The Dolomites in spring – Five ways to enjoy Trentino the stunning region between Lake Garda up into the Dolomites.
With the ski season over and the heat of summer yet to hit, spring is the ideal time to enjoy nature’s awakening in the great outdoors or take a cultural excursion in Trentino, the region of northern Italy running from the northern shore of Lake Garda up into the Dolomites. Here’s five ways you can enjoy the region Trentino and the Dolomites in spring.
Enjoy the blooming of the spring flowers
From the blossoming apple trees which cover the Val di Non in a pure shade of white to the flowering crocuses which turn Mount Casale’s meadows yellow, white and purple, springtime is a beautiful time to explore Trentino and to enjoy its countryside trails and paths.
The Valle di Ledro, located close to Lake Garda in the south of Trentino, bursts into bloom with more than 1,000 different kinds of wild flowers each spring. One of the most scenic areas is Dromaè, above Lake Ledro, where the mountain pastures become carpeted with a white and fuchsia mix of wild narcissi and peonies during May and June.
The arrival of spring is celebrated with an annual flower festival, a popular local fete where traditional mountain foods such as polenta, chops and salamelle sausages are served. This year, the event takes place on Sunday May 19 and you are encouraged to walk there from the village Mezzolago. The climb is around 800 metres, but there are three paths of varying difficulty and steepness, taking between one and a half and three hours each.
Explore Trentino’s first Forest Bathing trail
Forest bathing has its origins in the Japanese practice known as shinrin-yoku which involves a complete immersion in forested areas. It teaches the benefits of apparently simple activities – like a walk in the woods or the essence of breathing in the reinvigorating or relaxing scents of trees and plants. According to studies conducted in Japan, forest bathing boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure and helps alleviate stress and depression.
In June 2018, Trentino opened its first trail dedicated to forest bathing in Fai della Paganella, northwest of Trento. This forest contains beech and birch, which are considered some of the most beneficial plants, as well as conifers which have a balsamic effect on the respiratory system. The trail is 5.4km long and walkers should allow around two hours to enjoy it.
For further information, see Visit Trentino website.
Harvest local herbs and learn how to use them
Ambiente Trentino offers guided excursions for those interested in learning about Trentino’s flowers and herbs from botanical experts. The programme for this spring includes events based around Monte Baldo, a peak overlooking Lake Garda which is known as the Garden of Italy because of its exceptional biodiversity. On 19th May, an event called ‘From Harvesting to Cooking’ sees participants take a guided walk in search of edible herbs before spending the afternoon at a cooking workshop, learning how best to enhance the flavours of the herbs in cookery.
There is also a two-day programme running over the weekend of 8–9 June. On the first day, guests will meet up with a botanist from the Civic Museum of Rovereto and the following day, they will collect wild herbs and take them to a cosmetic laboratory where they’ll learn how to transform them into simple beauty products.
Visit Trentino’s castles by train
2019 is the year of slow tourism in Italy, where the spotlight is on experiencing lesser-known areas and exploring them in innovative ways. This is the philosophy that inspired the Trenino dei Castelli – the Castle Train. From April 20, the Castle Train offers day-long excursions through the apple orchards and flowering meadows of the Non and Sole valleys, past historical sites and four of the most significant castles in Trentino – San Michele, Caldes, Valèr and Castel Thun.
Travellers will gather at Trento station in the morning, where they will enjoy a healthy breakfast of traditional local produce. They enjoy a scenic train ride of around one-and-three-quarter hours, before transferring to a coach at Mezzana Station for the castle visits. Over the course of the day, the Cantina Rotari Mezzacorona estates will offer wine and sparkling wine tastings and an infusion of medicinal herbs will be served as the sun sets in the grounds of an antique castle.
This Castle Train excursion runs every Saturday from April 20 – September 14 2019 (except 27 April and 15 June). Family specials will operate on four Sundays during this same period, when discounted tickets are available and special events such as workshops and treasure hunts will take place at the castles. For further information, including dates and ticket prices, see here.
Discover the outdoor artworks at Arte Sella
Arte Sella in Borgo Valsugana is recognised by the Grandi Giardini Italiani, the Association of Great Italian Gardens, as one of seven great ‘Art Parks’ in Italy. Since 1986, over 300 artists from around the world have created an open-air exhibition here, using only natural elements. Branches, leaves, stones, grass and tree trunks have been expertly worked into natural sculptures and works of art. You can follow two different paths into the forest to view the exhibits, which change over time as the materials weather and as the paths transform with different colours and fragrances through the seasons.
For more information, see here.