Named one of Italy’s “Most Beautiful Villages” in 2018, Bondone is certainly that and more. Its rich history and its people’s strong connection to the mountains make it one of the most charming destinations in Trento’s Valle del Chiese. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip!
Bondone’s oldest monument is the Castle of San Giovanni originally dating to the 12th century. If you want to enjoy the surrounding landscape including Lake Idro, then the best way to reach it is on foot. It is only a 15-minute walk from the Saltone car park or a 30-minute walk from the Miralago car park. Entrance is free and guided tours are available if booked in advance.
It is the village’s most recent history tied to charcoal burning that continues to fascinate and play an important role in the locals’ daily lives. Carbonai is the English equivalent of charcoal burners which are men who earned their living by carbonizing wood from the forest. Up until about 1970, Bordone’s families, including women and children, would leave for the mountains abandoning their homes and the village until early autumn. What they produced would sustain them through the cold, harsh winters.
Even the village’s most important monuments are connected to the life of a charcoal burner. The Church of the Nativity of Maria is a place of worship and devotion even to this day. In Piazza della Levata you’ll find a touching tribute to the charcoal burners in the form of a bronze statue. Throughout the village, you’ll also notice beautiful frescoes adorning the stone houses showing devotion to the Virgin Mary, San Rocco, and other protectors.
3. Cuisine and Culture
Bondone’s cuisine is genuine and rustic just like the landscape that surrounds it. Cornmeal polenta from nearby Storo is a classic dish here. Polenta carbonera is a hearty winter dish made with onions, salami, and cheese. Make sure to pick up some mountain honey and craft beer as the perfect souvenir or gift.
Not surprisingly, there is a festival tied to the charcoal-burning tradition in early September, the Festa del Carbonaio. In August, people come to Bondone to celebrate its street festival known as Bondone in Strada.
4. Outdoor Activities
The entire region of Trentino is best known for its breathtaking landscapes, Dolomite peaks, fresh air, and endless outdoor activities to suit just about every age and ability. Bondone’s Valle del Chiese offers everything from hiking to paragliding.
One of its biggest attractions is Lake Idro which is shared with the Lombardy region. Porto Camarelle beach on Idro’s shores has actually received the Blue Flag award for its superb water quality and amenities. This is definitely a place to cool off in the summertime as average water temperatures hover around 24°C until about mid-September. Canoeing, SUP, surfing, and sailing are all available on Idro. There is also a wooden walkway that connects the shores and takes you through the Lake Idro Biotope.
If you enjoy biking, then you’ll want to check out the Valle del Chiese cycle path that departs from Lake Idro all the way to the Pieve di Bono, one of the ancient chapels in the Valle del Chiese. Hikers will enjoy the mule path up to Cima Tombea at 1,976 meters with stunning views of the Dolomites and surrounding valleys.
Bondone sits at 720 meters above sea level making it the ideal summer destination for the non-beachgoers among you. Autumn is a great time to visit if you want to experience some of the season’s flavors like chestnuts and mushrooms and wine.