Just above the northern reaches of Lago di Garda, Italy’s largest lake, and just south of the Brenta Dolomites, sits a rural village in the Trentino Alto Adige that was christened back in 1211 and has since survived the test of Father Time almost in tact: Canale di Tenno (Canale).
Canale, meaning channel or waterway, seems to derive its origin from the wealth of water that surrounds this Borghi piu belli d’Italia (Most beautiful villages of Italy) since it broke through the rocks of the early Middle Ages.
Adored by visitors the world over, Canale is a living, breathing open-air museum of classic medieval stone architecture that weaves its way through a labyrinth of barrel vaults, underpasses, alleyways and galleries. Looking at it from the shooter’s side of the lens, though, the village is one of the hardest locales to photograph due to its narrow dimensions.
South of the village, you make your way up a cobblestone walkway, turn a corner and then the WOW factor hits you right in the kisser: one stone-and-mortar underpass and alleyway after another that merge into small, narrow, sky’s-the-limit piazzette (small squares).
Meander around and you’ll spy quaint little shops selling locally produced artisan crafts and foods, like olive oil, grappa, chestnuts and honey.
Not be overlooked is Canale’s Casa degli Artisti (House of the Artists), a cultural center that was created in the 1960s following the restoration of a series of attached stone houses that share a large backyard garden with panoramic views of the valley below.
Inspired by its harmonious location and natural beauty, many an artist and cultural figure spend their free time here on holiday to recharge their creative juices. They stay for free, but donate back to the house the work they create during their sojourn in Canale.
After you’ve combed through every nook and cranny inside Canale’s walls, stroll down the hill for a view of picture-poscard perfect Lago di Temmo and it’s its incomparable turquoise blue water, among the very cleanest H2O in all the Trentino.
Canale di Tenno, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, is a little jewel of a time capsule that’s permanently stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. Tick-tock, tick-tock…