Finding Shelter in Rango
Rango is a tiny town located in the Bleggio Plateau of the Trentino Alto-Adige region of Italy. One of only four designated “Borghi Più Belli d’Italia” (The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy) around the region, this quaint village has superbly maintained its rich history, culture, traditions and art. Rango has a rich folkloric past filled with stories of pilgrims en route, shepherds tending their flocks and merchants and lonely travelers spending a night or two before moving on.
With its old houses lined one next to the other connected by porches and halls, Rango seems to be a fortified place. Yet in reality, the village represents a unique example of rural architecture of the mountains that is not often found in the region.
Rango was once an important point of passage on the road that led from Giudicarie valleys and Val Rendana to Garda and Venice. The town was an important stopping point in which passengers and merchants would stay during long winters. It was an ideal place to find refuge from bad weather because of its system of covered connected passages, halls, porches and inner yards. This unique architecture has stood the test of time and remained unchanged since the 18th century.
Time seems to have stood still in Rango, as the mountainside village and its rocky terrain remain true to its roots from centuries ago. The town is filled with low-ceilinged archways, narrow alleys, foot bridges and open courtyards.
Rango’s “pride of the valley” is without a doubt the Bleggio walnut. The fertile highlands around the village have been the perfect growing spot for walnut trees which dotted the landscape since the 16th century. With a thin shell that is easy to crack, the meaty inside has a pleasant taste and spicy flavor. Still handpicked with tender care, the Bleggio walnut is eaten raw, added to regional cakes or turned into a strong liquor called nocino. It is even used in producing a rare walnut salami that’s the rave of the area and beyond.
Although the village is quiet most of the year, it becomes a bustling city that welcomes guests from around the world for its annual Mercato di Natale (Christmas Market) during December. Visitors can sample and purchase specialties linked to the walnut, along with a host of other local crafts.
If you ever find yourself in the Brenta Dolomites above Trento, Italy, be sure to visit the village of Rango. Find shelter, sample the Bleggio walnut and take a stroll back in time.