Trento: Castello del Buonconsiglio

Is there any better way to spend a birthday than exploring an Italian castle? Not in my book!

Even as far as Italian castles go, Trento’s Castello del Buonsiglio is pretty special. Parts of it date from the 13th century, with the fancier bits, such as the loggia, added on in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was owned by the Bishopric of Trento until 1803, so there was plenty of church cash to lavish on decor.

Later, the Austrians used it as a military barracks and prison (it housed the Italian revolutionary Cesare Battisti, among others) and basically trashed the place. When Trento was returned to Italy after WWI, the Italian government restored the historically important castle and turned it into a museum.

The frescoes in the castle are particularly interesting. The Torre Aquila contains an amazing 15th century fresco of the cycle of months that goes all around the room and depicts many daily activities of the time, including a snowball fight in January! The frescoes are so full of fun details that even some of the young children on the tour were fascinated, patiently listening to a 25 minute audio guide about the pictures.

Photos of the frescoes are not permitted, but here is the January panel borrowed from Wikipedia.

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