I have to admit, Mezzano wasn't on my radar when I first planned my Trentino trip. I only learned of this charming village at the foot of Pale di San Martino after going on a canyoning adventure in Val Noana. Mezzano was on our way back to the Brunet Hotel in Fiera di Primiero, where we were staying, and we stopped by for a couple of hours to explore the unique artistic woodpiles prevalent around town, known as ‘Cataste & Canzei‘.
Essentially, ‘Cataste & Canzei‘ is a project that sees Mezzano become an open-air museum, that enchants and surprises you as you turn each corner.
Our first introduction to this unique practice was right by the main parking lot when we came across The Old Forest (Il Bosco Vecchio) by artist Albino Rossi.
Albino was inspired to create an idealized yet real forest. The intertwining branches represent human relationships, and the silhouettes of a backlit forest showcase a dormant forest in the winter waiting to bloom again, much like the forests of Trentino in winter.
The next works of art we came across were the ‘Cornucopia‘ and ‘Time That Goes… Tradition That Remains‘.
The former was created by a young artist from Puglia who was inspired by the fact that wood is the most versatile and natural resource that mankind has always been able to rely on, as represented in his work by logs flowing like a waterfall.
The latter goes by ‘Temp Che Pasa… Tradizion Che Resta‘ in Italian and was created by Giuliano Rattin, who was inspired by the meaning of life. His work showcases the sun and the moon divided by an hourglass that's consistently ‘on', making the point that things have a beginning and an end, but that tradition never dies.
There's more to Mezzano than the artsy wood-piles. It's a charming and romantic village, a vibe you immediately get as you walk through the narrow cobblestone streets. All the houses are perfectly manicured and lined with flowers. It's one of the cutest villages I've ever seen and not one you will see many tourists in.
Mezzano is one of the most beautiful Medieval villages in Italy. With a population of under 2000 people, it still has a rural, romantic, old-time feel.
Walking through the village, there are numerous red boxes and plaques (Mezzano's signature color) that contain historical tales and cute anecdotes about the village and its people.
One such box is near a narrow wooden bridge (pictured above in the middle), that tells the story behind ‘The Bridge of Dreams', built years ago to connect the kitchen on one side of the street, with the house on the other side.
In addition to facilitating daily life, the bridge also led to a number of romantic rendezvous. Neighbors Angela and Giacomo secretly crossed the bridge to meet until they got married in 1953. Margherita and Michele followed in their footsteps a few years later.
It's stories like this that Mezzano is riddled with, a haven for hopeless romantics.
Interested in learning more about the village while you're there? The people of Mezzano have found an interesting way to address that, perhaps a practice indicative of the warm and welcoming community that lives here…
Just look out for a red chair, positioned in a different corner each time, and ring the bell that's on it. A local will come to greet you, answer questions, tell you about the history of the village, reveal anecdotes and hidden gems, as well as indicate where to eat or where you may find artisan work and local products.
The next work of art we came across was arguably also one of the most memorable, intricate, and unique.
Called ‘Mountain in Song‘ (Montagna In-Canto), it was created by Associazione La Stua. Formerly an ordinary concrete substation, it has now been transformed into a cheerful work of art that speaks to the poetry of the mountain, a connection between landscape and music.
Take a closer look at the details on the walls and you'll see the notes of the score intertwine with majestic peaks, homey villages, bell towers, meadows, deers, and ancient trees. It's so creative and well done, it blew us away.
Close by, we spotted ‘The Night In a Dream‘ (La Notte in Sogno) by Erica Schweizer. Set up alongside a house wall, this piece represents a ‘doll's house‘ coming to life and her personal interpretation of a folk love song.
Erica's artwork can also be seen around town as she also makes niches in woodpiles to put flower pots in.
As charming as it is now, Mezzano's history includes a tragic flood in 1966 that saw most of the village destroyed.
The tragic event is commemorated by Marco Baj, an artist from Puglia with the largest installation in the village, covering 80 square meters. ‘The Flood‘ (L'Aluvion), made of red larch wood, white marble, and iron, is a depiction of the village before the flood and is meant as a reminder of the price we pay when we violate the mountain.
Aside from the woodpiles, most houses have adorable wooden accessories or sculptures that add a little flair to every street corner.
On our way out of town, we caught a glimpse of ‘The Enchantment of Lena' (‘L'Incanto di Lena'), a creative piece inspired by romanticism.
The mermaid, known in mythology as a figure full of mystery and charm, floats on the side of a house, enchanting those who see her. There's a great parallel here between this work of art and the beautiful village of Mezzano.
Mezzano also has a few restaurants that we saw open while we were strolling around, and it'd be a perfect lunch stop if you're passing through.
Mezzano on the Map
You can find Mezzano on the map below. Located 50 km east of Trento, it's worth walking around for at least a few hours while you're in the area. Download the Mezzano Romantica app from the App Store or Google Play.
Many thanks to Visit Trentino, Visit San Martino, and Traverse for showing me around the beautiful San Martino di Castrozza municipality and for stopping in this charming village. All opinions, as always, are my own.