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This Quaint Italian Town off the Beaten Path Has a Lot to Offer

Come and visit the “Pearl of the Valsugana”, which served as the beloved summer destination for the Austrian royal family. Its history, various attractions, and natural surroundings will amaze you!

A view over Matera town in Italy

View of Levico from the Saint Biagio church | Photo by Alessandro Ramazzotti

by Alessandro Ramazzotti

13 de oct de 2023

Levico Terme is a tiny town in the north of Italy. When I had to explain where I live to foreigners, I would usually say “near Verona”, since that’s the most famous city nearby. Levico is actually 100 km to the north, tucked away in the broadest spot of the Valsugana valley, where the sun kisses the smooth slopes of the mountains around until it sets behind their rocky tops. The majestic Dolomites, a UNESCO protected area, is visible in the distance from Levico’s center – did you know these mountains, so loved by hikers today, ages ago were coral reefs? Quite astonishing, isn’t it?!

Levico is definitely a recommended, off-the-beaten-path destination on your trip around the Belpaese (and I’m not writing that in a biased way!).

Impossible to stop – too much to do!

There’s plenty you can do in Levico, whatever your age or interests are. From exciting outdoor activities to history and wellness, the variety of touristic activities is almost unmatchable!

Below you can find a few options to make the best out of your time there.

A royal past: the park and Villa Sissi

The green lung of Levico is its big park, which covers about 1/3 of the village’s area. Once you enter the gates, imagine yourself thrown into a royal past. Indeed, the park was once used as a summer residence by Princess Sissi of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose villa still stands fiercely in the northern part of the park.

Wonder at the variety of trees from all over the world that decorate the park, including a small circle made with the huge trunk of a sequoia tree and the legendary beech on which branches generations of kids (me included) happily climbed.

The park offers many cultural events too, the most famous one being the Winter Markets – a popular tradition throughout the Alps range. Small huts selling typical products make the atmosphere similar to a Santa Claus village. Other events take place during the rest of the year, like the pumpkin fest in autumn, and concerts and literary gatherings in summer.

Chill among ducks: the lake

Another park is the well-known Villa Segantini, or just “the beach”. This vast green space is heavily crowded during the summer months by youths and families, who spend their time relaxing on the grass and bathing in the warm waters of the lake. The surrounding hills and mountains create the perfect background, and if you get bored, there is a nice path circling around the lake and providing more secluded spots to take a bath.

Apart from just chilling there, jogging, beach volleyball, and crossfit are possible activities to engage in while in Villa Segantini. After these, why not have a fresh beer with a sunset view directly from the beach bar La Rociondola?! For more privacy and calm, and for a modest price, you can also choose to go to Lido Buena Onda, right next to the beach of Villa Segantini, where it’s possible to rent umbrellas and beach loungers. Just outside of it, there is a basketball court and a football field, where youths spend hours playing until the sun goes down.

A ghost town in Italy

Paragliding over Levico | Photo by Vincentiu Solomon

Adrenaline lovers: paragliding, mountain biking, and winter sports

The mountains around Levico offer a wide variety of tracks for mountain bikes, including electric ones that have taken the scenes in the last years. If you don’t have yours, rent it at InBike Valsugana. Go up to the Vezzena plateau via the legendary Kaiserjagerstrasse (the emperor’s road), also known in the local language as “il Menador” due to its steepness. Be careful though: only real bikers can complete the challenge!

For a smoother ride, opt for the other side of the valley and climb up the Panarotta mountain to reach Vetriolo – a decaying thermal resort that the municipality of Levico has been trying to relaunch for years. The views of the surrounding mountains take one's breath away, and the Nif’s huge panini (sandwiches) will restore your energy and fill your belly for the next few days.

Right in front of the Nif, adrenaline lovers can experience the wonders of flying with a paraglide. The cost to fly is about 100 euros, but the feelings that will bring are worth at least double the price. If you are interested, contact Fly Tandem Valsugana. Paragliding competitions also take place in Vetriolo, and on those days hundreds of paraglide experts crowd the skies above Levico, offering a peculiar show to those on the land.

In winter times, the peaks above the Valsugana Valley are covered by snow. Snowboarding, skiing, and sleighing are popular activities among people of all ages. If you love going extreme, just walk up a snowy mountain with your skies or snowboard and enjoy freeriding in the woods. Otherwise, a number of resorts offer the comfort of chairlifts in Vezzena, Folgaria, and Brocon – all of them about forty-five minutes to one hour drive from Levico.

Medieval times: churches (S. Biagio) and castles (Selva)

Levico’s history does not stop at the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It goes back to medieval times, and even the Roman Empire.

For those interested in ancient history, the ruins of the medieval castle of Selva offer a good jump back to a time of cavaliers and kings. It’s easy to reach the castle with a one-hour walk from Levico’s main square. Especially in the summertime, it is an opportunity to escape the crowds of the lakeside and experience a more rural atmosphere.

Right above the lake, there is also the small medieval church of Saint Biagio, the inside of which is painted with beautiful frescoes from the 14th century. The green field around the little church is a perfect setting for a picnic with a lake view. And if you’re lucky, you might encounter a deer or two walking around there quietly feeding on the fresh grass.

To go further back in time, in front of the Villa Sissi park’s entrance, a sarcophagus dating back to Roman Empire times serves as proof of Levico’s ancient history. Indeed, the village is located on the Via Claudia Augusta, an old Roman road that connected Rome to the northern parts of the Empire.

Hot springs: wellness and beauty

Levico is also famous for its therapeutic, ferrous waters that flow down from the Panarotta mountain. For a long time, the thermal complex has attracted people from all over Europe who come to this tiny village to have a regenerating vacation in the name of wellness and beauty. The Terme di Levico e Vetriolo offers a variety of treatments, both for illnesses and with rejuvenating effects. Check them out if you want to go back home feeling younger than ever!

A overview of a coast in Basilicata

Levico Terme | Photo by Reka Marincsak

How to reach

If all of this motivates you to pay a visit, check out train tickets to Trento, the province’s capital and the biggest city around – although it only counts 120,000 inhabitants. From there, buses and little trains run frequently to Levico (EUR 2.9, one way) and the journey takes about 50 minutes.

You can also take the train that runs in the Valsugana Valley from Bassano del Grappa, which is a better option if you come from Venice or Padua. In that case, the slow journey with the train will take a longer time, also because there are stops in little villages on the way every 10-15 minutes.

You can even consider reaching Levico with a paraglide if you are an adrenaline lover and have the needed skills and equipment.

The Pearl of the Valsugana

Levico is a good destination for people of all ages and interests. It welcomes tourists all year round, providing good offers for both winter and summer times. Autumn colors and spring-blooming fields are also not to miss.

Because of all the reasons above, Levico is known as the “Pearl of the Valsugana”. It is a little jewel inset in a magic environment. Come and visit if you don’t believe me!

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