Friday, October 16, 2009

In & Around Vicenza

This past weekend Les had a function to attend in Vicenza.  I tagged along and took off exploring while he was occupied.  First, I must mention that Northern Italy is like another country compared to Sicily and Southern Italy.  It was clean, the roads were in good repair, and people generally behaved in an orderly fashion!!!  I had no anxiety about taking our rental car out onto unfamiliar roads and exploring with the help of my handy GPS.

My day started out with a lot of rain but I didn't let that stop me.  I drove into the centro of Vicenza, found a place to park and then geared up with my camera bag, umbrella & jacket.  As I walked around I had my camera tucked under my coat and the umbrella over my head.  Eventually I did get a break from the weather and was able to fold up my umbrella and focus on the architecture around me and taking pictures.

I spent most of my time walking the pedestrian only Corso Palladio with short jaunts down side streets. One such walk led me to the Piazza dei Signori.  This piazza, Vicenza's main square, has been the center of town ever since it was the site of the ancient Roman forum.

Piazza dei Signori

Tower of the Basilica Palladiana

The Basilica Palladiana, with its 270-foot-tall, 13th century tower, dominates the piazza.  This was not a church, but a meeting place for local big shots.

The back of the Duomo (I think)

Facade of S. Corona

After enjoying the centro of Vicenza I  headed out into the country in search of a little town called Bassano del Grappa.  In the hotel I had browsed brochures about regional sights and discovered that there was a wooden bridge in Bassano, designed by Palladio in 1569. While the existing bridge isn't the original (it has been destroyed & rebuilt several times), it was definitely worth the trip.

Bassano del Grappa was beautiful.  I didn't want to leave.  It was nestled up against the mountains, and with the stormy weather there was a lovely fog/mist clinging to the surrounding hills.

Bassano & its Ponte Vecchio

Once I was in Bassano and had taken a few pictures of its famed bridge I decided it was time for some lunch.  There was an English pub nearby so I decided to give it a try.  Once I was seated and took a closer look at the menu I realized that the food wasn't very English.  I had hopes for fish & chips. Oh well.  I ended up with a delicious salad, a small beer, and a fantastic view to enjoy while I ate.


The view from my table

With a full tummy I set out to explore Bassano del Grappa.  The town isn't large, but I didn't have a map of its tiny streets so I took many "wrong" turns and enjoyed each one immensely.  It is amazing the treasures one can find when they go the "wrong" way.

Hilarious chairs in a shop window

Another view of the Ponte Vecchio, this time from the other side, looking down

Walking across the bridge

Looking upriver from the bridge

A lantern in front of a shop

Eventually I returned to my trusty rental car and decided to check out a walled town I had seen as I was driving toward Bassano. 

The walled city of Marostica

I parked outside of the city walls and walked through its cobblestone streets. Some of the buildings were in very good repair, some, not so good, all were quite old.

Marostica's main piazzza

The sun was starting to get a bit lower in the sky.  I stopped in the piazza above for a bottle of water and a gelato.  Soon I would have to head back to the hotel.

Eventually I had to head back to Vicenza, the hotel, and my waiting husband. I wasn't sure what to expect when I took off for a day on my own in an unknown (to me) part of Italy, but I had a marvelous time and discovered places that I certainly would like to return to someday.

1 comment:

Trav'ler Jenn said...

You pictures make it even more pretty that I remember! Amazing camera work lady!