If there is one city in all of Italy and maybe the world that needs no introduction it is Venice. There is only one! When you take the time to study this city which emerged from the sea it is realized that it is an edifice of art, architecture and design and, of course, transportation. Of its many hundreds of canals spanning bridges no two are alike, which is typical of Venice. As with the differences of each of the elements that comprise the city – everything fits. It is true that ‘the city in the water’ is the magnet to this area of Italy but nearby there are so many other attractions.
Within a few miles of Venice, the area around Treviso will delight you with one magnificent Palladian villa after another, many frescoes and art works of Tiziano and Giorgione. With that said, though, when I can, I will visit my friends in Bassano del Grappa, a jewel of a little town. Here I will stop into the Nardini distillery which is the largest producer of grappa and owned by the Nardini family for a few hundred years and my good friend of over twenty-five years, Jacopo Poli, of the Poli distillery. You should know that grappa today is much more expensive and finer than the original product which was described as ‘liquid fire.’
Bassano is considered the capital of grappa and its main street is filled with shops offering it in bottles of every shape and size, but the centerpiece is the wide, wooden, covered bridge designed by Palladio in 1569. This bridge has had great historical significance throughout history as it has been destroyed in battles and World War bombings, but rebuilt each time. The Bassano Bridge is not the major work of Andrea Palladio. He started out as a humble stone mason to become the most sought after architect of the sixteenth century Renaissance period and inspired architectural design for every century to follow.
Not far from Bassano is the Villa Rotonda, which Thomas Jefferson took as his inspiration for his Monticello and the design of the University of Virginia. The Italian Tribune recently did a comprehensive feature on Palladio and his many designs on the Via Andrea Palladio. I hope you take the time to digest features we offer because they are the real reflection of your heritage and culture. No one and no other has such a rich history.
And for those of you who may be wondering about my ‘condition’ after visiting my distillery friends, allow me to conclude that I am thankful I had a driver and not asked to walk a straight line!!