Rovereto is a small city with a rich historical past that surprises with its internationally renowned museums and splendid 18th-century palaces. Founded in the Middle Ages, it has passed through various dominations, from the Venetian Republic to the Napoleonic and Habsburg periods. Marked by the bombings of World War I, Rovereto is now the City of Peace due to the presence of the imposing Maria Dolens bell, cast in bronze from the cannons of the nations that took part in the conflict. In this article, you can discover what to see on a trip to Rovereto.
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Attractions and museums in Rovereto between art and history
In Rovereto, splendid 18th-century buildings in the historic centre and its museums reveal the enchantment of history. If the Campana dei Caduti (War Memorial Bell) on the hill above the city bears witness to peace, the Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra (Italian War History Museum) recounts the evolution of conflicts within the evocative setting of a Venetian fortification. The Mart – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero celebrate contemporary art in all its forms. This incredible cultural heritage makes exploring Rovereto a unique experience between art and history.
The Mart – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art houses a vast collection of over 20,000 works in a building with ambitious architecture. Its collection includes important sections dedicated to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century, focusing on Futurism. Highlights include works by artists like De Chirico, Carrà, Sironi, Balla, and creations by Rovereto artist Depero. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that broaden the view of contemporary art.
Mart – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Corso Bettini, 43
Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero (Depero Futurist Art House)
The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero (Depero Futurist Art House) is the work of the Futurist artist Fortunato Depero, who personally supervised the interior layout and decorations such as mosaics, furniture and painted panels. Managed by the Mart, the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero offers a journey into the Futurist imagination and Depero’s artistic journey, with works and objects on display ranging from advertising posters to theatre.
Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero
Via Portici, 38
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra (Italian War History Museum)
Built in the 13th century as a territorial garrison, the Castle became a defence fortress under Venetian rule and passed into the hands of the Habsburgs, who controlled it until the end of the Great War. Restored in the 1920s, it now houses the Italian War History Museum, with a varied collection of period objects, weapons and photographic material, narrating the evolution of the conflicts from the Napoleonic wars to the First World War.
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
Museo Civico di Rovereto
The Museo Civico di Rovereto (Civic Museum of Rovereto), one of the oldest in Italy, was founded in 1851 and has several locations. In the Museo della Città (City Museum), you can discover the city’s history through works of art and exhibits from the Middle Ages to modern times. The Museum of Science and Archaeology focuses on archaeology, zoology, botany, astronomy and earth sciences and offers temporary exhibitions on current topics. The Planetarium, with its six-metre dome, allows the public and schools to understand the movements of the celestial stars.
Fondazione Museo Civico di Rovereto
Borgo Santa Caterina, 41
Museo della Città
Via Calcinari, 18
Campana dei Caduti
The Campana dei Caduti (War Memorial Bell), cast in 1924 with bronze from the First World War cannons, underwent three successive castings to improve the sound and resolve structural cracks. In 1966, it found its current form and a definitive location on the Miravalle hill above Rovereto. With a height of 3.36 metres, a diameter of 3.21 metres and a weight of 226.39 quintals, it is the largest bell in the world. It rings regularly in memory of the fallen, a tangible symbol of the war’s impact on the city’s history and its commitment to peace.
Campana dei Caduti
Colle di Miravalle
Palazzo Del Ben
Palazzo Del Ben (Del Ben Palace), headquarters of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Trento e Rovereto, an Italian bank company, is a fine example of Renaissance architecture. Initially a private residence, the Counts of Arco enlarged it in the 16th century. In the 17th century, the Clarisse nuns acquired it and, later, the Municipality of Rovereto. From 1877 to 1904, it was used as a post office building and eventually sold to the Cassa di Risparmio. Architect Augusto Sezanne renovated it in 1906, transforming it into a Venetian Renaissance style. Fine art decorations, paintings depicting the seasons and coffered ceilings make this palace an architectural treasure to see during your stay.
Palazzo Del Ben
Piazza Antonio Rosmini, 3
Church of San Marco
The Church of San Marco, chosen by Mozart for his first Italian concert, is dedicated to the patron saint of Venice. Externally neoclassical in style, the interior is a Baroque triumph, with a frescoed ceiling and works of art such as the San Marco’s Altarpiece, the statue of Santa Rosa di Lima and the altars of Maria Ausiliatrice, San Vigilio, dell’Altissimo and San Girolamo. The pipe organ, dating back to 1509, is magnificent. During the First World War, it suffered severe damage, which was repaired in 1919 with a contribution from the Italian government, thus preserving its splendour.
Church of San Marco
Piazza S. Marco
Where to stay in Rovereto
Rovereto is a small city near Trento. Hotel Leon d’Oro is an excellent accommodation with an outdoor pool and free parking, just a 2-minute walk from the train station and near the Mart. Another option is Hotel Rovereto, a boutique hotel in the historic centre of Rovereto with stylish furniture and paintings by famous local artists in the public areas. If you’re on a budget, Ostello Città di Rovereto offers dormitories, private rooms, and vouchers for discounted visits to local museums.
If you want to take a road trip with children near Rovereto, I suggest a European road trip from Italy to Liechtenstein. Starting from the nearby town of Trento, the journey takes you through picturesque landscapes and stunning scenery, with Lake Garda being one of the highlights. You can explore other exciting and far-off destinations along the way, making it an enjoyable and unforgettable experience for the whole family.
Rovereto, a city rich in history and culture, offers internationally renowned museums, such as the Mart and the Italian War History Museum, and architectural beauties like the Church of San Marco. Share your thoughts in the comments about which attractions in Rovereto you would like to see first, between modern art and Renaissance palaces.