Home Destination Guides Castles in Italy: Trentino Edition

Castles in Italy: Trentino Edition

by Lisa Stentvedt
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Who doesn’t love an adventure that involves wine and castles? I know it’s not just me. I absolutely love exploring noble houses and castles when I am travelling (Wales is one of my favourite countries for castles, but Italy makes it high on the list). So, let’s talk about all the beautiful castles in Italy! Whether they are ruins, fortifications, medieval gems that are still lived in, or castles with a vineyard (my personal favourite), you’ll find them in Italy. More specifically, you’ll find them in the region of Trentino, in northern Italy.

During our Italian adventure through beautiful Trentino (think the Alps, with an Italian touch), we visited several castles. Those that followed along with my Instagram stories (still available as a highlight on my profile), will know how excited I was about each one. Naturally, I want to share the Italian castles we got to explore. Hopefully, it will inspire you to visit Trentino on your own (seriously, do it if you love castles and wine!).

Want more Italy posts? Here are a few:

Castles in Italy, Trentino
Me in one of my favourite castles in Italy; Castel Valer

My favourite castles in Italy

To set the scene, Trentino is located quite far north in Italy. So far north that German is just as common as Italian there, and the beautiful Dolomites (a part of the Italian Alps) create the backdrop for everything. During our trip, we were based out of two different towns: Borgo Valsugana (in the Valsugana valley) and Cagnò (in Val di Non). Both hotels had incredible views, one over a lake and one over the rooftops of Borgo Valsugana.

Anyway, this post is to tell you about the beautiful castles we visited in Trentino, so let’s dive in!

Side note: many places in Trentino have limited information in English (it’s still such a hidden gem for English-speaking travellers), so I strongly recommend picking up my friend Michele’s book “Italian in 8 Hours” before you go!

Want to learn more about Italy? Don’t miss these 28 fun facts!

Castel Pergine

This castle blew my mind from the first second. The short walk up from the parking lot let us take it in the beauty of it in steps, and when we finally got to the gates, I was so excited for a tour. Castel Pergine is not just a 13th-century castle, but also a hotel (!) and a restaurant. We got to enjoy some Aperol Spritz in the castle gardens, followed by a 4-course dinner in the restaurant. The castle was prepared and ready for Prince Maximillian I to stay there, but he died before he was able to move in. Some rooms have the original furniture still, and it is a fun place to explore!

Additionally, the view of the valley from the castle is just incredible.

If you are visiting the Trentino region, why not book a stay at Castle Pergine? I’m sure not many people can say that they have stayed in a castle in Italy, at the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful valley below. The best part? It’s super affordable, and less than

castel pergine, trentino, italy

Castel Valer

This one might just be my favourite castle in Italy, and I’m not the only one. The president of the Medieval Castles in Europe Society (or something similar, don’t quote me on that name) has stated that Castel Valer is the best medieval castle in Europe. And that’s with good reason, because this castle was so well-kept, with lots of original furniture and features. The best part, the Count Spaur zu Flavon still lives there (the Spaur family has held the castle since the 1300s).

What made our visit extra incredible, was that the Count himself was casually sitting on one of the massive dining tables in the castle, and ended up asking if we wanted him to give us a tour himself!

Uhm, hell yes!

This was seriously one of the coolest experiences I have ever had when visiting a castle (and I’ve seen quite a few in my lifetime). The Count showed us his childhood bedroom, and the vintage toy collection they had there. He showed us photos of his ancestors and told us of their stories, and he showed us the piano that Mozart played (casually). Apparently, his great grandfather (I believe it was) had housed Mozart for a while when he was struggling financially, and in return, Mozart wrote him a sonnet!

Not only was Castel Valer a perfectly kept castle, in my opinion, but the guided tour was incredibly fun and unique. By the end of it, the Count was showing me photos of his (single) son, and I may just be crazy enough to look him up so I can move in.

Find some more info about Castel Valer here!

Dining room in Castel Valer, italy
The beautiful dining room (where we casually found the Count)

Castel Ivano

You know I love wine, right? Well, can you imagine my excitement when I learned that this place also has a vineyard?

Seriously. This castle dates back to 590 (no joke), and is absolutely stunning in its own right. Then, add a wine tasting and it gets even better. The castle itself is extremely well-kept, and a tour will take you through some of the historic rooms (you can even visit the castle prison). Parts of the castle is closed off to visitors, as the owners still live there!

Inside the walls of the castle, you’ll find the Tierre del Lagorai winery. Their sparkling wines (Trentodoc, of course), is named after the male line of owners of the castle; Karl and Franz. Head this way to learn more about having a tasting in the castle.

Castel Ivano, Trentino

Castel Thun

The final castle on the list is another stunner. Castel Thun dates back to the mid 1300s, and is quite impressive due to its castle and surrounding fortification. To me, it seemed almost like they build the castle, then decided to add walls around it, then a moat, then another set of walls. This makes it such an interesting mix of a noble house and military fortress.

You can walk around the castle at your own pace, and there is information in English throughout. Alternatively, you can get an audio guide. It is believed that Napoleon himself stayed there once, and you can visit the room where he stayed. The courtyard is particularly beautiful, and it really gives an idea of what life was like in the castle. Don’t miss the stunning Bishop’s Room on the top floor, with its majestic bed and beautiful carved door from 1574.

Learn more about visiting Castel Thun here.

Castle Thun, Italy

There you have some of my favourite castles in (Northern) Italy. Visiting them was an absolute dream, and I hope you get a chance to as well. Don’t forget to pick up a book to learn a few key Italian phrases before you go (I recommend this one!), and have a great time!

Want more Italy guides? Here you go:

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