Environment For Members

Why Trento is ranked as Italy's 'greenest' place to live

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Why Trento is ranked as Italy's 'greenest' place to live
The city of Trento is regularly ranked among the best - and least polluted - places to live in Italy. Photo by Joshua Kettle on Unsplash

Trento was named as the most environmentally-friendly place in Italy by a new report, which urged other cities to follow its example.


Despite “slight improvements” over the past year, most Italian cities continue to face major problems with smog, traffic, water wastage, and other environmental issues, according to a new report from Italian environmental watchdog Legambiente published on Monday.

The 30th edition of the annual ranking, titled Ecosistema Urbano 2023, however highlighted some exceptions and named Trento and Bolzano the first- and second- most environmentally-friendly cities out of the country’s 104 municipal capitals.

READ ALSO: Why is air pollution in northern Italy so bad?

They were followed in the ranking by the nearby cities of Mantua, Pordenone and Treviso.

The ranking was based on five main categories: air quality, water usage, refuse, transport, and the environment.

Trento took the crown - overtaking last year’s champion, Bolzano - due to a drop in levels of nitrogen oxide in the air, and lowered water consumption and waste production, the report said.

The capital of the autonomous province of Trentino-Alto-Adige, which borders Switzerland and Austria, Trento is known as Italy's 'Silicon Valley' because it is home to a number of innovative industries and tech-based businesses.

Both Trento and Bolzano, which are relatively wealthy compared to many other parts of Italy, also regularly top rankings of overall quality of life in Italy.

READ ALSO: Why Trento and Bolzano are rated the best places to live in Italy

Mayor of Trento Franco Ianeselli tweeted on Monday: “A big thank you to all the people who work every day to improve our city.”

Having “courageous and visionary” mayors is precisely what sets some cities apart from others, said Mirko Laurenti, who leads Legambiente’s Ecosistema Urbano project.

“The best way to respond to urban emergencies” elsewhere is to follow the example set by these mayors, he said.

The “only sustainable way to truly relaunch the country, starting with the cities,” he said, involves planning urban spaces of the future with “fewer cars and less polluting vehicles, more sustainable transport, a circular economy, and more intelligent and connected infrastructure."


Whilst the news was positive for the north, and particularly the north-east, Italy’s major cities and southern regions fared less well.

The Sicilian cities of Palermo and Catania came joint last at 105th, while Milan ranked 42nd and Rome 89th.

According to Legambiente, work on improving sustainability in Italy’s cities has been “stagnant” for the past 30 years.

Italy’s motorisation, or car ownership, rate “remains, as thirty years ago, one of the highest in Europe: 66.6 cars per 100 inhabitants,” Legambiente noted.

The amount of refuse produced has increased in that time, it added, and public transport use is far below European averages and falling - with the number of journeys made by public transport in Italy overall dropping by almost a third since 1994.

READ ALSO: Why electric cars aren't more popular in Italy

“Cities must be rethought as engines of change,” stated Legambiente president Stefano Ciafani, adding that they need to be made “livable and on a human scale”.

Better infrastructure is needed, he said, urging improvements to reduce waste in the water distribution system, and an increase in the number of electric vehicle charging stations, among other things.


“We are able to do it, but we need that political will, at a national and local level, which has been lacking so far and which becomes more and more urgent year after year,” he said.

The report came a month after environmental data gathered by the EU-wide Expanse project showed northern Italy, and in particular the Po Valley and surrounding areas, had the worst air quality in Western Europe.

Data showed more than a third of residents in the area spanning Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto breathed air that was four times above the World Health Organization’s limit on PM2.5 – tiny airborne particles mostly produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

Proposals to curb pollution in industrial parts of northern Italy have long faced heavy opposition from business groups and politicians, who say doing so would impact the economy.

In the most recent move, Milan's mayor announced a contested plan to limit traffic in the city centre from 2024 to help combat air pollution.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also