In central Veneto, where many rivers run, lies the Province of Vicenza, an ever-changing landscape of mountains, valleys, water courses, art cities, and food and wine itineraries offering evocative landscapes, as well as many an opportunity for a rather pleasant vacation.
In the north lies the plateau known as the Altopiano di Asiago and its eight municipalities: dressed in a palette of colors, the emerald valleys and meadows scattered with cyclamens, primroses, woodruffs, and lilies of the valley mix with the dark green of thick woods, softened when the white snow covers the entire panorama.
Below the plateau lies the Bassano zone, dominated by Monte Grappa; it is the perfect destination for those charmed by the tranquilizing scenery of gently-rolling hills, places of remembrance, traditions and old trades.
Even further down are the wide valleys of Alto Vicentino, with their remarkable natural, historic and artistic landscapes.
The Basso Vicentino area, a strip of land in the far south of the province, appears as a geometrical mosaic covered by rows of vineyards, olive trees and fruit trees. The mighty rocks of the Berici Hills hover overhead.
Vicenza, situated in the plain's center, is a fine exemplar of all the art, history, nature and culinary traditions the region has to offer offer.
The villas of the Veneto Region reached their apex in the 16th Century with the designs of Andrea Palladio, considered the best architect of his period for the elegance of his forms and the incomparable style he imparted to his creations.
Palladio is certainly well-represented in Vicenza and its environs, and constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994; a tour of all his works would entail a visit to 39 of this maestro's architectural sites.
In the old city center, the wonderful Piazza dei Signori is dominated by the superb Loggia del Capitanio, and by the impressive Basilica Palladiana, where the architect, unknown at that time, realized the double order of arches and loggias.
The streets and piazzas of Vicenza are dotted with impressive works by Palladio, such as Palazzo Chiericati - one of the most beautiful buildings of the 16th century- and the Teatro Olimpico, originally designed by Palladio and later developed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. Outside the city, Villa Almerico Capra, known as La Rotonda, is Palladio’s undisputed masterpiece, with sumptuous interios, frescoes, and stuccoes.
Not far away, Villa Valmarana "ai Nani" (dwarfs) takes its name from the 17 stone dwarf statues now lining the Villa's surrounding walls. Palladio deserves the credit for the elegance and harmony of the architectural forms, while Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo are responsible for the wonderful paintings decorating the interiors. Different talents combined to create a remarkable and invaluable construction.
Tiepolo is the other great artist who contributed to the artistic beauty of Vicenza and its Province. It is possible to admire his canvases throughout:from the Palazzo Chiericati Gallery and the Church of Santo Stefano to Churches of San Vito, San Modesto and Santa Crescenzia di Noventa Vicentina and, finally, in the famous Villa Cordellina Lombardi of Montecchio Maggiore.
The Montagna Spaccata is a wonder of nature, a deep crevice hollowed out of the rock by torrents and geological mutations through the centuries. It is a fabulous landscape to climb, day and night, along stairways and pathways that meander through this captivating natural oasis.
This mountain is recounted through the legend of the doomed love of Etele and Jordan, whose relationship was put to an end by an act of sorcery. Not far away, located in the wonderful scenery of Conca Smeraldo, at the feet of the Piccole Dolomiti, Recoaro Terme is one of the most renowned spa baths in Italy. It is the ideal place to regenerate and recover psycho-physical balance, thanks to the curative properties of the local waters and the inspired surroundings.
The Asiago Plateau and its municipalities offer breathtaking natural landscapes, both in snow-covered winters and in summertime, when nature reawakens its explosion of colors.
The various landscapes of the Province of Vicenza offer a wide variety of opportunities for sports enthusiasts.
Climbing, paragliding, and four-wheeling call to the more adventurous, and mountain biking, trekking and orienteering to those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground. Choose your thrill and seek out the charm of Vicenza - from the Berici Hills and Monte Grappa to the Asiago Plateau.
When the snow falls, the opportunities for a fun-filled vacation within nature multiply: think skiing, snowboarding, sled races and ice skating. The famous Marcia Bianca - now in its 37th edition - is an exciting opportunity for cross-country skiers to test themselves over 15 or 30-mile routes, beginning with Enego.
If your idea of the perfect trip resides in the culinary realm, rather, the Strada del Vino (a Wine Route) shows off the terrain that bears Recioto di Gambellara, and the DOC wines of Breganze, and the Berici Hills.
For foodies and gourmands, treat yourselves to the Strada del Gusto. An array of food and wine routes speak to the ancient flavors and exquisite local specialties, such as Baccalà alla Vicentina (dried codfish) or Asiago cheese, Made in Italy-labeled products that are internationally renowned for their quality and excellence.
For those crazy for chocolate, Vicenza offers three days of excitement, with more than 50 booths to satisfy every sweet tooth. We are talking about CioccolandoVi, the event totally dedicated to chocolate, where the most famous chocolatiers offer up this delight in many different forms and recipes.
The sagre or food fests that are celebrated every year in the municipalities of Vicenza are absolute musts: choose from wine, cherries, water, and even corgnoi (snails) celebrations. Finally, historical re-enactments run throughout the Province, including the famous Partita a Scacchi (chess game with live chess pieces), takes place in in Marostica.
The Vicenza area is, by tradition, bound to the cult of good wine and its passion for good food, with a variety of food from cheese to fish and cold cuts. The Asiago Plateua is renowned for cheese (Asiago PDO, Morlacco and Burlacco, produced only in summertime in the Grappa area). Strong and singular flavors are offered by cold cuts like the Soppressa Vicentina (a perfect combination of sweet and peppery); the Veneto Berico-Euganeo PDO and the Val Liona hams; and even donkey meat salami that can be grilled, fried or eaten raw with polenta.
The land offers a variety of fruit and vegetables, particularly white asparagus and the white radicchio of Bassano del Grappa; the potatoes of Rotzo; the cherries of Marostica; the mushrooms of Costozza; and the black truffles of the Berici Hills. As for fish, the most famous is without a doubt the baccalà alla vicentina (dried codfish), followed by the excellent brown trout, prized for its white meat and delicate taste, and cooked in tinfoil, grilled or boiled.
These authentic dishes can be complemented with a glass of good wine, the production of which Vicenza Province is no novice.
A favorite among the wide variety of distilled liqueurs here is certainly bassano del Grappa.