Last Updated on September 23, 2020 by Laura Teso
Do you like mountains? I have just been to a magnificent area in the region Trentino. And I’m thrilled to present all the things you can see and do there. But where? In the Riserva di Biosfera Alpi Ledrensi e Judicaria, located between the northern part of Lake Garda and the Brenta Dolomites.
It has been acknowledged by UNESCO for its biodiversity and amazing historical-cultural heritage. Here man and nature have been living in perfect harmony for centuries.
Its area is only 30 km long as the crow flies. In this little extension there’s an elevation difference over 3,000 metres, including very diverse environments. Dolomite peaks, rivers, agricultural terraces, narrow Alpine valleys, high-elevation pastures.
During 3 days of Press Tour, I visited its 3 main components:
- The Tenno area is characterized by sunny terraces with dry stone walls planted with olive and chestnut trees and overlooking Lake Garda.
- Valle di Ledro, a pre-alpine valley of glacial origin, with a rich forest cover that surrounds Lake Ledro.
- The Giudicarie Esteriori, a large terraced amphitheater bordered by two deep gorges carved by the waters of the Sarca river. It is located in the northern part of the Biosphere Reserve, at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.
Things to do in the Riserva di Biosfera Alpi Ledrensi e Judicaria
Discover the most ancient frescoes of Trentino in Frapporta
Borgo Frapporta is very nice with its ancient ogival entrance door, the stone houses, all dominated from the ancient Castle of Tenno. The small church of San Lorenzo houses some of the oldest frescoes in Trentino (plus there’s a terrace with an exceptional view of Lake Garda). You can stop for a snack or something to drink at Hotel Antica Croce, overlooking the Castle.
Explore one of the most beautiful villages in Italy: Canale di Tenno
Canale di Tenno is a very quaint medieval borgo, abandoned after WW1 and then rediscovered by some artists. About that, we visited the Casa degli Artisti (Artists’ House), created during the 60’s by painter Giacomo Vittone, inspired by the beauty of the landscape. Nowadays the House hosts exhibits, workshops, conferences, giving hospitality to the artists involved in the projects.
I had previously been to Canale di Tenno to attend one of its main events, the Christmas market.
Stop to admire the turquoise Lake Tenno
Lake Tenno is a turquoise gem set in green woods, at a stone’s throw from Canale di Tenno. You can reach it by car or by foot following a path which starts at the center of the village (about 20 minutes).
Taste an exceptional and organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Le Terre di Gu is an organic, ethical and sustainable farm with minimal environmental impact. They produce extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, wild berries, walnuts and chestnuts. The owner gave us a bottle of their oil and, oh my, it is scrumptious. Plus, they are located in a village called Pranzo, i.e. Lunch in Italian. So… what’s not to love about them?
Where to eat in Tenno
We had dinner at Agritur Calvola, located in a nice hamlet between hills and vineyards. Here the owners produce wines, cold cuts, jams (also for sale) and prepare local dishes. The plus is the beautiful panorama with lake view. I particularly appreciated the carne salada, a local salt-cured meat obtained by cuts of adult bovine.
Valle di Ledro area
Val di Ledro is a valley set around the northern tip of Garda lake, between lake water, mountains and valleys.
Prepare your own face-cream at a Pharmacy dating back to 1800s
We visited Farmacia e Museo Foletto, with the 19-century workshop, as well as the equipment that illustrates the evolution of the profession from apothecary to pharmacist among ampoules, scales and stills. I also had the chance to attend a workshop to prepare an ointment. To do so, we only used natural materials such as olive oil, beeswax and fresh or dried flowers (I choose Calendula).
Crossing Lake Ledro by boat
We rented a boat and crossed the lake Pieve a Molina. But there are many possibilities: pedal boats, kayak, walk or cycle around the lake, swim, relax on its shores, sunbathing, reading a book in the shade of trees or having something to eat or drink at one of the kiosks or restaurants close to the lake.
Learn more about the daily life of the Bronze Age at the Museo delle Palafitte di Ledro
Thanks to the open-air Lake Ledro Pile-dwelling Museum, you can learn more about the daily life of the Bronze Age. There are reconstructions and original remains of a pile dwelling village dating back to 2,200-1,350 BC.
Where to eat around Lake Ledro
We stopped for lunch at Restaurant Cima d’Oro. There I chose to taste two local specialties: marinated trout and lake carbonara spaghetti (with lake fish instead of meat), both very good.
Giudicarie Esteriori area
Relax at the tiny Lake Nembia
Lake Nembia is a tiny artificial basin, with crystal clear waters coming from a glacier. There you can relax on the grass, go for a walk, follow the educational path (explaining flora and fauna of the area) or, if you’re brave, bathe in the super cold waters.
Mini-trekking with llamas and donkeys
If you’re my follower from the beginning, especially on Instagram, you know that I have a thing for donkeys. So this was for me the real highlight of the tour. You can do it too at fattoria Athabaska, an educational farm that organizes, other than trekking, also sled dog tours (in winter). You can also stop there for a snack or to stay for the night.
Have an ayurvedic treatment
We stopped for lunch at the organic farm Azienda Agricola il Ritorno. They cultivate aromatic medicinal plants, small fruits, and vegetables. With these ingredients they produce jams, syrups, infusions and some products for body care. In parallel, they carry out Ayurvedic activities or Yoga classes in contact with nature.
Stop to grab something to eat and shop for some zero-km products
At Bistrot Erika in Fiavé you can find arm-to-table products and a dolomites-chic atmosphere. There’s a counter café area, serving espresso, cappuccino and so on, but also gelato, pastries and savoury products. All around you can find shelves of local products, mostly jams, schnapps, honey, and wines. The place is very nice with an outdoor terrace and a beautiful interior design (even the toilets were lovely).
Try genuine bread and cookies
Panificio Zanoni is an artisan bakery located in Ponte Arche, run by the same family for 3 generations.
Taste mountain wines at Cavic Winery
Cavic is a small farm where the owners make wine exclusively from the grapes of their vineyards, directly following the production in every aspect with craftsmanship. They produce mountain wines such as Kerner, Pinot Grigio, Souvignier Gris and also apple cider. The name Cavic and the logo (a nail) refers to the owners’ family surname.
Stop for gelato
M’ami is an agricultural gelateria that produces ice cream, milk, yogurt, ricotta and cheeses. There’s a café where you can stop to have a cappuccino with fresh mountain milk, a pastry or a gelato.
Try donkey milk-based products
Agrilife is an agricultural company born from the love for the breeding of donkeys and for the cultivation of fruit and medicinal mountain plants. With donkey milk they produce natural cosmetics (there’s an online shop). In summer they also organize donkey activities for children.
Where to sleep in the Riserva di Biosfera Alpi Ledrensi e Judicaria
Our accommodation was Maso Pra Cavai, a lovely farmhouse surrounded by gardens, fields & fruit orchards (walnuts and apples mainly), close to Comano Spa Resort. I appreciated the cozyness of the room, the lovely setting, the kindness of the staff and also the breakfast (both savoury and sweet).