In the northernmost reaches of Italy, close to the Austrian border, the jagged peaks of the Dolomite mountain range stretch to the sky. The dramatic landscape is a fitting backdrop to one of the world’s most important wine-producing areas: Trentino, the southern half of the famous Trentino-Alto Adige wine region.
Grapes are seemingly fated to grow here. The mountains shelter vines ideally from the elements, and channel balmy air currents through the valley. The result? Breezy vineyards protected from rot and disease.
Such conditions explain why wine producers like Cavit, the No. 1 Italian wine brand in the United States, have had such success in Trentino. Cavit Pinot Grigio and Cavit Pinot Noir have helped grow Trentino into a trip-worthy destination for wine lovers and adventurers alike.
The whole area measures just 2,400 square miles — that’s smaller than the state of Delaware —which means you can cover a lot of ground in just a few days. But where to start? Here’s how to get the most out of a trip to this gorgeous corner of the world.
What to Do
Majestic castles abound in Trentino. (Seriously, take your pick!) Castel Beseno, the largest complex in the entire region, is especially impressive. The enormous, centuries-old fortress regularly hosts historical reenactments and invites visitors to check out — and actually touch! —reproductions of period armor and helmets.
Natural splendor, too, is a big draw. Bike around the many well-maintained cycling paths surrounding Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. Hungry for something a touch more adventurous? On the lake’s northern shores, the resort town of Riva del Garda is a prime windsurfing destination. If you still have any energy left, a hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites will provide majestic, unspoiled mountain views. (It’ll also help you work up a hearty appetite.)
Where to Eat and Drink
No trip to Trentino is complete without stopping at the Cavit winery in the region’s capital, Trento. Here you’ll find the best labels in its portfolio, plus an exclusive selection of notable Italian and international wines.
Trento is also an excellent place to find world-class culinary fare. The two-Michelin-starred Locanda Margon is run by the Cantine Ferrari winery, which specializes in sparkling wines. Nestled in the ancient mountain estate Villa Margon, the restaurant demonstrates a mastery in modernist interpretations of local cuisine and ingredients. The ever-changing menu includes some signature dishes, like goat cheese-spiked risotto and classic roasted chicken.
One of three dining rooms at Scrigno del Duomo, in Trento’s historic center, features the remains of a Roman-era well, which was uncovered during the building’s construction. Expect updated Trentino fare, from velvety pastas to rich braised dishes. All pair excellently, of course, with expertly chosen vintages on the restaurant’s extensive wine list.
Outside the city, hit up one of the 10 wineries and cooperatives that Cavit works with to produce its world-famous wines. Among them is Cantina Toblino, located in the countryside near sparkling Lake Toblino. Wine tours are available in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and include a visit to the property’s vineyards and cellar, and tastings of many wines.
Farther south, Agraria Riva del Garda offers tours of its winery and on-site mill, plus plenty of events and guided tastings. In addition to wine, the operation runs a booming high-end olive oil business.
Where to Stay
On the northern banks of Lake Lido, the luxurious Lido Palace opened in 1899 as a retreat for European royalty. These days, mere mortals can bask in any of the sleek 42 rooms. Originally neoclassical in design, the building has been updated with soaring, modern glass walls that pleasantly blur indoor-outdoor barriers.
Back in Trento, the new NH Trento hotel offers views of the Adige River and surrounding parks. The reasonably priced 89 rooms are contemporary and comfortable, and just a 15-minute walk from the city center.
Hotel Villa Madruzzo is ensconced in a 16th-century former residence of a noble family, just two miles outside the city. Today the property blends classic and modern aesthetics to sumptuous effect. The excellent restaurant specializes in traditional Trentino cuisine.
However you choose to spend your time in Trentino, though, it’s hard to go wrong. Between unspoiled nature, luxe accommodations, and world-class food and drink, the Trentino region has a little something for everyone.
This article is sponsored by Cavit.
The article A Beginner’s Guide to Trentino, Northern Italy’s Wine Mecca appeared first on VinePair.