Medieval cities of art and nature
An itinerary suitable for every season.
Nine steps in eight days to experience the Veneto in its most famous aspects, including also some hidden treasures.
We begin in “the learned “ Padua. In the world of cultural tourism of the Veneto the city of Padua, with its distinctive character contrasting with its “older sisters” of Venice and Verona, occupies a significantly high position.
Every day the solemnity of its monuments merges with the cosmopolitan bustle of the market and the students. The University here is in fact one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1222.
Losing oneself in the lanes and alleyways of the centre is the perfect way to capture the spirit of the medieval town which Padua once was and remains, being also the focus of important advances in science and medicine which have changed our lives.
Our tour also explores the religious and devotional spirit which has reigned for 800 years in the Basilica of S. Antonio, the mysterious depictions by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel, an absolute masterpiece of 14th century art, the judicial face of Padua in its Palazzo della Ragione (the tribunal of 1218), and the learned aspect in the Palazzo del Bo’, the university, where our visit will take in the famous Anatomy Theatre and the podium of Galileo Galilei.
A stop at the famous Caffè Pedrocchi, the café “without doors” (so-called as it never closed) gives us the opportunity to take a refreshing drink and enjoy a premium live jazz performance.
“La Signora” Venice is the most loved city in all the world, unique for its beauty and magic in its suggestion.
1500 years of history moulded into a city which opens onto other worlds: here emotion is guaranteed.
Whoever sets foot here brings this city into their own heart and holds it forever. One can never tire of looking at Venice, because one lives Venice.
Its origins date back to the 5th and 6th centuries, with the city quickly assuming its own unique identity based on its peculiar geographical environment.
Strong ties with the Byzantine Empire produced a style of art and architecture combining eastern and western elements in perfect harmony, which gradually became known as “Venetian”.
Thanks to its commercial and military determination Venice today boasts an unrivalled artistic heritage.
There are in fact so many things to see in Venice, a city where every corner reveals a masterpiece of beauty and history. From those marvels our tour will comprise the following sights:
Piazza San Marco, with the Duomo, campanile and clocktower ,the Gothic-style Doge’s Palace, former residence of the rulers of the Republic, the Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove, the Rialto bridge with its arches full of shops, the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, and the magical architecture of some of the most beautiful palazzi on the Grand Canal (Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Vendramin Calergi).
We continue with a visit to the most important museums and art galleries such as the Accademia.
Not forgetting of course shopping in the most exclusive boutiques, a drink at Harry’s Bar, and a taste of the finest fish-based cuisine.
The first thing which strikes the visitor to Treviso is the omnipresent equilibrium of the city, with the calm flowing of its waters, and the procession of ancient palazzi and weeping willows reflected on the shimmering emerald surface of its canals.
The city, demarcated by the rivers Sile and Cagnan, offers in a certain sense the “ideal stroll” through the cultural values of the region, a long way from the concept of mass tourism yet at the same time providing numerous marvels of nature and art: a tranquil and stress-free approach to the riches of the region.
Our tour begins along the main street, Calmaggiore, which contains many structures from the Medieval and Renaissance epochs.
This leads us to Piazza dei Signori, a space outside time which is Treviso’s most loved public face and where we find the symbol of the historical centre of the town: the Romantic Palazzo dei Trecento.
Also to be seen are the Casa dei Carraresi and the Loggia dei Cavalieri, the Duomo and the Malchiostro chapel, and the churches of S. Vito and S. Lucia, S. Francesco and S. Niccolò. We round off the tour at the Museo Civico 'Luigi Bailo' where we can admire masterpieces by G. Bellini, Lorenzo Lotto, Titian and J. Bassano.
Vicenza is an aesthetically perfect city, a priceless jewel among the crown of Venetian art. A humanist city and megalopolis of culture.
Our first leg takes us to the Palladian Palazzo Chiericati, which in addition to a magnificent display of the genius of the celebrated architect is also the home of the Museo Civico, with inestimable exhibits, evidence of an immense artistic heritage.
This takes us immediately on to the perspective masterpiece of the architect, namely the Teatro Olimpico, itself the pinnacle of artistic scenic representation.
We continue to the central Piazza dei Signori where we can admire the solemnity of the Palazzo della Ragione: the edifice which Palladio “appropriated” from the Medieval period to create something truly unique.
The Loggia del Capitaniato bids us farewell to Palladio to embark on a meeting of the spritual side of Vicenza.
Thus we find ourselves on a gentle hill lying to the south of Vicenza: perched on top, reached via a suggestive passageway through cypress avenues, lies the Baroque spectacle of Monte Berico, home to major works of art such as Veronese’s “The Supper of Saint Gregory the Great” and the “Pietà” of Bartolomeo Montagna.
We conclude our tour once again returning to the illustrious Palladio, by a visit to La Rotonda, the most famous of his villas, composed of four perfectly equal façades which stand out among the surrounding green of the countryside.
Verona is the principal land gateway to the Veneto, and is fortunate in lying at the intersection of greatly varying environmental climes.
Verona is a concentrated blend of history and legend capable of leaving deep emotions in the heart and mind of the visitor.
From the Arena, one of the most important Roman monuments, which dominates the splendid Piazza Bra’, we encounter the enchanting locations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: under the famous balcony of the 13th century house traditionally known as the Capulet’s abode.
Here we have found the two keystones of the so-called City of Love.
Our tour continues with an exploration of the mystic and religious aspect of the city, a fundamental element for capturing the typical Medieval spirit, and which is embodied perfectly in two magnificent structures: the Romantic-Gothic Duomo and the spectacular Basilica di San Zeno.
Following to Piazza delle Erbe, taking in the “ancient” everyday atmosphere, we can witness the Medieval –Renaissance- Baroque blended in a harmonious picture of beautiful palazzi which encircle the characteristic marketplace.
Our tour continues to Piazza dei Signori, another jewel case of supreme architectural gems to admire: the Palazzo del Comune, Palazzo del Capitanio, Loggia del Consiglio, and arches and porticoes of the Scaliger times.
Our visit concludes with a trip to Castelvecchio, a breathtaking fortress built by Cangrande II following the natural bight of the river Adige. Today it houses one of the best Venetian art galleries, whose rooms, in addition to their artistic beauties, provide stunning views of the river and the Ponte Scaligero.
Arquà Petrarca and Montagnana
ARQUA’ PETRARCA. A small fortified town in the green silence of the Euganean Hills with more than 2000 years of history, it appears to have magic remained in the Middle Ages.
Francesco Petrarch the poet spent the last years of his life here, and his body rests in a striking monument: a red marble arch from Verona of clearly pre-Christian inspiration, adorned with a 15th century bust of the poet.
Petrarch’s house remains of course the main attraction for the visitor to this cultural city. The house has undergone several periods of restoration, and yet still preserves its original quiet and charm: the great poet’s chair, writing desk and library are still imbued with the spirit of his thought and immortal works.
Other noteworthy places for the visitor include the parish church, the oratory of the Holy Trinity, and the Loggia del Vicari.
MONTAGNANA. Our journey through time proceeds to Montagnana, possibly the most well-preserved Medieval city in the whole of the Veneto region. The view from the city walls is awe-inspiring.
Along the 2km perimeter we encounter magnificent edifices, among which of note are:
Porta Legnano (the fortress also known as the Rocca degli Alberi) dating from the 13th century, with its original wooden gates, and the Castello of San Zeno, today home to the Museo Civico.
Moving on to the Duomo we can see the Transfiguration of Veronese and the splendid great altar, attributed with all probability to Sansovino.
Leaving the city walls we reach Palazzo Pisani, an exceptionally fine Palladian structure.
Our tour continues on to Rovigo, in the heart of the Polesine.
This elegant city was known as Rhodigium in the Middle Ages, and exercises a particular charm over the visitor: the combination of splendid monuments, the fascination of the surrounding nature, the mists which enshroud the city throughout the year: a captivating place.
Our first leg takes in the castle with its two towers known as Donà and Mozza, dating back to the 10th century. The former has become one of the city’s symbols.
Strolling along from here we can admire the Venetian architecture of Biagio Rossetti in the form of Palazzo Roverella and the cloister of S. Bartolomeo, and the Palazzo Roncale of Michele Sanmicheli. Such magnificent edifices have increased the valuing of Rovigo as an artistic centre.
We continue with a visit to the Accademia dei Concordi (1580), home of the library and gallery which contains a highly-important collection of works by local (Venice and Ferrara) painters from the 15th-18th centuries such as G.B. Tiepolo, Piazzetta, Luca Giordano, Giovanni Bellini, Alessandro Longhi, Rosalba Carriera, and Palma il Vecchio. After we visit the Museo Civico, situated inside the monastery of S. Bartolomeo, with its interesting archaeological and natural exhibits.
We conclude our tour in the Po Delta, a true marvel of nature: an “amphibious” region of more than 400km2 of land and water which is the largest natural park in Italy and the greatest humid zone in the whole of Europe.
Here we can observe rare species of flora and fauna, and witness the typical casoni, the rural houses with oversize chimneys which were the reference points for fishermen and guardians of the valley, all set within a highly delicate ecosystem of canals, marshes, lagoons, reed thickets and sand bars.
In brief: an exploration of an unspoilt world.
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