AMIDST ROMANTICISM AND BIEN VIVRE
Located just over a hundred kilometers from Venice, Verona captivates visitors with a stunning medieval historical center, encircling the Roman Arena – the ultimate stage for musical events in summer. Although the Arena attracts music lovers/aficionados from all over the world, the haunts of Romeo and Juliet are no less popular. Above all, Verona is known as the city of love. It is the famous setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but it is also a vibrant town, boasting an intense cultural life.
You are likely to stumble upon Juliet’s house (in via Cappello 23) with its beautiful Gothic portal and famous balcony, while strolling through the streets of the ancient city, amidst squares, porticoes, aristocratic palazzi, medieval towers, churches and courts. Romeo’s house, with its imposing crenellated walls, is located just a little further on.
The Adige river is located just steps away, and a sunset stroll along its shores and over its historical bridges allows visitors to absorb some of Verona’s most romantic, scenic views – the perfect place to fall in love.
DISTANCE FROM VENICE: 115 km
VILLAS OF BRENTA
The magnificent Brenta Riviera, crossed by the Brenta River and its canals, occupies most of the stretch of land that runs from Padua to Venice. Over the centuries, sumptuous villas, set in lush, beautifully tended gardens, were built on the banks of different waterways. There are approximately thirty villas, and the best way to admire them is from the water, embarking either in Padua or Venice for a pleasant day cruise, perhaps on board a ‘burchiello’, a reproduction of the ancient 18th century craft used by Venetian noblemen. Among the gems that embellish the shores, the monumental Villa Pisani in Stra, is a must see. Built in 1721 and set within one of the most beautiful parks in Italy, its interiors are enhanced by numerous works of art, including the magnificent ceiling frescoed by Tiepolo.
Palladio also left his mark on Brenta: near Mira, you will find the 16th century Villa Foscari also known as la Malcontenta. Its linear, classical facade conceals frescoed rooms and luxurious interiors that are further enhanced in the evening by flickering candlelight. In Mira, make sure to visit the 16th century Villa Contarini dei Leoni and in its vicinity Villa Widman, a spectacular 18th century complex. The last noteworthy aristocratic dwelling is Villa Sagredo in Vignovo. It was built on the remains of a medieval castle and is still inhabited, some say, by the ghost of Giovanni Sagredo, a disciple and friend of Galileo Galilei.
Lying at the heart of the city is piazza dei Signori, home to Palazzo dei Trecento and the elegant Loggia Dei Cavalieri. Its two rivers, the Sile and the Cagnan, meander gently amidst its streets adding a unique touch of charm to its historic centre encircled by the old town walls. Its colonnaded houses with their frescoed facades overlooking the Buranelli canal and the Isola della Pescheria tell of Treviso’s close relationship with its waters.
The artistic treasures housed in the Duomo and in the museum hub of Santa Caterina dei Servi di Mari are particularly noteworthy and include works by Bellini, Lotto, Titian and Bassano. Art lovers should make a point of visiting Casa dei Carraresi which hosts prestigious international exhibitions. A city with a beguiling charm all of its own brimming over with picturesque osterie and small cafes overlooking its squares.
DISTANCE FROM VENICE:30km
Padua lays claim to three thousand years of history, all of which are visible in its urban fabric, where spacious squares (the scenic Prato della Valle is the single largest square in Italy) alternate with paved alleyways, medieval houses and small aristocratic palaces. Not only the birthplace of Saint Anthony, to whom a large basilica is dedicated, but also the town housing Giotto’s magnificent frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. No trip to Padua is complete without taking a break at one of its historic cafés (the Pedrocchi is the most famous), either drinking a cup of coffee, or sipping a ‘Spritz’ cocktail.
DISTANCE FROM VENICE: 40 km