The capital of Trentino is quietly confident and easy to like. Bicycles glide along spotless streets fanning out from the atmospheric, intimate Piazza del Duomo; students clink spritzes by Renaissance fountains; and a dozen historical eras intermingle seamlessly among stone castles, shady porticoes, and the city's signature medieval frescoes. While there's no doubt you're in Italy, Trento does have its share of Austrian influence: apple strudel is ubiquitous and beer halls are not uncommon. Set in a wide glacial valley guarded by the crenelated peaks of the Brenta Dolomites and amid a patchwork of vineyards and orchards transected by 400km of paved bike paths, Trento is a perfect jumping-off point for hiking, cycling, skiing, or wine tasting. Those with an interest in history will also find Trento fascinating: the Council of Trent convened here in the 16th century, during the tumultuous years of the Counter-Reformation, dishing out far-reaching condemnations to uppity Protestants.
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