The countryside around Venice is full of its own charms and you cannot make a trip to Veneto without making a stop in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, home of the grape brandy. This city of grape in the Vicenza province elegantly combines art, nature, culture, history, food and wine.
The town is situated at the point where the flat Veneto plains reach the hills leading up to the Alps; it takes its name from the nearby Monte Grappa. Every visit to Bassano del Grappa (Italy) usually starts with a promenade through the Ponte Vecchio (Old bridge), where tourists usually stop to take pictures at the breathtaking panorama on the mountains or to shop for craft products in the nearby shops.
The view from the bridge is really amazing and changes according to the light in different seasons and times of the day, making Bassano bridge the ideal spot for creators and photographers wanting to take the perfect shot of this city.
At the eastern end of the bridge, locals gather for happy hour at Nardini, Italy’s oldest distillery dating back to 1779 and still serving drinks in the retro atmosphere of the original laboratory. Here you are supposed to order a round of “mezzo e mezzo” which is the bitter house speciality.
A few steps ahead, Nardini’s competitor Poli has its free entry Grappa Museum, where you can smell and test virtually unlimited Grappa kinds. Continuing your walk, you will arrive in the historic centre of Bassano is built around a medieval centre, full of churches, among which the ancient church of Santa Maria, old buildings and the Castle.
The territory is also famous for its outdoor sports and nature: from rowing on the Brenta River to paragliding on the Grappa peaks; from historical hikes along restored trenches and flowered slopes to the simplest tours in the gentle hills of Marostica.
Wine tourism is definitely the best sport to practice in Veneto, where you can visit wineries in Italy like nowhere else.
The best winery in Bassano is Villa Angarano, well deserving a visit and if you plan to stock up on Italian wine, but cannot carry it with you on your flight, the winery will organise bulk shipping of multiple crates to your destination.
To end the day in beauty, if you like neoclassicism art, you should not miss a visit to Possagno, a small town in the province of Treviso (just 20 km far from Bassano del Grappa). Canova, one of the leading exponents of Italian neoclassicism, was born here by a stone cutter.
Noblemen, popes and rich from all over Europe made the queue to get one of his great demanded sculptures. Napoleon also did commissioned his portrait. His sculptures are still today scattered across museums, palaces and private collections around the world.
In the centre of Possagno there is the house in which the artist was born and the Gipsoteca (gallery of plaster casts) exhibiting the plaster casts of his masterpieces.
The sculptor was buried inside the majestic Tempio Canoviano (the Temple of Canova), a neoclassical church planned by Canova himself. The Tempio Canoviano, where the artist rests, dominates the town and the surrounding countryside and taking inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome.
The monumental temple is decorated inside with sculptures and busts of Canova. In summer, by the way, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding areas from the top of the temple.
Just a few steps from the Temple, there is the Canova museum (admission € 10 per person), which hosts a rich collection of marble and gypsum works such as Cupid e Psyche, the Venus Statue and the Three Graces. (On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 11am and 3pm, individual visitors, couples and families can take advantage of the museum guide service. The cost of the service is € 4.00 per person in addition to the admission ticket Reservations are recommended. )
How to get there
By air: The nearest airports to Bassano del Grappa (Italy)/Possagno are Treviso Airport, served by Ryanair (as ‘Venice Treviso’), Venice Marco Polo, and Verona.