After fighting through crowds of summer tourists in cities like Rome and Venice, often in stifling heat, it is a pleasure to arrive in Bassano del Grappa; hardly a tourist is anywhere to be found, the sky is brilliant blue, and the air feels crisp and clean.
What a shame then that so few tourists ever visit lovely Bassano del Grappa; there is so much to see, and it is such a beautiful city with a charming ambience all of its own.
The old town is the highlight for me, with its narrow lanes that tempt me to explore and where a wonderful trattoria always seems to be lurking around every corner, just waiting to tempt me inside—a slave, forced to follow the delicious aromas to a table, a glass of wine, some pasta, and tiramisu, which was invented in nearby Treviso.
After lunch, I'll perhaps visit some of the lovely churches and follow that up with a late afternoon aperitivo in a piazza. Then there is the famous wooden bridge, Ponte degli Alpini, one of the very last of its kind in all of Italy.
Still not enough for you? Well, then, the natural setting is extraordinary; you almost feel as if you are in an alpine village, what with towering snow-capped mountains all around and the crystal-clear Brenta River running through the town center.
Come here during the chilly days of winter, when mornings are very bright and rather fresh, and you'll quickly understand why the traditional heart-warming grappa is drunk from morning to night.
Not surprising either when you consider that the city is the home of the best grappa in the world! They even add it to their espresso, which then becomes "Caffè Corretto," meaning "corrected coffee". To create a Caffè Corretto, a shot of espresso is "corrected" by adding a small amount of grappa, creating a delightful and flavorful beverage that fuses the rich intensity of espresso with a subtle kick of alcohol.
This creation is more than just a drink; it's a cultural experience that embodies the Bassano del Grappa's love for both coffee and spirits.
Enough said, and anyway, words can never describe Bassano properly, so let me get onto the photos. Last thing, though, if you do visit, I'd recommend you stay at the very pleasant Hotel Dal Ponte.
Everything about Bassano's wooden bridge, originally designed by Andrea Palladio in 1569, is wonderful.
The bridge serves as a vantage point for admiring the picturesque town that unfolds on either side. From its middle, you can marvel at the flowing waters below, the ancient buildings that line the riverbanks, and the distant backdrop of the Venetian Prealps.
Bassano del Grappa's wooden bridge has also become a cultural hub. Artists, musicians, and local craftsmen often gather along its length to share their talents with passersby. The bridge's proximity to the town's historical center makes it a natural gateway, leading visitors on a journey through narrow streets adorned with boutiques, cafes, and art galleries.
The bridge has been destroyed and faithfully restored on a number of occasions, most recently after World War II. Take the time to enjoy a grappa in the famous 250 year old distillery at the entrance to the bridge. You do need to be in a group of six or more, though, and book ahead; details on their website.
In 1834, the illustrious writer George Sand aptly described the experience of being in this city as "one of the greatest fortunes that could ever befall a traveler." And, oh, how profoundly right she was! Her words echo through time, capturing the essence of a place that holds the power to enchant and transform all who set foot within its bounds.
This city, with its historical tapestry woven with threads of culture, art, and heritage, stands as an open invitation to explore, discover, and be captivated.
Walking through its charming alleyways and grand boulevards, one can't help but feel an indescribable connection to the past and to the stories that have unfolded within its walls.
George Sand's words serve as a reminder that travel is not just a physical journey; it's an emotional and intellectual expedition. It's about encountering the unfamiliar, immersing oneself in the culture, and embracing the moments that become cherished memories.
I've always loved these open-air cinemas that pop up throughout Italy during summer. This is the one in the park in Bassano.
Palazzo Sturm, with its stately facade and historic resonance, acts as a fitting guardian for the artistic heritage it houses, the Ceramics Museum. The meticulously curated collection traces the evolution of ceramics. From ancient artifacts to contemporary creations that reflect the fusion of tradition and innovation, every piece encapsulates the spirit of creativity that defines Bassano del Grappa.
The town's ceramics have long been celebrated for their intricate designs and vibrant colors. Each piece, whether functional or decorative, is a testament to the skilled hands that shaped it and the stories it carries. Walking through the museum's halls, you're invited to immerse yourself in the world of glazes, forms, and techniques that have been passed down through generations.
The old town is such a pleasure to stroll around. Not only are many of the roads pedestrianized but there is none of the summer tourist crush that you find in many other Italian cities.
Standing as a testament to centuries of devotion and artistry, the 18th century Church of Saint Francis in Bassano del Grappa offers a sanctuary where history and faith converge.
Adjacent, lies the Civics Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town's rich heritage. Within its walls, ancient echoes resonate through archeological finds, connecting modern-day visitors to the lives of those who walked the same streets centuries ago.
But it's not only the archeological treasures that grace this museum's halls. The collection also boasts works by some of the finest artists in history. Gazing upon pieces by luminaries like Rembrandt and Spagnoletto, one is transported across time and space, standing witness to the masterful strokes of genius.
A great little bar in quaint Vicolo Jacopo da Ponte.
Elegant Viale dei Martiri (two photos above) provides great views across Bassono and towards the mountains.
Mom and child - Italians love family!
Grappa toothpaste...not sure I could do this one.