The Questura is on Piazza della Mostra, opposite Castello Buonconsiglio.
To get a Permesso di Soggiorno though, you need to go to the: Ufficio per Stranieri (Foreigner’s Office), which is behind the questura,
Via San Marco 38, Trento
Tel.: +39 0461 899759 (very hard to get through)
Or try this one (Police external relations officer) to see if your PdiS is ready:
0461 899776 (same hours as office hours below)
Hours: Monday–Friday 8:30–12:30 a.m., only Thursday 3:15–6:00 p.m.
To make an appointment for this office, you need to go to
Servizio Cinformi (Centro Informativo per l’Immigrazione), which is behind the entrance to the TOP Center,
Via Zambra 11, Trento
Tel.: +39 0461 820370
Numero verde: 800 991 161
Fax: +39 0461 821467
Hours: Monday–Friday 9.00–12:00 a.m.
If you are working at the university or the research institute, they may be able to make an appointment for you, so you won’t need to go to Cinformi.
Once you have an appointment to apply for your PdiS, make sure you are there at least half an hour before the appointed time. They will call out names in the little room with the chairs (don’t wait outside if you are waiting for your name to be called out – you could miss it) and then you go through to the adjoining room with the counters.
What you need to bring with you depends on whether you are an EU citizen, student etc. The basics are as follows, but you will need more depending on your circumstances. Cinformi will be able to tell you exactly what you need.
- photocopy of photo page of passport;
- four passport-sized photographs.
Although I am a freelancer and not looking for work, because I don’t have an employee and was at that time not married to my now husband, who does have an employer, I had to go to the employment office (details below) and get a document saying that I was looking for work. This office is called the Ufficio di Collocamento (see details below)
If you need to go back to the questura to ask a question or get a stamp for your slip of paper saying you are waiting for your PdiS, if you are discreet about it you can slip into the room with the counters through the outside door as someone is coming out. Only do this if it is a very quick query and you can speak some Italian, otherwise their patience will run thin.
When you come to pick up your PdiS, you have to take a number and wait your turn. Make sure you have your passport with you. My advice is to take a number and go shopping/for a coffee. You can usually estimate how many hours it is going to be until your turn (yes, I did say hours) by seeing what number they are on and how fast it is moving. Do try and get in as early as possible though.
There is a huge backlog at the questura for processing permessi and currently the wait time is 5 months. If, however, you make enough of a fuss and have a legitimate reason for needing one sooner, this can be reduced to a week. An acquaintance of ours recently was told it would take 5 months and he insisted on having it sooner (something to do with customs and shipping his stuff here). He had it a week after. I'm not sure if this would work for everyone!
Ufficio di Collocamento or Centro per l’Impiego
via Maccani 76 (between Poli and Lidl, on the roundabout)
Tel.: +39 0461 496190
Hours: Monday–Friday 8.40–12.10 and Mon, Wed and Thurs 14.30–16.15
Via Brennero 131
Tel.: +39 0461 410511
This site has a list of all the others in Trentino: Trentino Agenzia dell'Entrate
For getting residency, births, marriages: Ufficio dello Stato Civile a Trento
Piazza Fiera 17
Tel.: 0461 884295/6 0461 884065
Fax: 0461 884452
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 8.00–12.00/14.30–16.00
Wednesday and Friday: 8.00–12.00
There are also offices in Cognola, Gardolo, Mattarello, Povo, Ravina, Sopramonte, Meano, Villazzano, Sardagna, Baselga del Bondone and Vigolo Baselga. I have a list of their addresses and opening hours if anyone wants them.
Public Health Care - Centro per i Servizi Sanitari
To get your tessera for the public healthcare system, you have to go to the Centro per Servizi Sanitari. There is a new building right beside the Big Centre out on Viale Verona. There is a big, free underground carpark, or you can use buses 3, 4, 8, 13 or A. Here is the website: http://www.apss.tn.it
When you get there, go to palazzina C, to the ‘Ufficio anagrafe’ (just on your right as you come out of the elevator), and take a number. There is a café outside and to the right if you have a long wait, but the numbers do move fairly quickly. Make sure you have your codice fiscale and permesso di soggiorno. If you don’t yet have a permesso, bring the slip, stamped to say when it will be ready. If you have a permesso, you will get a temporary tessera on a sheet of paper and a couple of months later you will get a magnetic card.
When you get your tessera, you have to choose a doctor from the lists they have in the office. I have a list of English-speaking doctors if anyone needs it. You can change your doctor at any time.
Using the public (almost-free) system, when you need to book an appointment for a procedure or with a specialist, you need to call a number (848 816 816) for the Centro Unico di Prenotazione. The staff on this line are generally very good to deal with. If you have real language difficulties, you can go to the CUP office in person, on Piazza Fiera. Another option (only if you have the magnetic card) is to make the booking online. https://www.apss.tn.it/
Just put in your details, and someone will call you back with your appointment.
Store for International Products
Asian Stores where you can get cheap, good non-risotto rice, spices, coconut milk etc.:
- via Prepositura opp. the Torre
- via S. Martino, not far from Torre Verde
- via Petrarca – near the corner of via Romagnosi
- via Vannetti – near the corner of via Romagnosi
The PAM supermarket in the Bren Center has peanut butter (‘Save’ brand, sugarless), real Canadian maple syrup and a large range of Mexican food products, near the fish counter at the back.
The Poli supermarket on Via Maccani has sour cream.
Hotel Accademia is far and away the best hotel in town. Family-run and very classy, but also with loads of character and very very friendly service.
Vicolo Colico, 4–6
Tel. 0461.233600 - Fax 0461.230174
Hotel America is also a very good downtown Trento hotel, with excellent self-contained apartments for 7 days or more.
Agritur Pra Sec about 10 min outside of Trento by car, near the village of Romagnano is a good choice if you like to be away from the city centre.
There are some interesting dishes very particular to this part of the country, which is heavily influenced by Austrian cuisine.
Canederli are large dumplings. Sometimes they can be a little dry, but served in brodo (broth) or goulasch (a rich, meat-based sauce) they can be delicious.
Wurstl are kind of like frankfurters. Not to be confused with wurst, which are tasty German-style sausages.
Stinco is a shank – usually a large piece of meat.
Speck – kind of like bacon, but dry cured and harder, and used mostly for its flavour.
Strangolapreti (the direct translation is ‘strangled priests’) – a type of gnocchi made with spinach and usually served with sage and butter. Yum.
Macedonia – a fruit salad usually flavoured with a little lemon, orange juice and sometimes liqueur.
‘Nuova Castelli’ da Franco, Piazza Centa, as you are walking from the city centre, just before you reach Via Brennero.
Extensive menu, including pizzas, also in English. Highly recommended. A very pleasant outdoor dining area on the street. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch.
Al Volt Via Santa Croce 16, near Piazza Fiera
A special little restaurant serving local specialties including ‘stinco’ (shank – a very large and very delicious piece of meat), canederli amongst pasta dishes etc. The English menu is very creative, and the owner/waiter makes up for his lack of English with his enthusiasm. A dining experience worth paying a little extra for, but not hugely expensive. Closed Thursday and Sunday nights.
Torre Verde (Green Tower) On Torre Verde, just north of Hotel America on the other side of the road, on the corner with Via Romagnosi
A very reliable restaurant, with a wide-ranging menu including pizza. English menus available. Closed Monday.
Pedavena (http://www.birreriapedavena.com/) Piazza Fiera
Trento’s version of a beer hall, with an inner courtyard. This vast restaurant has beer brewed on the premises, and does beerhall type food including sauerkraut, sausages, goulash etc., as well as pizzas. An economical night out. Closed Tuesday.
Due Mori Via San Marco 11
A good trattoria with an extensive menu, but no pizza. English menus available. An outdoor eating area. Closed Monday.
Loto Via Gocciadoro 62
A very busy and extremely well organised restaurant, with an extensive and somewhat unusual menu, including pizzas. A little bit out of the way, but walkable from the city centre – beside the hospital and the swimming pool. Highly recommended.
Orso Grigio (Grey Bear) Via degli Orti (close to Piazza Fiera)
A more upmarket restaurant, with very good food. A courtyard is open in summer. Closed Sunday.
Patelli Via Dietro la Mura (near Piazza Fiera)
Cheap and cheerful, with English menus and staff that speak English. Closed Sunday
Bars and cafes
La Sacrestia, Via Marchetti 13
A very funky bar. Great spot for a cocktail.
The Whiskey Bar – Feelings (stupid name!) Via Androna (near Piazza Fiera)
Don’t be put off by the view from the front door. This place is a lot bigger than it looks. It has an extensive whiskey menu, as well as cocktails and anything else you fancy.
Café Nettuno Via Cavour (near Piazza Duomo)
A great place for lunch. Big salads and panini that you can choose from the cabinet, and great coffee.
Café Bertelli Via Oriola
The place in Trento for coffee and cake.
Bar Duomo, Via Verdi 40, near the front door of the main church (il duomo) - just off piazza duomo
A great buzzing place for an aperitif or a beer or a glass of wine, or a coffee Closed Sunday
Supermercato Trentini Piazza Lodron (near Piazza Duomo)
Poli Via Orfane (between the train station and Piazza Duomo) Closed Wednesday afternoon and Sunday.
The biggest supermarket is the Coop in the Big Centre out on viale Verona.
The Poli on Via Maccani (near the roundabout) is a good supermarket, with good produce. Closed Wednesday afternoon.
The PAM in the Bren Centre is cheaper and good for some things, but not good for fresh produce.
The best place to buy reasonably priced household goods is the Poli on Corso Tre Novembre. Also an ok supermarket, but not great for meat and fish.
Niccolodi via Torre Verde
Fai da te
Obi Via Brennero 230 Tel.: 0461/420294
Hours: Mon: 14:00–19:30, Tues–Fri: 08:30–12:30 / 14:00–19:30, Sat: 08:30–19:30
Euro Brico Via Brennero 151 Tel.: 0461/829620
Hours: Mon: 14:30-19:30, Tues–Fri: 09:00–12:30 / 14:30–19:30, Sat: 09:00–19:30
Euro Brico Via Giusti 40 Tel.: 0461/914448
Hours: Mon: 15:00-19:00, Tues–Sat: 08:30–12:30 / 15:00–19:00
Other branches in Borgo Valsugana, Pergine, Cles, Arco, Tione, Predazzo, Rovereto
Bookshops with English books
Il Libraio di Serafini Mario (Rizzoli is on the sign I think) Corso 3 Novembre 10–12
Has a section with English novels in the far corner of the basement, near the grand piano, classics as well as more recent releases. Seems to be updated fairly regularly. All priced between €9 and €12
Giunti al Punto via Oss Mazzurana (opposite the Forst restaurant)
Has a small section of English books, mostly classics and bestsellers in the basement, and a small rack by the door in summer.
Local buses: http://www.ttspa.it/
University of Trento information for foreign students which might be useful for all kinds of expats: http://www.unitn.it/internazionale/download/Info_arrivo_studenti_EU_nonEU.pdf
Tourist office for Trentino (a lot of useful information, but a little tricky to navigate): http://www.trentino.to/
Tourist office for Trento and Monte Bondone (not a very useful site in my opinion): http://www.apt.trento.it/English/ENG_Home.htm
A good site for finding out what concerts/films etc are on: http://www.crushsite.it/
Not sure who runs this site, but it is also not very useful: http://www.toptrento.com/home/home.asp
Information on Italian courses at the university: http://www.unitn.it/en/cial/enrolling_courses.htm
What’s on at the Civic Art Gallery: http://www.workartonline.it/index_st3.asp?p=-1&carica=&l=en
Real estate agents
From my experience, the best way to find an apartment to rent (no experience with buying a place I’m afraid) is to ring private rentals in the magazine Bazar (http://www.bazar.it/index1.html) which comes out on paper every Thursday, and of course, word of mouth. Real estate agents don’t seem to have very good properties and they are generally overpriced. Here is a short list, nevertheless:
Blustudio via GA Prato 4 Tel.: 0461-391521
Intermedia Via Bolghera 31 / Via Marsala 89 Tel.: 0461 935161
Spazio Casa Via Torre Vanga 14 Tel.: +0461-980999
Punto Casa 16 largo Carducci 14 Tel.: 0461 232413
The local festival is the Feste San Vigiliane, about the third week of June every year. It involves lots of outdoor concerts, a costume pageant, a raft race on the river, street markets and fireworks. http://www.festevigiliane.it/programma/schedaFeste.asp?Order=Z&Z=30
Suoni delle Dolomiti is an annual summer festival which has a programme of concerts, usually jazz, folk and world music, in stunning outdoor locations up in the Alps. Most of the concerts are on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, but for the super keen there are also some at dawn, usually on Thursdays. You can get to most of the concerts by car, but they usually provide an alternative route on the website for a 1–3-hour walk to the venue. Highly recommended. http://www.isuonidelledolomiti.it/
Also every summer is the ‘Specchi delle Stelle’ which is a programme of fireworks displays over some of the region’s lakes. http://www.infotrentino.com/ita/LocalInfo/Trentino/SpecchiStelle/
There is a very quaint Christmas market in Trento every year. The one in Bolzano is much bigger, but also much busier and almost unmanageable on weekends. The one in Trento, in my opinion, is a more pleasant experience and there is plenty of mulled wine, local gastronomic specialties, gift ideas and crafty things. It is on Piazza Fiera and usually starts a couple of weeks before Christmas.
Things to do in Trento
Castello Buonconsiglio. Every Saturday, there is a free guided tour in English of the Castello Buonconsiglio near the city centre (http://www.buonconsiglio.it/English/default.asp?SezSup=1&SezInf=0&Livello=1&Pag=0) , which starts at the Tourist Information Office on via Manci at 10 a.m. Entrance to the castle is €3 when you are part of this tour. The castle is also worth a visit unguided, but will cost more.
City tour. Also every Saturday, at 15:00 there is a free tour of the historic centre of Trento in English, leaving from the same place and lasting two hours.
Sardagna. Trento has its own cablecar, up to the village of Sardagna. The cable car runs every 15 minutes from the San Lorenzo bridge, near the train station. You can buy tickets at the cablecar. The tickets used are just regular Trento bus tickets, which are €9 for a book of ten and are each valid for 70 minutes. You may be able to buy individual tickets at the cable car. Don’t forget to validate the ticket in the little yellow box before you get on. At the top, there is a wonderful view of the valley and the mountains opposite. It takes five or ten minutes to walk into Sardagna, which is a sleepy little village. There is not much to do up there, but a lovely quiet place for a little walk around.
Parks. If you are looking for a quiet place to sit and read a book, there are a number of parks in Trento. Piazza Dante, opposite the train station, is the most obvious, but there is a small walled garden between via S. Marco and via Marchetti (close to the Castello Buonconsiglio) – a lovely quiet spot.
A nice place to go for a walk is either along the river, or along the Torrente Fersina, which is like a large mountain stream. At the top of the Torrente is a very large park called the Gocciadoro which is a great place for a walk in summer. It is near the hospital and buses numbers 1, 2, 6, 7 and 13 go there from the city centre.
Toilets. If you are in the Trento city centre and have to go to the toilet and don’t want to take a chance on a café toilet (often one of the hole-in-the-ground jobs), there are excellent free public toilets on Via Belenzani.
Free bikes. You can hire free bikes and go for a spin along the bike path which runs along the river all the way to Munich to the north and south to Rovereto. A return trip to Rovereto would take about 3 hours. In both directions you will find beautiful views of the mountains, the river, vineyards, apple orchards and the A22! Enquire at the tourist information office about hiring a bike (I think you have to leave them your passport). This is a large rack of them at the southern end of Piazza Dante not far from the station.
A note on opening hours
Do remember that shop/restaurant hours are very different here to what you are accustomed to. Almost everything closes from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day. Most shops etc. are closed on Monday morning. Most supermarkets are closed Wednesday afternoon (but not the Supermercato Trentini in the centre of town on Piazza Lodron). Pretty much everything is closed all day on Sunday. A lot of restaurants are closed on Mondays.
Day trips from Trento without a car
Bolzano. http://www.bolzano-bozen.it/emozioni-e.htm . Trains run very regularly to Bolzano from Trento and the journey is about 40 minutes. Bolzano is a very charming city, more picturesque than Trento in many ways, and has a very strong Germanic influence. Shopping and markets are better than Trento, and the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which houses the remains and story of Oetzi, the 5000-year old man who was found in melting ice in the Alps near the Austrian border, is well worth a visit. There may be queues to get in on the weekend though. A walk by the river is also a very pleasant way to spend some time here.
Sopra Bolzano. http://www.ritten.info/index_e.html. A favourite with all of our visitors so far. After arriving in Bolzano (see above), turn right outside the train station and keep walking (5 minutes) until you reach the cable car for Sopra Bolzano and the Renon. At the top there is an easy but picturesque walk (about 2 hours) through villages and meadows to the town of Collalbo where you can catch the little train back to the cable car. (Obviously you could, alternatively, catch the train to Collalbo and then walk back to Sopra Bolzano. A great place for lunch up here is Restaurant Babs, which you can reach by turning left (the opposite direction from Collalbo) at the top of the cable car.
Verona. http://www.tourism.verona.it/eng/guida_turistica/verona/storia.cfm . About an hour from Trento by train, with a regular service. We would recommend a visit to the Castelvecchio (http://www.tourism.verona.it/eng/guida_turistica/verona/virtual_tour/castelvecchio.cfm) and San Zeno’s church (http://www.tourism.verona.it/eng/guida_turistica/verona/virtual_tour/szenomaggiore.cfm) . Juliet’s balcony is a major drawcard, but unless you like to tick meaningless tourist attractions off your list, our advice is not to bother.
Innsbruck. http://www.innsbruck-tourism.at/ A bit of a stretch for a day trip at about 2 h 30 min–2 h 45 min by train (sometimes a change in Brenner, but many direct trains each day), but without a doubt the most fetching city nearby. On a day trip, you would be able to visit the alpine zoo, taking the tram up the mountain to it, and then take the Nordkett cable car in two stages further up the mountain for a truly impressive view of the valley below and a taste of alpine life. On a longer visit you would be able to do some hiking up there or alternatively take the Patscherkofel cable car (http://www.innsbruck-tourismus.com/index.html?_b=129028&_m=141670&_lang=en) from Igls (a nearby village) for some really great walks/views. In Innsbruck itself we recommend the Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art . If you are staying in Innsbruck, Pension Paula comes highly recommended and is walking distance to the city centre.
Merano. http://www.meran-tirol-algund.com/willkommen.php. Merano can be reached by catching a train to Bolzano and then catching another train (about 40 minutes). They run quite regularly. This can quite easily be done as a day trip. Merano is a very very pretty city to walk around, with a real Tirolean ‘spa’ atmostphere and well worth a visit.
Levico Terme. Levico Terme is a lovely lake about 40 minutes from Trento by train. It isn’t possible to do a full circuit of the lake walking, but the walk on the less steep eastern side is very pleasant. A great spot for a swim on a warm day. The town itself is also very quaint.
Lago Caldonazzo. A larger lake, just before Levico Terme, slightly more built up but also great for a swim and accessible by train. Calceranica is the stop to get off.
Monte Bondone. http://www.apt.trento.it/English/ENG_AreePicnic.htm Trento’s ski resort in winter, Bondone is a wonderful place to go for a walk in summer to admire the view of the Dolomites in the distance, and the alpine meadows. There is only one bus up in the morning, and one back in the afternoon – check at the bus station for details. Do not attempt this trip if you suffer from car sickness as it is a very steep and winding road. During certain months in winter there is a free SkiBus up to Monte Bondone. Wonderful downhill, and at Viote excellent cross country skiing also.
Day trips from Trento with a car
Monte Bondone. http://www.apt.trento.it/English/ENG_AreePicnic.htm Head for Viote via Sopramonte and you can go for a walk with a fantastic view of the mountains. Walk (or take the cable car) to the top of Il Palon for a view of Trento and the Adige valley.
Val di Fassa. http://www.fassa.com/cms-01.00/articolo.asp?IDcms=16235&s=559& You can reach the Val di Fassa in a bit over an hour by car. This is the place to go for hiking in the Dolomites.
Lake Garda. If you would like to visit Lake Garda, we would highly recommend the village of Malcesine (http://www.malcesinepiu.it/eng/default.asp). The village itself is on the lake, and has very quaint narrow shopping streets (often packed with tourists, but you can’t have everything). There is very pleasant promenade along the lake in a southerly direction where you will find swimming beaches. Another option in Malcesine is to take the cable car to Monte Baldo, which is quite spectacular. From the top you will have great views of the Dolomites and Lake Garda. The restaurant at the top cable car station is recommended for good food with an even better view. For all inclusive holidays to Lake Garda try a specialist tour operator like Inghams.
Lake Molveno. http://www.molveno.it/portale/modello.asp?id_page=28&lng=eng&sez=3&indirizzo=nullo In under an hour from Trento (along a very twisty mountain road) you can reach Lake Molveno. At this azure lake perched in the mountains you can swim, hire a kayak, or take the cable car up into the Dolomites to go hiking and get an even better view of the lake. Beware though, ‘cable car’ is a little bit of a misnomer. The first leg is more like a little cage that you stand up in, and the second is basically a chair suspended from a cable that you sit in.
Whether you are going for a walk or a drive, we strongly recommend buying a good map (Kompass or Tabacchi are two good brands. The best map shop in Trento is the Libreria Viaggeria, or ‘travel bookshop’, on San Vigilio). For any walk more than 20 minutes, written directions from a website will not be enough. Be careful – it is very easy to get lost in the mountains and not very easy to find your way again.