One of the northernmost regions in the country, Trentino-Alto Adige is bordered by Austria, the Italian regions of Lombardia and Veneto, and Switzerland. Snow-capped mountains, lush rivers, pristine lakes, expansive forests, and farms will be the picturesque setting for this amazing adventure, and you will have the chance to enjoy it all in the beautiful ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio.
As in all of Italy, one of the first groups to settle in the Trentino area were the Romans. The Lombards and the Franks followed, and then in the 14th century, the areas of Trentino and Alto Adige were conceded to the Habsburgs of Austria, who ruled the territory for five centuries. Finally, after WW I Trentino and Alto Adige became part of Italy as we know it. Thus, due to its historical pedigree, there are two main languages spoken throughout the region: Italian in the Trentino section, and German in Alto Adige.
The Dolomite mountains that dominate this region, a protected UNESCO site, will provide easy access for winter activities such as skiing, dogsledding, ice skating, and more. The beautiful skiing resort of Campiglio boasts 55 lifts that connect to the major ski areas, such as the Val di Sole, the small town of Pinzolo, Dos del Sabbion, and the Dolomite-mountain area of Brenta. A highlight of this journey might be a run down the very slope where competitive skiers race during the 3Tre World Cup. Each area will have ski runs that are suited to all skill levels.
To ensure your maximum enjoyment on your daily runs, you will be accompanied by an expert ski instructor. Whether a novice or an expert skier, your instructor will select each day the best runs based on weather conditions and your own individual level of experience.
Your mornings will be devoted to skiing right up to lunch time, at which point your instructor will lead you to the best mountain lodges dotting the skiing runs, serving the best in local specialties.
The Habsburgs influence is also still evident in the local cuisine classified as Tridentina cuisine, inspired by Veneto, Lombardia, and Austria, and the Bolzanina, inspired by Germany and Slovakia.
Specialties of the area include speck, a type of cured meat similar to prosciutto but made using the shoulder rather than the leg of the pig; canederli, which are similar to gnocch; goulash made from steer meat, noodles, and root vegetables; and strudel made from apples or other fruits. Soups are also common dishes, as are sausages and dumplings which take inspiration from Austrian, Hungarian, and Slavic influence.
Whatever specialty will be served, at either mountain-top lodges or Michelin-starred restaurants which will be visited during this great adventure, one can be sure it will be a mouth-watering experience!
Exploring the local wine culture will take us to producers such as Ferrari, Pojer, Alois Lageder, and Foradori, where one may sample wines produced from varietals the region is known for: Rebo, Cabernet, Muller Thurgau, Marzemino, Moscato Giallo, Lagrain, Nosiola, and Teroldego. This area is also known for its sparkling wines, known as Talento, as well as its own version of the sweet wine Passito, which in the Valley of the Lakes is made from the indigenous grape varietal Nosiola.
If traveling from February 10-15th, 2013, one can further appreciate the Austrian Habsburg influence by participating in the various activities planned for the Habsburg Carnival. In this week-long celebration, Madonna di Campiglio is transported back to the times of the Habsburg Court, honoring the Austrian Emperor Francesco Giuseppe and his beloved wife, Elisabetta d’Austria, nicknamed “Sissi”. During the carnival, the town is imbibed with cheer and festivities, as Madonna di Campiglio adorns itself with the Austro-Hungarian flag and holds royal dinners, parades of ladies and knights in traditional 19th century garb, fireworks, and waltzes to recreate the magic of the Habsburg-era parties. After dusk, ski torchlight processions will take place through the town and on the ski slopes. It is a truly magnificent sight to see the town decorated as though it were the 1800s, set against the amazing backdrop of the Dolomite mountains glittering from the lights of the festivities.
A spectacular, snowy escape is waiting for you in Trentino-Alto Adige but if you prefer to travel during the summer, Madonna di Campiglio can offer unforgettable opportunities simply by substituting skiing for hiking.
The culture, the food, and the wines will surely be enriched by the incomparable warmth of the local people and the Italian sun!
* Banner photo credit: Italian Government Tourist Board North America
Special Features & Services:
*This tour may be combined with another tour to other Italian regions. Please contact Shop Wine and Dine for additional details
Pre- and post-tour extensions are available upon request.