The name Bondone derives from the Trentino dialect Bondù, meaning “place where to take refuge at night or from danger, fortified village”.
A village suspended in time, where traces of modernity creep slowly, intelligently. What strikes the visitor is above all the feeling of slipping into the past: walking along the small streets, characterized by arches, steep stairs and narrow shortcuts, creeping through the houses leaning irregularly against each other, is like going back a few centuries, when only the coalmen and their families lived here for four months, and the rest of the year Bondone remained silent and abandoned, waiting for their return.
The inhabitants of Bondone were a devout people, as the frescoes – expression of popular art – that can be admired on the façades of the houses tell us.
Visiting this Borgo is like entering a labyrinth of paved streets, with the walls and houses telling its story, leading the visitor magically to the Church, dedicated to the Nativity of Mary, on which churchyard you can enjoy a splendid view of the valley. The church has three naves, each housing an altar.
As soon as you arrive to the Borgo you can not help but notice, on the façade of the house in Via Giusti 24, the fresco dating back to the sixteenth century and depicting the Madonna in Trono breastfeeding Baby Jesus. There are also satirical images, such as the one dated 1672 in Via Baroni 13. The painting represents the coronation of the Virgin, a King who offers money to Death in exchange for life.
Castel San Giovanni was presumably built on a pre-existing Roman structure and has always been owned by the Counts of Lodron, a family whose origins date back to the year 1000. It is from Castel San Giovanni, looking more like a military fortress rather than a noble residence, that the Londron’s ruled from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century. The castle was then abandoned two centuries ago. It was accessed through a drawbridge and enjoys a magnificent position overlooking the entire valley. The restorations carried out by the Municipality have brought the Castle back to its ancient splendour, enhanced by the extraordinary position it enjoys, perched on a rocky spur.
“Bondone in strada” is an event that takes place in the second weekend of August, a two-day international street artists festival around the arcades and squares of the Borgo. Fireworks, fakirs, jugglers and many other buskers will wrap the magical atmosphere of Bondone in an aura of mystery.
During the event you can also taste the typical dishes of the area, such as the yellow flour of Storo, which is used to cook the famous polenta, the Alpinec char, the Bear’s red chicory and the malga cheese.