The article also covers stories of the Catholic Church’s historical post-Reformation Meeting of the Council of Trent, which met in the medieval town of Trento periodically in the 16th century. Trento is scenically located in a valley surrounded by mountains, and to this day, the city’s quiet streets feature a host of Renaissance palaces decorated with frescoes and columns.
So, three weeks later, when a Milanese friend suggests hopping in the car for a couple of days out of the city, where do I suggest?
My Milanese friend, Agostino knows the area well. We make stops for sightseeing, and for lunch, gelato and coffee at small colourful lakeside towns with steep and winding narrow streets of old houses unchanged from medieval times, and lakeside cafés.
Waiting for a table for dinner at the highly recommended Trattoria Orso Grigio, we work up an appetite walking in the little streets and following crowds to see what’s going on at a summer music festival honouring the patron saint, St Virgilio. Salads of fresh meat and vegetables just appear on the table. Stewed tendons from a calf served with olive oil and fresh herbs is just one of the delicious antipasti. (Not surprisingly, it doesn’t photograph as well as it tastes).
We understand why we had to wait for a table after tasting the homemade pasta and salmon trout. Learning that the fish was caught in mountain streams still being fed by melting snows from the Alps probably heightens the enjoyment. Homemade frozen Fragoncello strawberry liquer, a gesture from the owner’s daughter, makes for a tasty alternative to Italy’s better known Limoncello – and a perfect end to a very long, satisfying day.
Market Day in Piazza Duomo with its ornate fountain of Neptune, and elegant colourful buildings enhanced by 15th – 16th century porticos, is a great opportunity for photos, even on my iPhone. In the 12th century Romanesque/Gothic Cathedral of St Virgilio we see nuns praying aloud, sweeping and mopping in the Chapel of the Crucifix. The decrees of the great Catholic Council of Trento (1545-1563) dealing with matters rising from the Protestant Reformation were promulgated from the foot of this Crucifix.
I particularly enjoy the informative exhibition of sacred images dedicated to the relationship between the Council of Trent and the visual arts, ‘Art and Persuasion’, being exhibited in the Diocesan Museum of Trent; and in the basement of this museum I also see remains of the original huge granite gates that once guarded the 1st century BC Roman city of Tridentum.
All of the above to be tightened up
Without doubt the Castello del Buonconsiglio (castle), home of the Prince Archbishops is worth a visit for its grandness and style.
And Milan – to come