The territory of Brentonico extends over a plateau between 500 and 2070 meters above sea level, between Lake Garda and Vallagarina: a small paradise where the breathtaking panorama offers glimpses of the lake, the Dolomites and the Po Valley. It is 16 km from Rovereto and 13 km from Torbole sul Garda.
We are right in the heart of the Monte Baldo Park, also known as the “Botanical Garden of Europe” for its wealth of rare plants and flowers.
Brentonico is the name of the capital and its municipality includes further hamlets and mountain localities: Castione (520 m), Cazzano (559 m), Crosano (568 m), Cornè (470 m), Prada (773 m), Saccone (742 ), Sorne (527 m), San Giacomo (1194 m), San Valentino (1314 m) and Polsa (1244 m).
Culture and what to see in Brentonico.
Eccheli Baisi Palace.
This stately building dating back to the 16th-17th century is located in the square that flanks the archpriest’s church of Brentonico. It is characterized by friezes with a strong chromatic accent and by a refined portal with a fresco. It was an expression of the social “status” of a 16th century merchant family about to access the noble title.
The dominant color is green obtained from the old Pianéti mines where Baldo’s Celadonite was extracted, a precious coloring pigment used since ancient times.
The building has undergone a recent restoration work, also on the inside, and is currently owned by the Municipal Administration. It is home to numerous temporary exhibitions, the Botanical Garden with the Garden of Simples and the Fossil Museum. For more info click here.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
The parish church of Santi Pietro e Paolo, in Vigo, preserves a precious Romanesque environment under the presbytery. The crypt of S. Giovanni (dating back to the 10th century and which you enter through a trapdoor), in fact, would be the rest of the primitive church over which the current building was built in 1584-93.
The church has six altars, all in marble from local quarries and from the Castionese workshop.
Noteworthy is the ancient organ by Giovanni Bertè di Brentonico (17th century) who in 1624 made the organ of Riva del Garda. The beautiful wooden chest is adorned with friezes and sculptures, the choir loft with five eighteenth-century paintings on wood.
Church of San Rocco.
In Lera, at the beginning of the center of Brentonico, the Baroque church of San Rocco is another testimony of the Brentonian artistic fervor that was grafted onto the marble quarries industry. It was rebuilt by vow contracted during the plague of 1630.
The bell tower was designed by Teodoro Benedetti di Castione (1768), while the three eighteenth-century altars, in local marble, are the work of the Castione workshop and the altarpiece of Our Lady of Sorrows is the work of the painter, also local, Biagio Falcieri (1628-1703), pupil of Pietro Liberi.
Zeni mill in Sorne.
Of the nearly one thousand mills that could be counted in Trentino around the 19th century, the Zeni Mill, built in 1806, is one of the few still in operation, having been used until recently for breaking up corn for feed intended for poultry farming . It is equipped with a large cassette wheel and a smaller iron wheel, large milling structures with French emery wheels, and large devices for sifting the flour. Always kept in operation, it is now used for educational and demonstration purposes. For info and visits click here.
Curiosities about Brentonico.
The ancient mines of Celadonite.
Starting from the sixteenth century in the mountain mines of Trett and Pianeti di Val Aviana on Monte Baldo, large quantities of celadonite were extracted, which were traded in Italy, Europe and America.
Due to its chromatic beauty, celadonite or «Green earth of Monte Baldo» became the canon of this pigment widely used in painting especially in frescoes, to the point that even today it is cited in catalogs as «Green of Verona» or «Green of Brentonico».
Among the many great artists who also made use of it, that of Caravaggio is particularly documented.
The mines made the economic fortune of the Eccheli lineages until the eighteenth century and then of the Baisi until the early twentieth century; here is revealed why the beautiful mansion of Brentonico, owned by these families, is called with these two surnames.
What to do in Brentonico in the 4 seasons.
This is the season in which the Brentonico plateau is colored with spectacular blooms, some of which are autochthonous and rare species. To enjoy them to the fullest, all that remains is to immerse yourself in nature, walking along the lively paths that also offer super panoramic views. We recommend the following excursions:
The Path of Peace (medium/easy ring itinerary – 11 km round-trip – 650 m in altitude):
It starts from the Polsa campsite and continues through the pastures of Malga Susine up to Bocca d’Ardole, reaching Monte Vignola with its Austrian fortifications. Along the way you will enjoy an amazing view of the Val d’Adige and the castle of Avio.
With a short detour you can visit the military tunnels dug into the rocky walls of the Corno della Paura until you reach the artillery positions on the top.
In spring, the first snowdrops, dentate and even wild garlic appear on this path, while arnica, gentians and nigritella reign supreme in the pastures . On the grassy cliffs dominated by the Festuca alpestris, one encounters uncommon species such as the Ligusticum lucidum.
Val del Parol (medium/easy ring itinerary – 11 km round-trip – 550 m difference in altitude):
The route starts from the Rifugio Graziani and continues until it reaches Malga Campo. From the malga, climb up to Bocca Paltrane and then descend on the opposite side to discover the fascinating Val del Parol. The return is on a semi-level with splendid views over the entire Brentonico plateau.
In spring, on this path you will find red lilies, small gentians and blue orchids, and various mountain pine bushes, rhododendron and blueberry. On the vertical cliffs, you can meet the silver geranium, one of the rarest species of this mountain.
In Brentonico, summer is synonymous with outdoor activities: trekking, biking, excursions. In addition to the two itineraries recommended in spring, which are obviously also beautiful in summer, we recommend the incredible horseback rides organized by the Circolo Ippico Valpolicella (Via A. Monga, 14 – San Pietro in Cariano – VR) Tel 347 035 65 60 which during the summer (until early September) moves the horses to Prada, to enjoy the coolness of the mountain and gaze out over the blue of Lake Garda.
This season there is also a shuttle bus which connects the town of Brentonico with the mountain resorts Polsa, San Giacomo and San Valentino, through panoramic roads, with stops at the starting point of the main excursions on Monte Baldo.
During the summer, the southern summit of Monte Baldo can also be easily reached thanks to the Prada – Costabella lifts, completely renovated and put into operation in August 2022: the Prada two-seater basket lift (1,000 m asl) – Ortigaretta (1,550 m asl) and the two-seater chairlift Ortigaretta – Costabella (1,850 m asl). For more info click here.
In mid-August, the Baldo Bio & Wellness festival is not to be missed. An event dedicated to the pursuit of well-being and zero km organic products from the Brentonico plateau. Exhibition market, laboratories, workshops, sports and treatments by associations and holistic operators. For more info click here.
In this season, the Brentonico plateau is colored by the autumn foliage, giving the view red and golden hues that paint the landscape.
It is also the time to discover the flavors of the area, including the famous castione chestnuts to which, every October, they dedicate an entire weekend of celebrations. For more info click here.
Another beautiful autumn festival to get to know the local specialties is Sapori d’Autunno in Brentonico: you will find a mountain market, tastings with producers, workshops for children, walks among the chestnut groves and many other activities. For more info click here.
In winter, the landscape turns white and gives the green light to seasonal sports.
In Polsa and San Valentino, there are wide, sunny slopes for skiing in safety and tranquillity, avoiding the chaos, traffic and traffic jams of the farthest destinations. Also ideal for beginners who want to learn and for families with children. For all the information and the school camps we suggest you visit the official website Brentonico Ski.
Brentonico is also excellent for snowshoeing and walking on fresh snow. Here we suggest some signposted routes on Monte Baldo. You can carry them out independently, strictly after checking the weather report.
Snowshoes can be rented at the shops in Polsa and San Valentino: Polsa Snowboard Center and San Valentino Go&Go Rentals.
In San Valentino there is also a beautiful skating rink on natural ice. Admission fee, equipment can be rented at the Go&Go shop.
Both in Polsa and in San Valentino, near the school camps, there are 150 m long slopes reserved for bobsled and sled lovers, served by treadmills, to give free rein to fun in the snow. The slopes are mostly suitable for children. At the rentals it will be possible to equip yourself with bobsleds.
In Polsa there is a beautiful Baby Park: a comfortable family area with a playground in the snow complete with swings, rubber animals, seats for children and parents. The Polsa First Steps educational learning slope is dedicated to children aged 3 and over, where they can learn to ski with the instructors of the Monte Baldo Italian Ski School.
From Christmas to Epiphany here The Christmas of the Tree is unmissable. In Brentonico you can admire the local sculptors as they create sumptuous wooden works, and cheer on the fun Lumberjack Olympics: a series of woodcutter competitions and games. The little ones can listen to the enchanted stories also set in the magical woods of Baldo. For info click here.
An entire year, season after season, in the company of this beautiful area.
Have fun, dear Outdoors!
Silvia Turazza – Garda Outdoors Editorial Board