The origins of the town go back to Roman times (1st century B.C.), with some beautiful testimonies being preserved below ground.

The name Trento, from Latin Tridentum, is believed to refer to the three mountains (Bondone, Calisio, Marzola) or the three hills (Sant'Agata, San Rocco, Verruca) surrounding the city and arranged in the form of a trident: but that is only a legend. Trento was an important crossroad thanks to the presence in its territory of the Via Claudia Augusta, the main military road to the North. Invaded by the barbarians, after the Longobard rule the city entered the German sphere of influence. In 1027 the Episcopal Principality of Trento was established, which lasted until 1803. The city had its golden period at the start of the 16th century: between 1514 and 1539 the Principality was ruled by Bernardo Cles, politician, cardinal, scholar and patron of the arts who engaged in a general renovation of the city according to Renaissance canons, up to this day still characterising the streets of the historical centre. From 1545 to 1563 Trento hosted the Council that was to start the Counter-Reformation. In those years it became a true European capital, with courts and delegations from the whole Christianity. Between the 18th and the 19th century the city passed first to the French and then to the Habsburgs. In the mid 19th century the new Brenner railway was built which had the river Adige diverted to its current course. Trento became Italian only after World War I (1918). In 1947 the Constituent Assembly proclaimed the autonomous Region Trentino-South Tyrol, with its special charter. Today Trento, administrative centre of the province, seat of universities and research institutes and offering a wealth of cultural and entertainment initiatives, is "a cross-border destination for cultural tourism", a bridge between Italy and Europe, between tradition and innovation.

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