Vicenza

Do you love architecture? Then you will love Vicenza a UNESCO World Heritage Site! This city is a successful blend of old and new and the city of Palladio!

Palladio
Andrea Palladio

Vicenza is a very old city dating back to pre-Roman times before it was absorbed into the Roman empire in 157 BC. However, it is the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio who lived and worked in this city that it is associated with. Located in the Veneto region of Northeast Italy it was basically known as mainland Venice being situated between Venice and Verona and 120 miles east of Milan. Situated at the base of Monte Berico it straddles the Bacchiglione River. It’s known for the elegant buildings designed by the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio who lived and worked here.

Lovely old neighborhoods along the river bank

Many of Palladio’s buildings still survive today including the Palladian Basilica and the Palazzo Chiericati, a Renaissance palace dating back to 1550, now home to an art gallery. His Palladian window was a source of inspiration for architects an designers around the world.

Basillica Palladiana
Basilica Palladiana

Basilica Palladiana, the most symbolic building of Vicenza is a very impressive building and one of the architectural highlights of the city. Constructed in the 15th century it is renowned for its loggia consisting of a series of ornate arches that run along both sides creating perfect symmetry and is opened in the warmer months where you can sit and enjoy an aperitivo or just take in the Piazza. It is one of the first examples of a Renaissance building to feature the Palladian window design.

In the center of Vicenza, the Piazza dei Signori is a historic landmark city square surrounded by Palladio’s masterpieces along with the Palazzo del Monte di Pieta, Chiesa di San Vincenzo, Loggia del Capitanio, Torre Bissara and the Lion of St. Mark and Christ the Redeemer columns. The leaning clock tower the Torre Bissara is from an old building previously on that site.

Piazza
Piazza dei Signori with Loggia dei Capitanio (on left)
Torre Bissara
Torre Bissara
Lion
The Lion of St. Mark’s with the Christmas lights still strung
Chiesa di San Vincenzo

The Cathedral of Vicenza- Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata, a Gothic style facade Roman Catholic church by Palladio in the 15th century built on the foundation of three earlier churches.  The bell tower dates from the 12th century and has 5 bells. The beautiful dome is a signature of Palladio.

Cathedral of Vicenza

 

Gate
The portico surrounding the city is 700 meters long and has 150 arches for the 150 Hail Mary’s it is said.
Vicenza
Vicenza

Palladio built more than 20 buildings at the eastern end of Corso Andrea Palladio one of the main streets in the historic old town center.  Like many main streets it is lined with palaces and other structures he designed. There are many fine shops and restaurants in this retail area. Of course, we stopped to enjoy my favorite an Aperol Spritz!  Which is your favorite Aperol or Campari!  I even discovered a new option called a Hugo Spritz made with St. Germaine!  Love IT!!!

 

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  1. THE QUINTESSENTIAL APERITIF

    Start by adding ice into the glass then pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol and add a splash of soda, top with a slice of orange. This serving avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.

    Preparation Time: 5 min

    • step 1FILL A WINE GLASS WITH ICE
    • step 2COMBINE PROSECCO DOC FOLLOWED BY APEROL IN EQUAL PARTS
    • step 3ADD A DASH OF SODA
    • step 4GARNISH WITH AN ORANGE SLICE

Recipe Courtesy: Aperol

The city was redeveloped after its devastation during WW2 with industry becoming the major economic drive of business.
Vicenza
Always take a minute and look back you never know what you’ll see! Chiesa di San Lorenzo

Nearby, also by Palladio, the Teatro Olimpico replicates a classic outdoor theater, indoors. Considered one of his most magnificent buildings. The interior is constructed entirely of stone, stucco and wood. The stage has stone statues on its facade, archways and plaster work.

On the outskirts of town, one of the most influential of Palladio’s buildings on a hill overlooking the city is the Villa La Rotonda with its 4 identical facades. This was historic as architecture was now being adapted to residential living. It’s amazing design and symmetry make it unique. Each side has a portico resembling the Pantheon in Rome which Palladio was inspired by.  If you are a fan of architecture I highly suggest you check this out on the internet as I could not get there as it was not in walking distance to the walled central historic district.

Ponte San Michel
Ponte San Michele
Did you miss the last few blogs on Verona?  Here is a link: Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou – in Verona?  Feel free to sign up so you don’t miss a story.
I try to educate my readers just a little on the history of the locales I visit so you are not just seeing pretty pictures but truly experiencing a city thru my eyes.  You can search for the city of your choice on the home page or by topic.  There are stories on gardening, landscaping theory and of course, my favorite Italy! Enjoy and feel free to share!

Verona’s Bridges

First thing upon arriving, after we were challenged by the hordes of traffic for The International Motorcycle Show and Motor Bike Expo, we made our way to the river and the Museo di Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages.  There are seven towers and even a draw bridge!

The Ponte Scaligero runs from Castelvecchio castle across the river and is a very distinctive bridge landmark in Verona.  The segmented arch bridge crossing the Adige River was the world’s largest span at the time of its construction in 1354. Along the river bank there are walking trails surrounding the city. The Scaligeri family ran Venice and the Veneto region in the 14th century much like the Medici’s ruled over Florence.  The castle has ornate tombs and towering family statues on pillars.  This so the people would “look up to them”.  Verona was, after all, one of Italy’s great powers.

Verona
Ponte Scaligero
Verona
Ponte Scaligero

Views from the Ponte Scaligero towards the Basilica di San Zeno


Verona
Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero

 

From the Ponte Scaligero you can see to the Ponte della Vittoria (see Featured photo) which also spans the Adige River. There are equestrian statues on either end and the view from the bridge back to the Ponte Scaligero and the Castelvecchio especially at sunset was amazing.  Since I got over there just before sunset I was too intent on the sunset over the Ponte Scaligero to capture the statues. Next time!

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Sunset over Verona’s Ponte Scaligero and Adige River

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The Ponte Pietra, Verona’s oldest bridge is a Roman-era stone bridge and you definitely want to walk across and up the hill to see the sunset and the views from the Castel San Pietro.  The bridge itself is very picturesque both day and night and affords some beautiful photo opportunities as you look up and down the river from the top of the bridge. Built in the 1st century B.C. it is the most ancient Roman monument in Verona.

Did you miss the last couple of blogs on Verona? Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou – in Verona? and Churches of Verona?

Here is a link to Asiago 

If you love the blogs be sure to sign up so you don’t miss the upcoming ones.  Of course, if you are looking for something in particular you can search by topic or city on my homepage!

Churches of Verona

Duomo Di Verona is the city’s cathedral and can easily be reached from the Ponte Pietra. It was constructed on the remains of two earlier churches that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. An absolutely beautiful church in the historic medieval center. The Basilica has striped brick and stone walls not unlike other churches I have seen throughout Italy.

Duomo
Verona’s Cathedral

Basilica di Santa Anastasia is the most important religious monument in the Gothic style in Verona. Funded by the Scaligeri family it was built around 1290.

Verona
Basilica di Santa Anastasia
Verona’s majestic Basilica Di San Zeno dates from the 12th century in Piazza San Zeno. The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is a striking landmark especially when viewed from the across the river. This Romanesque church’s bronze doors have 48 carved panel Bible Scenes and beautiful frescoes inside from the 12th – 15th centuries.
Verona
Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli, is an ancient Roman Catholic church built in the early 12th century on a pre-exiting Roman cemetery. Located right near the Porta dei Borsari mentioned in the previous blog on the Corso Cavour. A striking Veronese Romanesque bell tower stands apart from the church.
Verona
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli

 

Did you miss the last 2 blogs on Verona? Romeo, Romeo and Verona’s Bridges? Link to them to read more about this lovely city.

Also travel to Asiago near the Swiss Alps.  Looking for more Italy?  There are blogs on many different areas.  Here are links: Amalfi Coast; Puglia, including Lecce, Matera, Alberobello, Borgo Egnazia; Florence; Venice (stay tuned for some new Venice ones also); Tuscany including: Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Lucca, Pienza, Pisa, Arezzo. Montalcino, Montefioralle, Greve and Montechiello.  Whew!  That’s a lot of trips to Italy in the last few years!

Can’t wait to return!!!!

Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou – in Verona?

You know how the story goes…. those unforgettable words spoken by Juliet from that famous balcony supposedly in Verona- not really! Very touristy spot! I skipped Casa di Giulietta. There were however two real feuding families in Verona called the Capuleti’s and the Montecchi’s.  Juliet never lived in the 1300’s Gothic style house so popular with tourists in Verona.  Instead to show their love the tradition of putting a padlock on the wall was to show that couples were locked together. Well we know how that ancient story by  Shakespeare ended.  Okay enough about them!

Juliet's balcony
Juliet’s Balcony by my friend Kris Beal

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In Northern Italy’s Veneto region, at the base of the alps, Verona was actually the setting for 3 of Shakespeare’s plays. It is one of the 7 Provincial Capitals of the Veneto region and the 2nd largest city in the region as well as the third largest in Northeast Italy where it winds around the Adige River. It was an ideal stop before heading over the Alps. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its urban structures and architecture.

Verona
Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero

 

First thing upon arriving we made our way to the river and Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages.  There are seven towers and even a draw bridge. It was an important military stronghold of the Scaligeri family. Today it houses a museum.

Verona’s Centro Storico, its medieval center was centered around the Piazza dell Erbe the oldest piazza in the city originally the town’s forum during Roman times. Today there are vendors selling a variety of goods, souvenirs, fruits and vegetables surrounded by restaurants, palazzos, and shops.

Verona
Piazza delle Erbe and Torre dei Lamberti
Verona
Saturday markets

 

Standing tall in the Piazza is the Torre dei Lamberti with its octagonal bell tower and bronze doors depicting Biblical stories and old bells from the 15th century.  Originally constructed in 1172 it is the tallest medieval tower in Verona and offers panoramic views of the city. Today the Piazza is the home to markets but back in the 15th century it was home to the vegetable market and the fountain that still stands at its center – Fontana Madonna.

Verona
Piazza delle Erbe and the Statue of Fontana Madonna
Piazza dei Signoria, another city square has a statue of Dante Alighieri, Renaissance Palazzos as well as magnificent churches. It is lovely to just hang out in the these Piazza’s, visit with friends and of course drink an aperitivo! Of course, this is Grappa country! The longer it ages the smoother it gets.  Who knew!
The Verona Arena is a 1st century Roman amphitheater and very well preserved and Verona’s most famous monument.  It is the third largest Roman amphitheater after the Colosseum and the Arena of Capua. It is always amazing to me to walk the ancient streets in these cities where the Romans once walked and gladiators fought.  Today the Arena is used for opera concerts. If you are lucky enough to find yourself there in summer plan to attend the Opera festival.  The Arena is located in the largest square in the historic center in Piazza Bra. Another lovely spot to sit and enjoy the cafes, the company and the atmosphere.  Just take it all in and don’t be in a hurry! Savor this opportunity.
Arena
Verona Arena
Enter the city through the Porta Borsari- the ancient Roman gate that once marked the southern entrance into the city and was the main gate.  Verona successfully marries the old and the new.  You are at once transported back to Roman times while shopping at new high end boutiques.
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The Roman Arena constructed in the 1st century of pink marble was the 8th largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and actually predates the Coliseum in Rome.
Castel San Pietro, begun way back in 1851, sits high above the city. This was an Austrian military installation and was used to control the city during the Austrian occupation.
Teatro Romano is Verona’s most ancient structure built at the end of the 1st century B.C. It sits right below Castel San Pietro across the Ponte Pietra. Today it is used for events like the Shakespeare Festival.
Verona
Castel San Pietro and Teatro Romano
Chiesa Di San Giorgio sits along the river and can be seen from the Castel San Pietro. The views from up there were amazing in every direction! There was quite a gathering waiting for sunset!
Verona
Verona’s Cathedral (Duomo) and Chiesa di San Giorgio in Braida
If you have time, try to visit the Palazzo Giardino Giusti (Palace and Garden) widely considered one of the finest examples of an Italian garden.  This garden, a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping planted in 1580 combines manicured and natural cypresses and a parterre. Sadly, I did not have time to get over there.  As a garden designer I would have loved to see this but there’re only so many hours in a day, right!
This is not a small city but I found it very walkable.  I wish I had more time to explore, but more next time.  Always a reason to return! Did you miss the other blogs on Verona?
Thank you again to my friend Kris Beal who happened to be in Verona about the same time as I was and she did manage to capture Juliet’s balcony when I couldn’t get there.  Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/krismbeal
Did you miss the last few blogs on Venice?  Here is a link! Carnevale; The Magic of Venice and Venice –  an Elegant Old City

 

 

The Magic of Venice

This city is abundant with art and architecture.  Millions of people arrive daily to take in it’s atmosphere and wander its narrow streets. Hopefully, there will soon be a ban on those mega cruise ships that are destroying the lagoon!
Venice at night
The Grand Canal from The Rialto Bridge
Surprisingly, although there are no cars and everything is delivered via boat, there are surprisingly few accidents. How they navigate around is crazy!
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Venice
Venice
The Grand Canal at The Rialto Bridge
The gondoliers are a special bunch.  Did you know they must know the city’s history? They don’t just serenade you! Whether via gondola or vaporetto (water taxi) be sure to explore the city from the water.  You will see it from a completely different perspective than just walking around.
Gondola
Gondola rides
The city’s history is fascinating and the Grand Canal is lined with more than 170 13th – 18th centuries old Palazzos.  These buildings appear to sit on the water but their construction goes way back when they were constructed on pilings set into layers of sand and clay. (See my blog on Venice from 2017)
Pier
The smaller side waterways are called Rio’s and are crossed by over 400 small bridges. Over time the canals were deepened and widened to accommodate traffic.
Rio
There are only a few ‘Canals’ in the city: The Grand Canal- a giant “S” curve that winds its way through the center of the city; the Cannaragio Canal and Guidecca Canal.  The Grand Canal has four bridges that cross it: The Rialto Bridge; The Ponte degli Scalzi; the Ponte dell’ Accademia and the Ponte della Costituzione. Who can believe the Rialto bridge has stood for 400 years.
Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge
Venice
Ponte degli Scalzi
Accademia Bridge
Ponte dell’ Accademia
Venice is an amazing city in every way. Every piazza features another magnificent church. These are works of amazing art and extraordinary masterpieces of architecture.  We will explore these in another blog. Stay tuned!
Did you miss my recent trip to Asiago? As always, if you are traveling to Italy I am glad to recommend experienced Travel Agents who can make you trip memorable and tailored to your needs and desires. Of course, if you are traveling with a larger party and would like a photographer to document your adventures so you can just enjoy your trip, I’m your girl!

Asiago

Asiago is a small town in the northeastern Province of Vicenza located high in the mountains in the foothills of the Alps.  Best known for its Asiago cheese of course which is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese.

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This town was the site of a major battle in 1916 in WWI between the Austrian-Hungarians and the Italian forces. The Battle of Asiago was designed to knock the Italians out of the war and was the scene of the offensive’s heaviest fighting. Inside the memorial lie over 60,000 soldiers.  Several relics surrounded the Memorial on the terraces.

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WWI Memorial- a monument and museum

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Skiing? Did anyone says skiing?  This town is also a major ski resort.

The scenery is stunning and the townspeople welcoming. A nice change from the bigger cities.  Asiago is located in a large green plain in the heart of the Veneto region and reaches up to 2,350 meters above sea level and was completely rebuilt after WWI.

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The Dome of Saint Matthew is built using traditional pink marble, also local and stands opposite the City Hall.

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The City Hall is constructed with white and red local marble in the classical style.  When the bells ring you can hear them all over town.

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The Gardens of the Carli Square and the bronze statue in the Fountain of Faun is devoted to a mythological creature astride a deer. The central statue is a faun, the divinity of flocks and fields, with pointed ears, horns and goat feet.  He is surrounded by forest animals. It stands beside the Catholic Church of San Matteo.

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The Church of Saint Rocco dates back to the XVI century and was destroyed during the Great War. It is in the Romanesque style with frescoes on the ceiling and walls of the interior.

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Tourists roamed the streets and were enjoying the cafes and squares on the sunny Sunday I visited. The buildings are very Austrian looking due to its close proximity and influence from Germany, Austrian and Hungary.

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We saw a multitude of walking paths.  Oh I so wanted to take a hike but – alas- not the right shoes for the occasion!

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Of course, you know I took home CHEESE!!!!  Stay tuned for more from my recent trip to the Veneto region including Vicenza, Verona and Venice.

Looking for more Italy?  There are blogs on many different areas.  Here are links: Amalfi Coast; Puglia, including Lecce, Matera, Alberobello, Borgo Egnazia; Florence; Venice (stay tuned for some new Venice ones also); Tuscany including Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Lucca, Pienza, Pisa, Arezzo. Montalcino, Montefioralle, Greve and Montechiello.  Whew!  That’s alot of trips to Italy in the last few years!

Can’t wait to return!!!!

 

 

 

 

VicenzaOro

Vicenza is the Italian and world capital of gold jewelry making and I was honored last week to accompany my sister to the VicenzaOro show to watch her work!

VicenzaOro is one of the world’s largest gold jewelry expos.  There are several other jewelry shows throughout the year but this is the largest in Italy. Hundreds of exhibitors and Buyers come from all over the world and represent at least 16 countries.

 

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Vicenza itself has many jewelers in this town alone that are family owned businesses working in gold for many generations. However, there were vendors here from all over the world.

Over 600 years of tradition and technical skills are passed down from generation to generation from Master to Apprentice. The gold chains produced here in Vicenza are works of art.

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On display were the latest trends in style and design in the gold and jewelry market and the most innovative technologies. Wow – what an experience! such fun!!!!!

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