10 spots you cannot miss once in the Oak City
Second town after Trento in size, Rovereto is a lively center able to deliver memories, stories and tales. Situated in a great strategic location on the bottom of the Vallagarina valley, it became a true protagonist in the history of its shire. Do you know the origins of its name, and do you know which are the 10 things to see you cannot miss? What to See in Rovereto?
The obscure origins of its name: Roboretum?
The origins of the name of the city from the roman word “Roboretum”, indicating a forest of oaks, is rather obscure and possibly more sentimental than real. The first written records are indeed coming from the 12th-13th century, when a fortress was built as a defence of the roads connecting Germany to Italy: the first originary core of the Rovereto Castle, and around it the first medieval village was born.
To our days, that part of the city impresses the visistors with the curiosities and amenities linked to the Medieval Age. The real splendor for the city though, with its cosmopolitan spirit that can be still admired in the narrow streets of the town center, comes with the following great dominations.
The Venetian Republic during the 15th century, and the following Tyrolean domination until the WWI, contribute to the creation of a real golden age for the city thanks to the silk industry and then with the atmosphere typical of the great empires. In the year 1510 Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg elevated officially Rovereto to the onorific title of city. From then on, famous characters like Dante, Mozart, Goethe and Napoleon will stay in the city, admiring and describing to the world how precious and refined it was.
The 18th century side of the city is characterised by an urbanistic revolution, that can be well observed today strolling in the majestic Corso Angelo Bettini and looking at the marvellous noblehood residences. The following century, always under the Hapsburgs rule, sees periods of flourishing development and decades of crisis. The worst moment for the city come though with the WWI, when the city becomes unwantedly one of the battlefield between Austrian Empire and Italy.
What to see in Rovereto? 10 highlights you cannot miss in Rovereto and surroundings
1. Mart – Trento and Rovereto Modern Art Museum
Precious gem of the modern and contemporary art, MART represents a genial example of european inspired museum. Inaugurated on the 15 december 2002, based on the project of the swiss archistar Mario Botta, is inspired to the classic models. The visitor will be welcomed by a wonderful dome of glass and steel, placed just before the museum’s entrance, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. A wideranging permanent collection is enriched by temporary exhibitions of great masters artwork, i.e. Antonello da Messina, Caravaggio, Segantini.
2. A visit to the castle: Italian War Historical Museum
The museum, remarkable witness of the WWI, is hosted in the Rovereto’s Castle that was built by the Castelbarco family in the 14th century as a defense of the Adige valley. It’s an interesting alpine fortress in the heart of the towncenter, where since 1921 a group of citizens wanted to honour the WWI and preserve its memory by gathering relics and remains.
3. Be moved by the 100 tolls of memory: Fallen Bell “Maria Dolens”
It’s the world’s biggest bell ringing unhindered. It was imagined by father Antonio Rossaro, a priest born and raised in the city of Rovereto, and its purpose was to honour the fallen soldiers of all wars, and to beseech peace and brotherhood between communities. It was created by melting together the cannons of all countries taking part into WWI. Every evening its 100 tolls resound in the world and to the people, to remember that war is always wrong. In summer, the 100 evening tolls gift everybody with a memorable keepsake to take home.
4. A dip into Jurassic Park: Dinosaurs Footprints
How was southern Trentino region in the Jurassic Age? A beautiful tropical sea was next to beaches and sandy lands. Dinosaurs of different sizes ran free then. In Rovereto is possible to go back in time, looking for the hundreds of footprints that were preserved until nowadays. It’s a jump of millions of years back in time until the Jurassic Age. Are you curious to come with us into this journey on the time machine? Fasten your belt then, ’cause you’ll be projected 200 millions of years back in time!
5. A venetian moment on Forbato bridge: the impressive Casa dei Turchi
It’s about one of the most pictoresque corners of the venetian age. The ancient bridge, leading to the medieval city, gifts you with a marvellous view. Surrounded by the sound of the little waterfalls of the underlying creek, the ancient wooden verandas will echo arabic ancient memories. You’ll be cast deep into the city splendor, when the richest families where embellishing the urban texture with beautiful private architecture samples. Leaning against the Forbato bridge, the most ancient in the city, will pass by images of the silk industry and precious trades between West and East in the historical quarter of Santa Maria. This palace well deserves the title of unmissable architectural curiosity in the city.
6. Gem of alpine spirituality nestled in the rocks: Hermitage of San Colombano
Nestled in the cliffs over the artificial lake of San Colombano, it can be reached through a thousand years old stairway made of 102 steps, carved in the stone and weathered out by the atmosperic events and the pilgrim’s feet all over the centuries. Built on a rocky wall 120 meters up, it couldn’t be left out of our list of things to see in Rovereto. It’s sheltered by a natural roof of rocks and is dedicated to the Irish saint that, according to the tales, came here as a young knight and killed the dragon that was ravaging the valley.
7. Take a walk among the sounds of nature:lake Cei
Lake Cei is about 20 mintues from Rovereto. Placed 900 meters above sea level in a dense beech forest, it appears all of a sudden like a charming place. It was born in the II century AD after a landslide and it’s a place of remarkable naturalist interest. In its waters the three pale peaks of Bondone mountain reflect their image. It’s a peaceful mountain landscape that becomes in autumn an occasion that cannot be missed for a walk in a scenario of stunning colors. The nuances of the trees reflecting in the waters of the lake leave beautiful memories and marvellous shots.
8. A feast of Futurism: Art House “Fortunato Depero”
House Depero, aslo known as Casa D’Arte Futurista Depero is located in the historical towncenter in Rovereto, fesw steps away from the Castle, and is the only Futurist Museum of Italy. Started in 1957 and inaugurated officially in 1960 in an elegant mediaval palace, it has been curated in every detail by the artist Fortunato Depero himself. Inside you will find paintings, drafts, carpets, advert sketches, furnishings, puppets and many other items. A real tidbit in House Depero are the fabric tapestries with their loud colors. A visit to the House will revive the charms of the early years of the 20th century, of those decades where great contrasts and contraditions gave room to eclectic personalities like Depero and his virtuosity.
9. A walk in Via della Terra and a break in Piazza delle Oche in the most ancient roasting factory of Italy: Bontadi Caffè
Via della Terra, with its typical atmosphere given by the narrow and sinuous alleys, is the beating heart of Rovereto old town, where the walls were embracing a small group of little houses near the castle. Since those years this street links the two main squares of the town centre, connecting Palazzo Pretorio with the church of San Marco. Going the other way you will descend to Piazza delle Oche with the typical Neptune’s fountain. Right there, since always, there’s a an iconic name of the italian coffe industry: Caffè Bontadi, the most ancient roasting factory of Italy. Thanks to a visit in their little museum and a taste of their products, you will take a little journey in the history and culture of coffee.
10. Taste the most refined chocolate: Cioccolateria Exquisita
In Rovereto at Exquisita you’ll find an incredible example of taste, culture, passion, starting with the hospitality and professionality of its owner Walter Tomio. This boutique of taste offers a colorful, well thought through scenography where we suggest to experience the rich variety of dark and milk chocolate, fruity flavored chocolate, with Easter flavors that will take us into a sensorial universe hidden in each one of us. The staging is a rainbow of warmful colors where Walter talks with neverending passion about the history of chocolate in every hue.
Through this post we’ve tried to give you some suggestions nad inspirations to catch some sides of Rovereto’s city soul.
What to See in Rovereto? This post is only a hint to get started with your exploration of glimpses, spots, views of Rovereto, from the Middle Age until the New Millennium. Soon we shall propose you some thematic itineraries where you will discover better the hidden beauties and those not indicated in the touristic guides.
Where to stay
We suggest you an hospitality in the heart of Trentino, by the Hostel Città di Rovereto. The rooms have different sizes, from the single one to the family one, all with their private bathroom. Before you book, write to us and you’ll get a PROMO code and a little present at you arrival in the Hostel!
Via delle Scuole, 18 – 38068 – Rovereto (TN)
Tel. +39 0464 486757