Welcome back to Ask a Local, a series of posts in which I interview locals all over the world about what to see, where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in in their city or town. The following interview was originally published in my Italy guide.
Today I’m happy to introduce you to Matteo Principe Biondo, a sports enthusiast and restaurant owner here to tell us all about Dro – a Medieval town located on the floodplain and surrounded by hills.
First, tell us about you.
I ‘m Matteo. I’m 30 years old and have lived in Dro my whole life. I love doing sports outdoors and this place is ideal. In just a few miles, we have lots of sports and geographic diversity.
For example, there are wonderful trails for mountain biking enthusiasts, incredible walls for climbing and canyoning, and, of course, Il becco dell’Aquila (a BASE jumping exit famous worldwide). We also have a motocross circuit, where every year the most important riders in the world come and ride.
If someone is visiting Dro and Garda for the first time, what do you recommend they see or do?
If someone was visiting for a day in Dro, I would advise him to take a ride to the Marocche—the site of an impressive postglacial landslide. A walk through the interior of this unique landscape is an experience in emotions and energies. Many come here just to do yoga or meditation or to see the dinosaur footprints.
What neighborhoods or parts of town are best to stay in?
This is a very small place, so geographically your choices of where to stay are pretty much the same. The old town has some traditional, unique B&Bs.
Let’s talk about day trips…what nearby places should everyone make sure to visit?
There are many great climbing routes that are nearby. A short walk from the center, you can climb a waterfall or go through wonderful places by bridges. The view from our area is unique, from the magnificent Medieval castles to the views on the lake.
Tell us about the local dishes. What should people try here?
The traditional dishes of Dro and the surrounding area are la carne salada (cuts of meat, cleaned of all fat, sprinkled with a mixture of salt and spices, and placed in a container for two to five weeks depending on the size) and li strangolapreti (a typical dish of cucina povera—the poor kitchen—strangolapreti are stale bread dumplings with spinach, eggs, and Grana Trentino served with melted butter and sage). The town of Dro is also famous for its cultivated plums—la susina di Dro.
What are your top three favorite bars and restaurants?
Obviously my own restaurant—Alfio—tops my list. As for bars, I recommend La Parete Zebrata.
What is the best way to meet locals and make friends?
During the summer, it is easy to find people and make new friends in places where you can practice sports, on the beautiful beach on the river Sarca, or in the lovely oasis of peace, Ponte Romano. The Basso Sarca (which is the area from Dro to Lake Garda) offers an infinite number of places to play outdoors and, without a doubt, the shore of Lake Garda is the place to meet new people.
Why should people make sure to visit Dro and Garda?
The simple answer is that this place is truly unique, with varying landscapes, all pleasing to the eye, and the thousand-year history that you can still feel when you visit today. Then there’s Marocche, with its particular energy.
Another reason is the climate. Lake Garda offers mild winters and summers that aren’t too muggy. It is the farthest north place in the world where olive trees are grown.