Just a stone’s throw from Verona cathedral is the Garibaldi bridge. Pause to take in the amazing views, one of the best that Verona’s bridges can offer, with a view of San Giorgio church and, up there on the hill, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, then continue across the bridge towards Viale Nino Bixio.
Welcome to Borgo Trento, Verona’s Art Nouveau masterpiece!
Borgo Trento: the district for Verona’s elite
The Borgo Trento district, which grew up at the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s for the city's burgeoning Jewish middle classes at the same time when Europe was seeing the development of an artistic movement that found particular expression in architecture and the arts, known across the continent as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Modernismo or, in Italy, as Liberty. A movement that emphasised a direction, change and the new. A style that, in our fair city, found its finest expression in Borgo Trento, the area of Verona which was initially built to house the bourgeoisie of the industrial period, who were beginning to set up home outside the walled city. The main artery of the district is Viale Nino Bixio, where we can admire many Art Nouveau villas, with other streets branching off it with many other elegant villas.
Right at the start of this boulevard is the most magnificent example of this early-20th century architectural movement, Villa Tedeschi Tosadori, designed by the architect Ettore Fagiuoli in 1915. Fagiuoli, along with the engineer Italo Muttinelli, was one of the leaders of this artistic movement.
A feature of this style is the reclaiming of decorative elements that are typical of mediaeval and Renaissance art. Another example of Fagiuoli’s work is Villa Cipriani, in Via Anita Garibaldi. In the same street, there is also Villa Basevi, with its mediaeval tower shape, large windows and lots of wrought iron with Art Nouveau patterns. Inside the villa, there is a reinforced concrete structure and some traces of a bunker built in the second world war, when the building, like many others, was requisitioned by the German troops under General Wolff. In Via D’Annunzio, we find the majestic Palazzo Bachbauer Canella, the home of the Collegno Amnesiac, a man at the centre of a famous case involving the alleged reappearance of a man in the aftermath of World War One. At number 4 on the same street is Palazzo Pretato, a splendid four-storey building with an elegant wrought iron gate, decorated with traditional floral motifs. In Via Capera, there is Villino Brugnoli, from 1911, a house which takes you back in time with its many Renaissance, mediaeval, Northern European, Arab and Norman influences. Another Fagiuoli project, finished in 1932, is Villa Beghini in Via Anzani, which was the headquarters of the Gestapo during World War Two.
Elegant streets and exclusive palaces: the charm of Borgo Trento
Continue your tour on Via dei Mille and Via Rovereto, with a succession of buildings that give you the impression of being in a period drama. If you wander down Viale Nino Bixio in spring, when the trees that line the boulevard are in covered with blossom, you feel like you have stepped back in time to an aristocratic city of the past. Indeed, you would not be surprised to see elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen pass by, wearing the fashions of the early 1900s.
Borgo Trento is a part of the city which still feels as elegant and refined as it always has been. A district which is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, where you can call in at a bar for a coffee or an aperitif with the locals. A diversion from the normal tourist trail, in a neighbourhood which is more modern but no less interesting or culturally important.