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Stage 17 - Bassano del Grappa - Madonna di Campiglio

The stage

The Bassano del Grappa–Madonna di Campiglio is a high mountain stage, along which we will enjoy breathtaking views of the Dolomites. However, before starting the ascent, let's stop and visit the starting point, Bassano del Grappa, and the nearby Marostica.

Recognised for bravery during the war of liberation, Bassano is a pretty medieval centre at the foot of Monte Grappa. The city's symbol is the Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Ponte degli Alpini, built to a design of Andrea Palladio. The bridge has been rebuilt several times following natural and historical events but Palladio's original design has always been respected. At one entrance to the bridge is the Museo degli Alpini, a museum dedicated to the collection of First World War finds and accounts.

Bassano del Grappa - Veneto

Bassano del Grappa's Museo Civico is one of the oldest civic museums in the Veneto. Inside there is an entire wing dedicated to Antonio Canova, works by Giambattista Tiepolo, Artemisia Gentileschi and Francesco Hayez, and the Crucifix of Guariento, a masterpiece of medieval art.

Marostica, just 6 km from Bassano, is surrounded by fascinating medieval walls connecting the upper castle, located a hill overlooking the town, colle Pausolino, with the lower castle in the historic centre. Spread out in front of the Lower Castle is Piazza degli Scacchi: in even years, a living chess game takes place here on the second Friday, Saturday and Sunday of September, with figures in Renaissance costume instead of pawns. The event, much treasured by the local population, recalls a legendary chess challenge which was devised to prevent a bloody duel between two knights who were in love with the same lady.


Marostica - Veneto

If you want to admire the city and its panorama from above, put some comfortable shoes on and take the Sentiero dei Carmini, a path which follows the ancient walls from the Chiesa del Carmine up to the upper castle.

If you continue along the path, you come to Arsiero, a town known above all for the pozze di Arsiero: a small canyon dug out by the Astico stream. There are rocks overhanging the waters, lakes and small bays and the water is crystal clear.               

From Veneto we cross into Trentino and visit Folgaria, in the heart of the Alpe Cimbra ski area, an ideal location for lovers of sports and outdoor activities. In the summer, you can go trekking, walking or mountain biking here; in winter, the Folgaria Fiorentini ski area offers 74 kilometres of slopes and 22 lifts guaranteeing maximum fun for both expert skiers and beginners.

Madonna di Campiglio, the Pearl of the Dolomites, welcomes cyclists. The small town has been a tourist resort of the highest order since the 19th century, when it was the favourite place of residence of Princess Sissi and the Emperor of Austria. Immersed in a unique setting, between the Brenta Dolomites to the east and the Adamello and Presanella glaciers to the west, Madonna di Campiglio is one of Italy's most renowned ski resorts. One of the Alpine Ski World Cup's most spectacular special slalom races is held on the “3 Tre” slope.

Madonna di Campiglio - Trentino

Madonna di Campiglio is also able to satisfy lovers of active outdoor holidays in the summer, with trekking, cycling and mountain biking itineraries in the surrounding area or in the nearby Adamello Brenta Nature Park, which has 450 kilometres of mountain trails. Exciting experiences in nature, enhanced by the splendid, surrounding landscapes of the Brenta Dolomites.

Not to be missed

The city of Vicenza, one of the most beautiful in the Veneto, was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 because of the harmonious integration of its architectural works into its urban structure. Much of the credit goes to Andrea Palladio, the 16th century Venetian architect whose style influenced the history of world architecture. The Palladian Basilica, Palazzo Chiericati, the Olympic Theatre and Palazzo Valmarana are just some of the extraordinary examples the Palladian genius bequeathed to the people of Vicenza.

Vicenza - Veneto

In 1996, the UNESCO site was enlarged to include 24 Palladian villas located in the countryside and the smaller towns of the Veneto. The most famous of them is probably Villa Almerico Capra, known as 'La Rotonda', just outside Vicenza. The idea for the creation of a central-plan building with a dome comes from the Pantheon in Rome and the entire structure is a miraculous combination of geometric rigor and grace of form. The villa has in turn been a source of inspiration for numerous other projects around the world, including the White House, the residence of the President of the United States of America. One curiosity of note: Palladio took great care when designing the villa's natural interior lighting; its plan is such that the sun's rays pass through it more freely in winter while leaving the interiors more in the shade during the summer.

Villa Capra, known as 'La Rotonda', Vicenza — Veneto

Another city of art which absolutely must be visited is Trento. It tops the charts in Italy for its quality of life and location. It is packed with history and immersed in a unique natural environment. We begin our visit from Piazza Duomo, dominated by the imposing outlines of the church and the Palazzo Pretorio. In the centre of the piazza stands the Fountain of Neptune. With the mountains in the background, it is a spectacular panorama, one which encompasses architecture and nature in a single glance. The noble palaces in front of the Duomo are worthy of note; their facades are adorned with renaissance frescoes. A walk of about ten minutes takes you to the Castello del Buonconsiglio, a mighty, ancient fortress which today houses art and archaeology collections. The Muse, the natural science museum, is also very interesting, both for the quantity of its finds and for its various reconstructions and workshops. The building, designed by Renzo Piano, is also an architectural masterpiece.

Trento - Trentino

For contemporary art lovers we recommend a visit to the MART, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. The collection ranges from Futurism to Metaphysics, from Arte Povera to Conceptual Art, and includes the most current experimental work. The temporary exhibitions are original and well presented. The main site is located in Rovereto and was designed by applying innovative technical solutions to models of the past, such as the Pantheon or the Palladian villas.

By bike

La ciclovia del Brenta

The Brenta cycle path is one of the most interesting cycling routes running along an Italian river. The itinerary begins at the mouth of the river on Lake of Caldonazzo and ends at the Venice lagoon. The cycle path crosses the province of Vicenza, passing right through Bassano del Grappa.  You can consult a series of itineraries and maps on this link and thus enjoy a bike ride along the Vicenza banks of the Brenta and its surroundings. Some stretches are immersed in the undergrowth, others cross cultivated fields and orchards; the landscape range from the plains to the mountains of the Asiago plateau, and to hills surrounded by cherry trees. The routes allow you to visit art cities, such as Bassano and Marostica, or villages with an aura of antiquity. Visits to the locations of the Great War should not be missed.

Mappa di uno dei percorsi sul Brenta - Veneto

Map of one of the routes on the Brenta — Veneto

Palladio Landscapes

Anyone wanting to combine outdoor activities with a cultural tour will find this easy route in the province of Vicenza of interest; you will come across many Palladian villas as you travel along it. By clicking on this link you can read a brief presentation of the itinerary and download the gpx track and the map.

Trentino by bike

Trentino offers many services and itineraries for cycling holidays. If you want to be accompanied by the echo of the great champions' exploits as you ride, then we suggest these five tours through the Dolomite passes. The routes are quite challenging but the distances are never excessive, and the best reward for your efforts will be landscape in which you will find yourself immersed.

Passo Pordoi - Trentino

However, if you're looking for suggestions for slow-paced holiday cycling or you want a taste of adventure on the seat of a mountain bike, or if you want information on bike hotels in Trentino or you need anything else, here's a series of tips and suggestions of all kinds for your holiday on two wheels.