Veni, Vidi, Vicenza
In between Venice and Verona in Northern Italy is located Vicenza. Unlike the neighboring towns, Vicenza is allowed a little bit to take care of itself, and that is actually what makes the town and the province so attractive. Not least if you want to go on holiday in Vicenza by bicycle.
Vicenza is not just the name of a city the size of Aalborg, but is also in the province in which the city is located. Here are both mountains, hills and flat agricultural land, so there are good opportunities for cyclists of all kinds. The town of Vicenza is beautiful and classic in the Italian way with beautiful buildings, lively squares and lots of cafes, restaurants and cozy places with delicacies of all kinds. Life must be lived.
Veni, vidi, vici are Caesar's famous words: I came, I saw, I conquered. But in this case, it must be Veni, Vidi, Vicenza - I came, I saw, and Vicenza won. For the city has so much to offer.
Andrea Palladio - Vicenza's own architect
One of the city's greatest sons is the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. He was originally born in the neighboring town of Padua, but they have apparently forgiven him.
Palladio has made Vicenza a mecca for you who like beautiful churches, beautiful palaces and not least beautiful villas - in fact magnificent mansions - which the whole area in and around the city is full of. It's hard not to be impressed by Andrea Palladio's works, and especially the villas set in motion the dreams of the sweet Italian life.
Grappa on your holiday in Vicenza
The sweet life requires wet and dry - and preferably in abundant quantities. This of course also applies in Vicenza, and here it is grappa that is on the menu. Grappa is made as an extension of wine production, and good wine is plentiful in this part of Italy.
At the foot of the mountains lies the town of Bassano del Grappa: the capital of the Grappa. Here you can visit the distilleries, for example in the historic family-owned Poli, and hear stories - and robbery stories - from past grappa brewers.
You can of course also be allowed to taste the many special varieties. A little insider tip from here is to try it with lemon. But be careful; grappa can be addictive - and strong.
Bicycle hotels, bicycle routes, bicycle life
Bassano del Grappa is not only the capital of grappa, but also of cycling. The locals still proudly tell about how little Bassano hosted the World Cycling Championships in 1985, and the city invites for a ride on the two-wheeler.
A bike ride through Bassano's small cozy streets is obvious, and so is a ride along the river Brenta, which runs through the town and under the old covered bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, as designed by Andrea Palladio.
If you want a little up in the thin air and work a little harder to get the pedals around, then there are good bike routes up to and around the mountainous and hilly surroundings just outside the city. Several hotels in the city are definitely bicycle hotels, which can help with all the practicalities of bicycles - and also provide a lift up to the heights, so you can just take the trip down by bicycle. We are not all in Giro d'Italia form…
The past lurks in Vicenza
The mountainous regions of northern Italy and not least of Veneto have been battles for major battles over time. Especially in World War I, the area around Vicenza was hit hard as the front lines moved back and forth in the mountains north of the city.
On a hill outside the small town of Asiago stands a large war memorial, which contains the earthly remains of more than 50.000 Italian and Austrian soldiers who lost their lives in the mountains during the Great War. It sets the mind in motion to walk around inside the monument. Here are the names of the tens of thousands of young men whose lives never really got started.
The bike ride up to the monument goes through beautiful green landscapes, which clearly outweigh the heavy history.
Holidays like the royals
When you cycle around the province of Vicenza you will definitely come across some indescribably beautiful Renaissance villas in beautiful surroundings, and many of them are designed by the master himself, Andrea Palladio. Some are private and can only be seen from the outside, while others are open to the public so you can enjoy the beauty up close.
One of them is Villa Valmarana ai Nani, which is known for its murals - frescoes - which in themselves are worth a visit. The artists behind the paintings are father and son Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, who are among the most renowned court painters in 1700th century Europe. You can stay in the villa in luxurious and historic surroundings and live like a king for a day. Or several days if one is not enough.
That the villa is worthy of a king - or perhaps rather a queen - is proof: They have pictures of Queen Ingrid, who has spent summer holidays in the villa with Princess Benedicte and Queen Anne-Marie and the grandchildren.
It is then a royal recommendation that wants something.
Rent a bike in Vicenza - with or without auxiliary engine
If you really want to go out and feel the province of Vicenza and Veneto and enjoy the fresh air along the way, then it is obvious to rent a bike and take the ride at your own pace. The landscape invites for cycling, but since it goes up and down once in a while, it may be an idea to choose an e-bike with an auxiliary engine. Then you get a little help when the landscape and the legs start to feel.
There are plenty of places to rent bikes, and many hotels have direct contact with rental companies, which take care of everything, so you just have to make sure to cycle and enjoy life along the way.
There are definitely bike hotels, which have space for the equipment, own workshop and extra service for both you and the bike if needed. And then of course you should also be allowed to relax with pool, spa and a cool drink when the day's 'stage' is over.
World-class everyday food
It is impossible to think of Italy without also thinking of world-class food and wine. Here, Vicenza is at the very top of the scale. You will often find risotto on the menu and the area is also known for its clipfish, especially in the dish Baccalà alla Vicentina. It's much better than it sounds, so finally order a round of the local specialty - of course with an excellent local wine. Soave and Valpolicella are both from Veneto and excellent choices for just about anything on the menu.
Cheese is also in a class of its own in Vicenza and the surrounding area. Asiago in particular is well known, so you should try it, but do not hold back from trying all the different other local cheeses. They have plenty - even of the mild kind for the less cheese-tasting.
All in all, there are local delicacies of all kinds, so feel free to treat yourself. It is part of a holiday in Vicenza.
Teatro Olimpico - meet antiquity on your holiday in Vicenza
In the heart of the city of Vicenza is a theater that may not look like much from the outside. The Teatro Olimpico - the Olympic Theater - on the other hand, is something very special once you get inside. It was, of course, one is tempted to say, Andrea Palladio, who was behind the theater, but he did not get to see it completed before his death. Palladio's last great masterpiece is today a monument to himself and antiquity that he was so inspired by.
It's the pure time travel when you sit on the hard wooden battens that make up the seating, and let the stage suck you in and back in time, Back to the time the great Greek dramas unfolded - and still unfold when the carpet goes in the Teatro Olympic.
The theater is full of whimsical little details and funny stories about the local Vicenza citizens through time, and it is not only on stage that there is drama.
Life in the shadows is not so bad even
The Veneto region is perhaps best known for Venice and Verona, and it is probably best that way too. This means that Vicenza and also the neighboring city of Padua can be allowed to be a little more at peace.
Life goes on quietly here. Both in the city and in the beautiful landscapes around, and it seems that the locals thrive fine on being a bit in the shadow of the larger cities to the west and east. Then they have all the glories a little to themselves - together with us who come to visit. By bike or otherwise.
Good trip to Italy. Happy Holidays in Vicenza.
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RejsRejsRejs was invited to Vicenza by COMMITTEE The Italian Chamber of Commerce and the Consorzio Vicenza é ViBike Tourism. All attitudes are, as always, our own. Some pictures are from Consorzio Vicenza é.