As many of you know, I am a big fan of tropical destinations with beautiful beaches and warm weather. However, this winter, I have decided to explore more of the cold snowy destinations, and a place that was high on my ‘To visit’ list was the Trentino province in Italy! Visit Trentino was kind enough to organize an unforgettable trip for us!
Trentino, known as the sunny side of the Alps, is a beautiful province full of incredible mountains, peaks, and lakes. It is a province divided into 15 areas, and every single one of them has its hidden gems! What I loved about the province the most is the fact that the local people there place great importance on sustainability and nature. The hospitality in the region is also well known and the food is simply incredible. If you love Italian food as much as I do, you will really appreciate the restaurants in Trentino!
Trentino is really an all year round destination, as there is always something to do and discover in this province. In the winter, it is the perfect place for skiing, snowboarding and snow walking excursions. While in the spring, summer, and autumn, you can really enjoy the mountain paths, explore the beautiful lakes, hike and much more! In Trentino, you will also find the biggest lake in Italy – Lake Garda. It is a true Mediterranean island at the foot of the Dolomites, where you will find lemon and olive trees, and even palm trees! The Dolomites, on the other hand, are some of the most eye-catching peaks in Europe. They eroded over the last 200 million years into a wonderful array of needles, towers and pinnacles. In 2009, the Dolomites became part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List due to their unique geology. What is unique about them is the fact that they came to life around 250 million years ago as a giant coral reef beneath the ancient Tethys Ocean.
During our visit, we slept in Moena, which is the biggest village in Val di Fassa (one of the 15 areas within the Trentino region). Val di Fassa is a perfect destination for a winter trip, as it is located at the heart of the Dolomites. Thanks to its 200km of slopes for Alpine skiing, it is one of the capitals of international skiing. It is also part of the Dolomiti Superski carousel, which is the largest in the world and one of the most advanced, with the latest ski lifts. Apart from skiing and snowboarding, Val di Fassa is also well known for its wellness facilities, which guarantee a regeneration for every sense.
The hotel where we stayed was Leading Relax Hotel Maria and we loved how cosy and comfortable it was. The hotel is situated right in the centre of Moena, and we had breakfast and dinner booked for our stay, which was very comfortable after a day spent outside and the food there was great. We also had a sauna in our suite that we enjoyed very much! The hotel also has a spa centre, where you can relax after a day spent in nature.
As I said, there are many activities to do in the region apart from skiing and we wanted to explore as many of them as possible. On the second day of our visit, for instance, we went on a horse riding tour in the mountains, which was incredible. We spent about two and a half hours horse riding near Campitello di Fassa. The excursion was with Charlotte Horse Riding, and what was truly impressive is that Charlotte has rescued all the horses (currently around 20 at the farm) which had health problems or were victims of violence, to give them a life full of love and the right cares. Her love for the horses is easily noticeable and she is with you throughout the whole tour to ensure that you get the best and safest experience out of the excursion. It was an incredible experience to spend the morning in the mountain connecting with these beautiful creatures, so if you visit the region, I would highly recommend you to try to book a tour with Charlotte. Even if you have never been on a horse before, there is nothing to worry about, it is quite safe and you get training before the tour in order for it to go smoothly.
After the horse ride, we went to explore another place in Val di Fassa – Canazei, which is one of the most famous villages in the region, due to its various bars and restaurants. It is a place full of ambient! We had lunch at El Pael, a restaurant owned by Roberto Anesi, who was named the best Italian sommelier in 2017. Apart from trying some amazing Italian food, this restaurant is perfect for wine lovers, as you can try a large variety of wines from all over the world. After lunch, we had a wine tasting experience with Roberto, who explained in details about the different wines from the region. An interesting fact is that the Chardonnay in Italy started growing first in this region, as an Italian person from Trentino brought it from France. The same person also brought the sparkling wine technique, and in Trentino was produced the first sparkling wine in Italy. Today, a very famous sparkling wine from the region is Trentodoc, which has an incredibly fruity and fresh taste! In Trentino, you can also find amazing red and white wines, and one of the best wines we tried were produced in a complete bio way.
Another beautiful area to visit in Val di Fassa is Sella Pass where you can see the surrounding mountains from the top and really appreciate their beauty. The best time to visit I would say is around sunset, as the view is truly breathe taking. Lago di Fedaia is another place to visit, where you will see three mountains coming together at the background of the lake.
My favourite area in Val di Fassa was San Pellegrino Pass, which is about 10-15 minutes with car from Moena. We went there for skiing, and I loved the slopes in the area, as they are a combination of easy and hard ones. If you go with a few friends for instance, and each of you is at a different level of skiing, you will find all the slopes you need in one place. Also, there are various lifts, so you never wait for more than 2 minutes to get on it. Currently, it is the high season for skiing and I was truly impressed that there are no ques at the lifts, due to the various lifts and slopes available. There is also a cable car that goes all the way to the top of the mountain, and the view from there is fascinating! We had lunch at the restaurant that is on the top called In Alto, and the view you get over lunch is just breathtaking! The restaurant was open just a few months ago and is the only restaurant at this height at San Pellegrino Pass (so you have to book in advance), but what surprised me was the fact that the prices were very reasonable for the place (for instance a pasta plate was around 14 euros).
Apart from skiing, San Pellegrino Pass is also excellent for walking excursions. For instance, one of the days we went on a snowshoe excursion, which we absolutely loved. We walked for about an hour in nature, we went to see a frozen lake and explore the valley. After the excursion, we went to one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen. To get there, we had to ride a snowmobile and what I loved about the valley, apart from the incredible landscape was the fact that there were only a few wooden cabins. It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever seen. The restaurant where we had lunch is the only building occupied throughout the entire year in the valley, and it had one of the best Italian food I have ever tried. They also have a wine cellar, with an impressive wine collection from Italy and France. The name of the restaurant is Rifugio Fuciade and I would highly recommend you to visit it if you are in the area!
If you are a fan of spa centres and spring water, a place you cannot miss visiting while in Val di Fassa is QC Terme Dolomiti. It is an incredible spa centre, with various pools and facilities spread throughout three floors. They have many outdoor facilities too, like hot water pool, hot tubs and outdoor saunas. We spent there 4 hours, from 4 pm until 8 pm, and I would certainly recommend you to go there from 4 pm, so you can also enjoy the sunset there. I am a big fan of spa centres, and this one was certainly one of the best I have visited, so if you enjoy these type of places, make sure to book your visit in advance, to secure an entry on the day that suits you best, as they are often sold out in advance.
As I said earlier, Val di Fassa is full of amazing restaurants. However, if I have to pick a favourite it would be Malga Panna! Malga Panna is a Michelin star restaurant and is certainly one of the best restaurants in the area! It is situated on the top of the hill in Moena and it has one of the best views in the village. What is particularly interesting is that the chef got awarded his Michelin star when he was only 19 years old. The quality and sophistication of the cuisine, the professionalism f the staff and the incredible views over the Dolomites and Moena, make Malga Panna the perfect spot for an incredible gourmet experience! What you should certainly try if you visit is the Fried egg in a crust of corn with spinach, taleggio cheese and Trentino truffle! It is one of the signature dishes and it is truly unique!
The final place that we visited during our stay was Trento – the capital city of the province of Trentino. Trento is inhabited by nearly 120k people and is home to one of the most prestigious universities in Italy – University of Trento, MUSE – the world-famous museum of natural science and Castello del Buonconsiglio. The Romans built Trento and the structure of the city remains according to their rules! It is a city full of culture and history, where you can find incredible architecture. What is very typical for the city are the fresco buildings, which are very rare in these parts of Europe. Trento is surrounded by beautiful mountains, so the view from each corner is incredible! I loved visiting the city and I would highly recommend you to spend at least a couple of hours exploring it. It is also great for shopping and is full of amazing restaurants. We had lunch at Scrigno del Duomo, which is situated inside a very old house (in the cellar you can see remains from the Roman walls of the city). The house is decorated with frescos and is in the main square of the city, so it is hard not to see it when you arrive in the centre of Trento. The food there was exceptional, so I highly recommend the place, if you visit Trento.