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Trento (traditional English: Trent; , ; local language: Trènt; ) is an Italianmarker city located in the Adige River valleymarker in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of the region and of the Autonomous Province of Trento.

In the English-speaking world, the city is most notable as the location of the Council of Trent. Trento is a major educational, scientific, financial and political centre in Trentino Alto-Adige and Northern Italy in general. The University of Trentomarker ranks highly (9th) out of Italy's top 30 colleges, and amongst the 500 best in the world, coming 407th. The city contains a picturesque Medieval and Renaissance historic centre, with ancient buildings such as Trento Cathedralmarker and the Castello del Buonconsigliomarker.

Modern-day Trento is a cosmopolitan city, with highly-developed and organized modern social services. The city often ranks extremely highly out of all 103 Italian cities for quality of life, standard of living, and business and job opportunities, coming 1st, 6th and 2nd respectively. Trento is also one of the nation's wealthiest and most prosperous, with its province being one of the richest in Italymarker, with a GDP per capita of €29,500 and a GDP (nominal) of €14.878 billion.


The township of Trento is geographically very large and encompasses the town centre 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.

Trento lies in a wide glacial valley called the Adige valleymarker just south of the Alps foothill range Dolomite Mountains, where the Fersina and Avisiomarker rivers join the Adige Rivermarker (the second longest river in Italy). The valley is surrounded by mountains, including the Vigolana (2,150 m), the Monte Bondone (2,181 m), the Paganellamarker (2,124 m), the Marzola (1,747 m) and the Monte Calisio (1,096 m). Nearby lakes include the Lago di Caldonazzomarker, Lago di Levico, Lago di Gardamarker and Lago di Toblino.


The origins of the city are disputed. Some scholars maintain it was a Rhaetian settlement: the Adige area was however influenced by neighbouring populations, including the Veneti, the Etruscansmarker, the Cimbri, and the Gauls (a Celtic people). According to other theories, therefore, the latter did instead found the city during the 4th century BC.

Trento was conquered by the Romans in the late 1st century BC, after several clashes with the Rhaetian tribes. The Romans gave their settlement the name Tridentum, because of the three hills that surround the city: the Doss Trent, 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 (died in 1251).

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Trento was ruled by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards and Franks, finally becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1027, Emperor Conrad II created the Prince-Bishops of Trento, who wielded both temporal and religious powers; but in the following centuries the sovereignty was divided between the Bishopric of Trent and the County of Tyrol (from 1363 part of the Habsburg monarchy). Around 1200, Trento became a minerary production center of some significance (silver was mined from the Monte Calisio - Khalisperg), and Prince-Bishop Federico Wanga issued the first mining code of the alpine region.

A dark episode in the history of Trento was the Trent blood libel. When a three year old Christian boy, Simonino, later known as Simon of Trent, disappeared in 1475 on the eve of Good Friday, the city's small Jewish community was accused of killing him and draining his blood for Jewish ritual purposes. Eight Jews were tortured and burned at the stake, and their families forced to convert to Christianity. The bishop of Trent, Johannes Hinderbach, had Simonino canonized and published the first book printed in Trent, "Story of a Christian Child Murdered at Trent," embellished with 12 woodcuts.

18th century map of Trento showing walled old city and original course of the Adige river.
In the 16th century Trento became notable for the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which gave rise to the Counter-Reformation. The adjective Tridentine (as in "Tridentine Mass") literally means pertaining to Trento, but can also refer to that specific event. Among the notable 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 in 1539-1567), both able European politicians and Renaissance humanists, who greatly expanded and embellished the city.

During this period, and as an expression of this Humanism, Trento was also known as the site of a Jewish printing press. In 1558 Cardinal Madruzzo granted the privilege of printing Hebrew books to Joseph Ottolengo, a German rabbi. The actual printer was Jacob Marcaria, a local physician; after his death in 1562 the activity of the press of Riva di Trento ceased. Altogether thirty-four works were published in the period 1558 to 1562, most of them bearing the coat of arms of Madruzzo. [7497]

Prince-bishops ruled Trento until the Napoleonic era, when it bounced around among various states. Under the reorganization of the Holy Roman Empire in 1802, the Bishopric was secularized and annexed to the Habsburg territories. The Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 ceded Trent to Bavariamarker, and the Treaty of Schönbrunn four years later gave it to Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy. With Napoleon's defeat in 1814, Trento was finally annexed by the Habsburg Empire, becoming part of the province of Tyrol.

In the next decades Trento experienced a modernization of administration and economy with the first railroad in the Adige valley opening in 1859. During the late 19th century, Trento and Triestemarker, cities with ethnic Italian majorities still belonging to the Austrians, became icons of the Italian irredentist movement. Benito Mussolini briefly joined the staff of a local newspaper in 1908. The nationalist cause led Italy into World War I. Damiano Chiesa 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 the territory of Trento into the new Kingdom of Italy. The two men were taken prisoners at the nearby southern front. 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.

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

In 1943, Mussolini was deposed and Italy surrendered to the Allies, who had invaded southern Italy via Sicily. German troops promptly invaded northern Italy and the provinces of Trento, Belluno and Bolzano-Bozen became part of the Operation Zone of the Alpine Foothills, annexed to Greater Germany. Many German-speakers wanted revenge upon Italians-speakers living in the area, but were mostly prevented by the occupying Nazis, who still considered Mussolini head of the Italian Social Republic and wanted to preserve good relations with the Fascists. From November, 1944 to April, 1945 Trento was bombed as part of the so-called "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 Veronamarker to the Brenner Passmarker 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 bridges over the Adigemarker river. In spite of the bombings, most of the medieval and renaissance town center was spared.

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

Society and economy

Eight centuries of Prince-Bishop rulers, relative independence from the rest of Europe, the Austrian domination and a strong sense of communal fate left a distinctive mark on the city's culture, which is dominated by a fairly progressive Social-Catholic political orientation (in fact, Trento is one of the few cities in Italy where left-leaning Catholics form the majority party). 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 universitymarker and research centers such as Fondazione Bruno Kessler, the Centre for Computational and Systems Biology and ECT*, and as logistics and transportation thoroughfare. 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.


The administrative elections of May 3, 2009 were won by a Center-Left coalition. Results are the following (only parties with more than 4% are listed):

Current mayor is Alessandro Andreatta, of the Partito Democratico, elected with 64.42% of the votes.

Piazza Duomo, the Cathedral (12th-13th century) and the fountain of the Neptune.
Piazza Duomo, Case Rella frescoes.
The Torre Civica (13th century).
Castello del Buonconsiglio.

De Gasperi's memorial monument in Trento.
Street in the old part of town
Castello Buonconsiglio

Main sights

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.
Fontana di Nettuno and Torre Civica
The main monuments of the city include:
  • Duomomarker (Cathedral of Saint Vigilius), 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 the Late Baroque Fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno) built in 1767-1768.
  • Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (1520), site of the preparatory congregations of the Third Council of Trent (April 1562 – December 1563). It was built for Bishop Bernardo Clesio by the architect Antonio Medaglia in Renaissance-Gothic style. The façade has a notable 16th century portal, while the interior has works by Giambettino Cignaroli and Moroni.
  • Castello del Buonconsigliomarker, which includes a museum and the notable Torre dell'Aquila, with a cycle of fine Gothic frescoes depicting the months, commissioned by the prince-bishop Georg von Lichtenstein.
  • Church of San Pietro (12th century) It has a neo-Gothic façade added in 1848-1850.
  • Church of Sant'Apollinare, erected in the 13th century at the feet of the Doss Trento hill.
  • Church of San Lorenzo (12th century). It has a notable Romanesque apse.
  • Torre Verde, along the former transit path of the Adigemarker river, is said to be where persons executed in the name of the Prince-Bishop were deposited in the river.
  • Palazzo delle Albere, a Renaissance villa next to the Adige river built around 1550 by the Madruzzo family, now hosting a modern art museum.
  • Palazzo Pretorio, next to the Duomo, of the 12th century, with a bell tower (Torre Civica) of the thirteenth century (it now hosts a collection of baroque paintings of religious themes). It was the main Bishops' residence until the mid-13th century.
  • Palazzo Salvadori (1515).
  • Palazzo Geremia (late 15th century). It has a Renaissance exterior and Gothic interiors.
  • Palazzo Lodron, built during the Council of Trent. The interior has a large fresco cycle.
  • Various underground remains of the streets and villas of the Roman city (in Via Prepositura and Piazza Cesare Battisti).

Trento also sports noteworthy modernist architecture, including the train station and the central post office, both by rationalist architect Angiolo Mazzoni. In particular, the train station (1934–36) is considered a landmark building of 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 built 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 Roveretomarker.

A notable aeronautical museum ( Museo dell'Aeronautica Gianni Caproni) is located in Trento - Mattarello's Airport.

The Museo tridentino di scienze naturali (Trent Museum of Nature), is a museum of natural history and science.

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

Notable natives

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. Other notable natives of Trento include:


Highway A22-E45 to Veronamarker and to Bolzanomarker, Innsbruckmarker and Munichmarker. Railway (main connection between Italy and Germany; direct train to Venicemarker). Bus or train service to the main surrounding valleys: Fassa, Fiemme, Gudicarie, Non, Primiero, Rendena, Sole, Tesino, Valsuganamarker. The public transport network within the city consists of 20 bus lines operated by Trentino Trasporti and a funicular service to Sardagnamarker. The stations of the Valsugana Railway and Ferrovia Trento-Malè within the city limits are integrated in the public transport network.


In 2007, there were 112,637 people residing in Trento, of whom 48% were male and 52% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 18.01 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 19.37 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Trento residents is 41 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Trento grew by 5.72 percent, while Italymarker as a whole grew by 3.56 percent.[7498] The current birth rate of Trento is 9.61 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.

As of 2006, 92.68% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly Albaniamarker, Romaniamarker): 4.13%, North Africa: 1.08%, and the Americas: 0.85%. The population consists of Roman Catholic and Protestant groups. Also, there is a modest indigenous German minority who are considered Italian.

Twin cities

Trento is twinned with:

Districts of Trento are twinned with:

Partner cities:


  • Povo
  • Villazzano
  • Gardolo
  • Roncafort
  • Mattarellomarker
  • Martignano
  • Cognolamarker
  • Ravina
  • Romagnano
  • Montevaccino
  • Vela, Meano
  • Sardagna
  • Sopramonte
  • Vigo Meano
  • Gazzadina
  • Candriai
  • Vaneze
  • Cadine
  • Vigolo Baselga

Notes and references

External links

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