On the Trentino side of Lake Garda, immersed in the green and sloping hills, lies Canale di Tenno: an ancient medieval village which remains almost completely intact to this very day.
Since the end of the Second World War, its stone houses with terraces overlooking quiet streets, vaulted archways, and the colourful geraniums adorning windows and balconies have attracted many artists to the town, inspiring them with its scenery as well as with the surrounding countryside, which offers a splendid view of Lake Garda. These artists include the Turin-born Giacomo Vittone, who chose Canale as the subject for much of his work. Today, the Casa degli Artisti — a dwelling and meeting place for the artists who visit the village — is named after him.
Nowadays, the town is on the list of Italy’s most Beautiful Villages, thanks in part to the many events which celebrate its beauty, art and typical food and wine products. During winter, visitors will be enchanted by local Christmas markets, while summer sees the streets of the village come to life with the historical re-enactments of the “Rustico Medioevo” festival. There’s always a good reason to visit Canale di Tenno!
Things to see
After taking a walk through the alleyways of the village, we recommend calling into the Casa degli Artisti where, in addition to its art collection, many cultural events are held. Close by is the Museo degli Attrezzi Agricoli, located in the “Aldo Gorfer” Centre, which takes its name from a journalist and writer from Trentino. The museum houses agricultural equipment and is the best place to learn about the hard work that takes place in the fields: from hay-making to harvesting. Then, just a short distance outside the village, you can find the “Vicinia delle Ville del Monte” statue, a monument celebrating the ancient form of autonomous administration in Canale di Tenno and the surrounding villages.
Finally, about half an hour’s walk outside the town lies the stunning sapphire of Lake Tenno: a smooth expanse of turquoise water with a distinctive little island in the centre.
Things to do
There are two main events which take place in Canale di Tenno. In winter, the lanes of the town bristle and twinkle with the lights of the Christmas market stalls, bringing a fairytale atmosphere to this medieval setting.*
In summer, on the other hand, the main event takes place in August, with the costumed re-enactments of the “Rustico Medioevo” festival. Banners, torches, actors in costume and lots of delicious dishes recreate times past, when the town’s streets bustled with brave knights and fine ladies.
Moreover, during the warm months, Canale di Tenno serves as the ideal starting point for many walks in nature, such as the route that leads to the Rifugio Monte Calino “San Pietro”, a mountain lodge with a spectacular view of Lake Garda.
*NOTE: the 2020 Christmas markets have been cancelled as a precaution
Things to taste
Canale di Tenno is in the area known for carne salada, one of the most famous dishes in traditional Trentino cuisine. It consists of high-quality beef, sliced very finely, served raw or lightly seared and dressed with a drizzle of olive oil — all the better if the oil is from the Garda region. This is a highly flavourful and well-seasoned dish, thanks to the special technique used to cure the meat, which involves keeping it for some time in a mixture of salt and spices. Ideally, the dish is paired with a side of fasoi (beans).