For three days our group spent a delightful time in Trento. Located in the Trentino Alto Adige northern region of Italy, Trento is skirted by the majestic Dolomites. For Church history buffs, Trento or Trent in English, is also home of the Council of Trent which saw the Church’s Bishops come together to address social impacts and reforms in 1545, especially rising Protestantism.Trento had a strong Roman influence and its Roman name, Tridentum, depicted of course by Neptune, is a strong symbol for the town.
Our main aim in Trento was to attend school. Our sister school adjoins the building which hosted the Council of Trent. The group attended classes as part of a gemellaggio or sister school reciprocal visit. We, as teachers, also went to class – Latin and Ancient Greek at 7:45am which was extremely stimulating and very enlightening. All enjoyed the hospitality and genuine good humor of the Profs. We were even more privileged to have met the dirigente and be invited into her magnificent office for coffee. Later she joined our group for a farewell dinner. The young members of our group responded to her very positively and engaged in much polite conversation in Italian!
While meeting with the dirigente we viewed the school’s remarkable collection of ancient manuscripts. A volume of Petrach’s poetry dated 1554 was exhibited before us in all its delicate and ancient state. The text was completely in tact and quite robust for its age. It was quite amazing to be touching this manuscript which was as old as the discovery of the Americas. It was gently returned to its grand 1812 bookcase!
Trento is a Medieval town, of course. One of the highlights is the Castello del Buonconsiglio. A magnificent fortified castle built in the 13th century and later extended to include a palazzo in 1530. The castle was the defense of the town which stood on the main road linking Italy to northern Europe. It is the repository for many religious icons and works of art as well as housing an extensive exhibition of Medieval Knights. However, it was the Aquila Tower and its wondrous depiction of the twelve months of the year (March is missing) which really impacted on me. These charming frescoes were painted in the 14 century and depict the cycle of the seasons. Today they remain a wonderful and romantic depiction of life in the Middle Ages under the feudal system. A definite must see if you are in Trento!
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