclo dei mesi" represent the months and feature a wonderful variety of individual scenes.
Then there's the Magno Palazzo, another art-filled wonder with sculptures, stucco works and frescoes.
If you still haven't had enough then you can walk the Via Bernado Clesio and along the castellated walls to the Torre Verde, a 1450's tower with and unusual spire that was built for defensive purposes before the Fiume Adige was diverted in the 19th century.
Wherever you look in the piazza, there's something to admire. It has variety. There's a fountain, painted walls, tower, duomo, castle, museum and room to move. Is this the best piazza in all Italy?
Fondest memory: The fountain of Neptune, sculpted by Francesco Antonio Giongo in 1767.
For Neptune himself, see my "Intro" page.
The four sculptures at the base represent the four continents of the then known world.
The building behind is one of the two-part Case Rella. On this one are painted subjects such as Virtue, Time, Fortune, Apollo, Abundance and the Triumphs of Love.
My favourite thing about Trento is the free tour. Bring it on I say. Shame I've only had the first ten minutes of it. Twice! (see my Intro page for humorous view).
It happens on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and is multilingual.
One of the first things you get to see on the tour (no matter how many times you take it) is the Palazzo Salvadori, a Renaissance-style palace built in the early 1500s by the Lombard artist Lucio di Pietro.
What you find out though is that it sits where the Jewish synagogue from the middle ages once was.
There are two oval medallions above the doors, sculpted by Francesco Oradini. They tell a poignant tale of how a boy was found "drowned" in the river but, upon inspection, he was believed to have been strangled.
The Jews were falsely blamed (as they seem to be for most things) and the Catholics did nothing to stem that victimization (as our guide was wont to point out) and so today these two plaques depict Simonino's martrydom and glory. The victimization was officially recanted in 1965.
A rough translation (and here I am indebted to fellow VT member tapis volant) goes as follows: "In the depths of these buildings where once there was a synagogue now a small shrine has been constructed. The blessed matyr, three toothed Simon, 29 months old,was murdered by utmost torture by the Jews on the 23rd March 1475 in the dead of night."
Here again I am indebted to tapis_volant for her work in tracking the full story down.
"Born in Trent, Italy, in 1472; died 1475. According to reports of the time, Simon was a 2-1/2-year-old Christian boy living in Trent, Italy. The story was told that the Jews met in the synagogue on Tuesday of Holy Week to decide how to celebrate Passover that year, which fell on Holy Thursday. Reportedly, they
decided to sacrifice a Christian child on Good Friday out of hatred for Christ.
A Jewish doctor cajoled young Simon from his home while his parents were attending the Tenebrae service on Wednesday evening.
Fondest memory: The story continues that he was murdered at midnight on Holy Thursday. The description of his crucifixion is horrid. After his death his body was supposedly hidden in various places to prevent his parents from finding it and finally thrown into the river.
Under intensive and terrible torture, those arrested for the crime admitted to it, were executed after further torture, and burnt. The synagogue was destroyed and a chapel erected on the spot where the child was thought to have been martyred. The child's relics now rest in a stately tomb in St Peter's Church in Trent. Though the murder was blamed on the Jews of Trent, there never was
any proof that such a crime was committed for ritualistic purposes. The account of Tiberinus, the physician who inspected the child's body, and the juridical acts can be found with recorded notes of the day.
The trial was reviewed in Rome by Sixtus IV in 1478 but he did not authorize the cultus of Saint Simon; it was done by Sixtus V in 1588, largely on account of miracles worked at his shrine.
While miracles were later reported at the child's tomb, this is not one of the more stellar events in the history of the Church as evidenced by the removal of his name from the Roman Martyrology in 1965 by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, that forbade all future veneration. The cause behind the child's death is considered quite uncertain.
As to why his feast is celebrated liturgically if it is forbidden I'll venture a guess. There are probably some churches which had been dedicated to his patronage and celebrate their patronal feast day. It is indeed possible that Simon is numbered among the saints in heaven, as evidenced by the miracles, but not for being a martyr, which is the primary reason the cultus was banned.
In art, St. Simon is a child crucified, tortured, or mocked by Jews. At times
he may be shown (1) strangled with a cloth around his neck, holding a banner,
nails, and pincers; or (2) with a palm (sign of a martyr) and long bodkin."
On my first trip to Trento I only saw a couple of external frescoes then went to Bolzano and wondered what all the fuss at Trento was about. This time I managed to understand what the fuss was about. I wandered three times as many streets (and ran a few as well!) but got to understand more about this proud city that doesn't get the tourist numbers it warrants.
Fondest memory: Here you can clearly see why they call it the painted city. This is a corner of the Piazza Duomo.
In the background is the Torre Civica where a Roman porta used to stand. In fact, some of it was used in this construction. It signalled the start of the via Claudia Augusta.
On Palazzo Geremia, a detail of a fresco from the 16th century in the Veronese style.
The palace itself dates from the 15th century and the paintings depict significant events in the history of the city. Here we undoubtedly see the city burghers overlooking one of the many parades, triumphal entries and diplomatic assemblies depicted on the walls.
It's opposite Palazzo Thun and is also used for government purposes today.
South of Trento, and north of Revereto, if you're on the main strada, you can't help but notice something on a prominent hillside. At night, under floodlights, it is positively dramatic; an inspiring sight dominating the heavens.
Fondest memory: Castel Besano was actually lived in until 1973 but, when you see the state it is in even today, it is plainly obvious that only a very small part of it must have been occupied.
(For more details and pictures, see my travelogue and Intro)
Cesare Battisti was born in 1875, in Trento, then a part of Austria-Hungary. He became a leader of the "irredentismo" movement that fought for Italian speaking territories, such as the Trento region, to become part of Italy. He was sentenced to death for high treason to Austria and executed in the courtyard of Castello del Buonconsiglio in 1916.
Piazza Cesare Battisti, though in the old city center looks very different. On one side of the square, stands the theater with a very modern look.
Favorite thing: Have a look at the web site of the Trento and Monte Bondone tourist agency; wwwapt.trento.it_Home.htm. Here you'll find info about accomodation in Trento area; art and culture suggestions (museums, churches...), events and so on.
Favorite thing: The architecture of the Palazzo della Regione is especially striking once you are in the gallery. The main part of the building is corbelled and standing on huge pillars, some are looking like giant hands that bear the first level. Others look like elegant spools. This is the work of Adalberto Libera (1903-1963), a famous local architect that belonged to the avant-garde of modern architecture in Europe. It was built from 1954 to 1963.
Favorite thing: The offices of the Palazzo della Regione stand in another, taller, building, 200m away. The architect was also Adalberto Libera. It is also built in an aerial way and a large part of the building is standing on a pillar that contains the staircases and lifts. The whole, though huge, looks very light and elegant.