Trentino: A Family Heritage Travel Experience
By Tzell Travel Group Agent Tom Schmidt
It rarely happens that my wife and I can go on a trip with all three of our boys, but last year in August, we made it happen.
My wife and her family are originally from Austria, right by the Italian border in the Trentino area. Of all the places to visit in Europe, this is the one she most wanted to see. It was very interesting because her family had settled in that area and, while they are from Austria, they all have Italian names, speak Italian, and their food is Italian. The reason for this is because after WWI, that area changed from Austrian to Italian and finally to a Hungarian settlement. This was my wife’s dream heritage travel destination, and we took our sons and our oldest son’s girlfriend and her parents along to experience this fascinating region.
At the start of our trip, we visited a small town called Cremona, which was the home of Stradivarius. Most people know that Stradivarius stringed instruments are revered worldwide, but many do not know most of the valuable antiques were built by the family of Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th Centuries. My oldest child is a very accomplished violinist and his girlfriend is a great violist (they are both teachers in Virginia.) So, nestled in Cremona, we discovered the Museo del Violino, where you can learn all about Stradivarius’ life. It was a real travel highlight for our two musicians. They also offer music concerts at night, which is an extraordinary experience in the very town where the legendary violin-makers lived. The next day, we went to Venice for two nights, and then we went north to the area of Lake Garda.
The following day, we drove up to the mountains to a small town my where my wife’s grandfather was born and raised. My son and his wife had previously researched our family history and wrote about it, so it was a moving experience for my wife and the kids to “get back to their roots” so to speak. We went to this charming restaurant hotel, to which the entire family was apparently connected.