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Trento and Brescia, December 2013

A week's sightseeing in the Trentino-Alto Adige autonomous region and Brescia in Lombardy


The Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We've been over the Simplon Pass; braved the horrific truck traffic on the Milan-Venezia autostrada; and made our way up alongside the river Adige into the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige, also known as the Süd Tirol.

Whilst meandering all round old Trento, 3 December 2013, taking in sights, look what we've stumbled across. Yikes.

The amazing Castello del Buonconsiglio (Castle of Good Counsel, I suppose), or just "Trento Castle"

The castle is sort of two castles -- the 13th century Castelvecchio, or 'old castle', enlarged by Bishop George of Liechtenstein in the late 14th century, and then the Renaissance Palazzo Magno, or "grand palace", that Bishop Bernardo Clesio stuck onto it in the 16th century. It was the home of the Prince-Bishops throughout.

And up there, a bit incongruously, stuck in the middle of the Castelvecchio, is the Venetian loggia, which adds a touch of class. The tower on the left is the original keep, the core of the original fortifications, dating from the early 1200s.

Kristin debates whether to race to our entry-time to the famous Torre Aquila, or Eagle Tower, straightaway, or go have some spinach spätzli in the restaurant. We'll take a chance and do the spätzli.

Lunch was great, but now we're racing to get to the Eagle Tower before we miss our guided tour. No Foto!! The Torre Aquila, at the far end of the fortress walls, houses a masterpiece of wall-size frescoes illustrating each of the months of the year (minus one, where a chimney was installed over it), all dating from about the year 1400.

Back along the wall-walk from the Eagle Tower, we're in the hallway above the Loggia of the Lion Court.

Very nice tapestries on show

In fact, some pretty incredible ones.

The loggia of the Lion's Court in the Magno Palazzo

This goes with our collection of Judith-beheading-Holofernes paintings

The Lion's Court in the centre of the Grand Palace, the loggia at the far end

The loggia again

A look out the back door. In the far corner is the Martyrs' Pit, where the Austrian authorities practiced their hanging techniques on Italian patriots from the region. Most notably, Cesare Battisti, a local journalist, politician, and member of the Alpini Corps fighting the Austro-Hungarian army in the "White War" in the mountains.

Mr Battisti was captured, frog-tried, and hanged here in the castle grounds in 1916. A widely-publicized photograph of Austrian authorities posing with his body and having a good laugh about it inflamed public opinion predictably, and Italy annexed the region three years later. (He is not the same Cesare Battisti who evidently participated in terrorist assassinations during the "Years of Lead" but won asylum in Brazil.)

Much of the Magno Palazzo serves as a very good art museum now

Ouch. Revenge Porn. A number of abused nymphs take the ultimate revenge on the old satyr (Giovanni da san Giovanni or 'Mannozzi', 1634)

Leda and the Swan, a Tintoretto favorite

Circe transforming Odysseus' men into beasts (or back again) (ca. 1575)

The second-floor passage between the old and new castles

Kristin racing to see more sights

The central courtyard of the Old Castle

Very imposing

And with bishopy frescoes

Here in the Old Castle (in addition to a semi-incongruous exhibition of Egyptian artefacts), there is presently a brilliant exhibition on the theme of Monsters, or something.

And here's Kristin, confronting her own monster.

-- Begone, Monster.

But there will always be another Monster.

And Kristin will always put them in their place!

The Venetian loggia at the top of the courtyard of the Castelvecchio

The bishopy frescoes again

If that were on an outside wall, I'd assume it was the loo.

The Loggia Veneziana

Downtown Trento

Loggia views

More loggia views

And another

And the loggia from below

The Prince-Bishops of Trento lived here until 1803 (Napoleon hated prince-bishops). Throughout the 19th century, the castle served the Austro-Hungarian Empire as (like so many wonderful castles) a military barracks and, later, as a jail. But at least not, as so frequently was the case, as a granary or gunpowder magazine.

We're leaving now. That was great.

That's the Torre Aquila or Eagle Tower at the right end of the walls (with automobiles passing under it).

We're back to the Locanda del Bel Sorriso for dinner (a really great dining-room and a good enough dinner).

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