Our first stop will be in the town of Marostica. Located 59 miles north of Venice at the foot of the hills Marostica is a great example of medieval fortified city encompassed by a tall wall and dominated by the upper castle. This city is very well known for the Chess tournament played by human chess-pieces in the main square on even years. Other events are the cherry festival held in May and June and a summer exhibition of local crafts and an antiques market on the first Sunday of every month. You’ll enjoy a leisure stroll in Marostica crossing the main square where one of the castles stay and through the narrow streets of the city center.
The city of Bassano del Grappa, named for nearby mount Grappa and crossed by the river Brenta, will be our next stop. Bassano is a medium size town of 40.000 inhabitants situated at the point where the flat Veneto valley reach the hills leading to the mountain range of the Alps. The centre of Bassano is pretty and very compact and well worth a walk. To enter the city we’ll first cross the iconic covered Alpini Bridge designed by Palladio and rebuilt many times, the last one after II WW. By the bridge there is a small museum dedicated to the grappa liquor run by the Poli distillery. The walk will unfold through the three main squares of Bassano, piazzotto Montevecchio, piazza Libertà and piazza Garibaldi. They are lined with arcades, connected to each other and filled with cafès and shops. Before leaving Bassano you’ll enjoy a great view over the river and the famous bridge.
Next stop in our itinerary will be the small hill town of Asolo, possibly the best preserved medieval village in the Veneto region. The historical fame of Asolo begun in 1489. In that year it was awarded by the Venetian senate to the former queen of Cyprus Caterina Corner as her own princedom after Venice took possession of that island. The location, the surroundings and the very little changed urban fabric of Asolo made it a premium vacationing resort since the 19th century. Among the very well known people who lived in Asolo were the poet and writer Robert Browing, the explorer Freya Stark and the actress Eleonora Duse. During our stay we’ll walk through the old town and reach the castle, from this point you’ll enjoy a great view of Asolo.
Villa Barbaro at Maser stands out among the many villas built in Veneto by noble Venetian families. The Barbaro brothers commissioned their villa to Andrea Palladio who completed the building in 1560. The architect perfectly fulfilled the wish of the two learned men for a resort where they could dedicate themselves to the study of the arts and intellectual contemplation in the peacefulness of the countryside.
During our drive will stop in the best spot where to take a picture of the villa.
The final part of this tour will be a drive through the hilly vineyards in the Prosecco district. The wine route unfolds through an amene succession of waving low hills covered by vyneyards interspersed by small villages. Before starting our journey back to Venice we’ll stop in a local winery where you can taste this celebrated Italian wine.