Green slow tour in Trentino
Lake Tovel, St Romedio Monastery, the historical village of Mezzano and Pergine Castle
I am a “seaside kind of person”, you know. I love the beach, the sea, laying in my suitbath and feeling warm! I’ve always been persuaded that the mountain is too much relaxing, even boring for me. Well, during my last trip I changed my mind and I discovered something I didn’t know. The Trentino and Sud Tirol region is the most sustainable and ecological area in Italy: such a beautiful landscape cannot live against such a pure nature. Here is a place of zero impact Tourism, people can travel by train or electric cars, very easy to recharge.
My itinerary started in Val di Non (i.e. Non Valley). The land of apples, you may say. Indeed: fresh and dried apples, apple juice, strudel! But also apples causing issues for the intensive growing methods and stock. Not at all: here in Val di Non the apples are not stored in fridges that spoil their flavour and produce CO2, but in some caves carved in the mountains! Brilliant! The famous Tovel Lake shines in green shades, the mountains all around reflect themselves on the lake surface, the water is clear and pure. It is hard to imagine such a pristine and charming place. At Tovel Lake lives the local bear from Dolomites, recently reinstated in the area, but it is quite difficult to meet them.
San Romedio is one of the most beautiful monastery in Trentino. Romedio was a lay preacher, who retired in this lone hermitage. Today it is a magnificent church with a nordic style sloped roof, perched on a rock slope hanging on a deep canyon. People can arrive here walking along one of the best tourist paths in Europe, flanking the rock. According to the legend, Romedio’s horse was killed by a bear, so that he decided to tame and ride the bear itself… When he entered the village riding a bear, everyone called him a Saint because he was able to tame the fierce wild instinct.
Mezzano is in the list of the most beautiful Italian borghi (i.e. historical villages), known for some peculiar artworks: the so called cataste and canzei (i.e. wood piles). The need of stock and organize the wood turned into a form of art expression. Both the common citizens and the art students realize here their original ideas and projects about the wood piles, that are everywhere around, making the village some kind of open air art museum, free.
Next stop: Pergine Castle, in Valsugana. Here we met a bunch of locals that decided to get the castle, at Middle Age way… but more modern: instead of conquering the castle, they simply want to buy it! The Pergine Castle is a benchmark for the whole village since ever, and it is on sale. Many locals, worried for its future and the idea it would be closed to public, decided to act for a change. The castle has to remain open and alive, witness to history, a place where people can meet and tourists can enter. Some citizen joined and signed a group subscription, with the aim to buy the castle. They asked for help to some local banks and public institutions, so that all together they will get the castle back, everyone according to his own possibilities. Amazing example of bottom-up participation! And a better management of the touristic places, for sure.
Last but not least, if you are looking for the pure spirit of the mountains you have to spend some time at Gianna’s place. Gianna owns a B&B called Camin che fuma (i.e. smoking chimney), with just a few rooms, cosy and well furnished. Gianna is such a warm and welcoming host, that she had to prevent people to stay more than 4 days… ’cause she just can’t deal with it, emotionally! She represents a unique match of tradition – she always wears the local costume, e.g. – and innovation: she cleans with micro-organisms instead of using washing powder, she houses au pair guys of the “wwoofer” on line community, she is totally into sustainable way of life. What an example, Gianna! And what a place her B&B, I feel like Heidi.