Under Doctor’s Orders: Canale di Tenno

Under Doctor's Orders: Canale di Temmo | ©Tom Palladio Images

I came to the Trentino Alto Adige region of northern Italy in search of a cure, a water cure, to diminish the effects of a skin disorder that’s bothered me for some time.

Aside from my two-a-day, medically prescribed thermal baths, little did I know that I would be surrounded by H2O outside the tub, too, no matter where I turned: lakes, streams, rivers, waterfalls, babbling brooks and rainy days.

And, the latest Under Doctor’s Orders photo shoot destination was no exception: Canale di Tenno.

Under Doctor's Orders: Canale di Tenno | ©Tom Palladio Images

Under Doctor's Orders: Canale di Tenno | ©Tom Palladio ImagesA rural village that was christened in 1211, Canale di Tenno (CdiT), just north of Lago di Garda — Italy’s largest lake — and just south of the Brenta Dolomites, has survived the ages almost in tact.

The name Canale (canal 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, CdiT 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, but I was up for the challenge.

Under Doctor's Orders: Canale di Tenno | ©Tom Palladio Images

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 merging into small, narrow, sky’s-the-limit piazzette (small squares).

Meander around and you’ll spy quaint little shops selling crafts, artisan foods, and locally produced products. Big on the annual calendar is CdiT’s Natale di Tennese (A Tenno-style Christmas) that unfolds from December to early January and features living nativity scenes, choirs, concerts and an open-air market of local products, like olive oil, wine, grappa, chestnuts, honey and crafts.

Not be overlooked is CdiT’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 CdiT.

After you’ve combed every nook and cranny inside CdiT’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 the Trentino.

Under Doctor's Orders: Canale di Tenno | ©Tom Palladio Images

Canale di Tenno, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, is a little jewel of a time capsule that’s stuck permanently somewhere in the Middle Ages. Tick-tock, tick-tock…

If you missed viewing any of the previous installments of the Under Doctor’s Orders photo-shoot series when they first went to press, you can see them right from here. Just click on the following titles: Terme di ComanoLago di MolvenoEat-Drink-SoakDeggiaRango, Fiume Sarca, Balbido and Fiavè.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images




  1. I agree with Mountain Gypsy. Also, what a fabulous side benefit to have the chance to visit other gorgeous Italian destinations. I’ve spent time in Lago d’Orta and Lago Maggiore–both are in my treasure trove of memorable visits. What joy to discover the charm of these jewels.

    1. Sally — Those are two lakes that I have yet to discover, but they’re on my list for future photo shoots. I took advantage of the daylight in between those thermal baths. Glad you enjoyed CdiT.

  2. Oh Tom, these brought tears to my eyes they were so beautiful. It was almost too much to absorb in one post. Every place you visit is more beautiful than the last – and you are doing a splendid job of capturing them. I can’t imagine a lens being able to capture more beauty than this.

  3. Lovely! While I’m having a wonderful time in Philly, it’s wonderful to be able to view some non-city beauty. Thanks for sharing and I hope the “cure” is working.


      1. Haven’t had one yet, but we did have some amazing doughnuts made by Mennonites! Got them at one of my favorite places here, Reading Terminal Market. Great food choices there.

  4. Hi! I thoroughly enjoyed your photo essay of Italy. Although I’ve been there many times and I’ve written a lot about Italy, I have never been to the Lakes region. Thanks for opening my eyes to the beauty of the place!

    1. Pat — Actually, the area here in Italy referred to as the Lakes Region is in Lombardy, north of Milano and south of the Alps: Lakes Como, Maggiore, and to some extent, Garda — Italy’s largest lake. Where I was, in the Trentino, you’ll find just these little pails of water by comparison, but scenic just the same. You should plan a visit to the Trentino Alto Adige region of La Penisula.

  5. Hi – I stopped receiving this wonderful blog in my email November 2013. How do I restart?

    Thanks! Glenn

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