In the heart of Vicenza...
With all the comforts of home, and...
For couples and families
Vicenza is ideal for people who enjoy photography, the wealth of architecture and abundance of colorful street scenes make for rich pictures. This afternoon street scene is in Corso Palladio, the main street in town, lined with shops, cafes and passersby. It's a real "scene".
Squares in Italy are places for people to sit and relax. While not as big as Saint Marks square in Venice, Piazza dei Signori is just as elegant, surrounded with Palladian architecture. Whether you're sipping wine, having a gelato or simply hanging out, the square is a place for everyone.
I just had to include this shot of the basilica in the square with its arches tall and proud. The town of Vicenza commisioned Andrea Palladio to patch up 3 Roman buildings which had been falling down over the centuries, he came up with this work of art. Not bad for a first job.
Under the arches of the basilica are steps leading up to the first tier where there are often art exhibitions and other events. When the town asked Palladio just how he intended to hold everything up his reply was short and simple, "arches my friends, arches".
Italian nightlife at its best in Piazza delle erbe just behind the main square. Older folks drinking wine, the younger generation with a beer in hand. Nightlife in Italy is a mixture of all ages and classes. Whether in private clubs or outdoor cafes, locals and tourists enjoy socializing in Italy.
Monte della pietà in piazza dei signori dates back to 1409 and was a place to go when you wanted to pawn your valuables. The church of San Vincenzo directly behind the facade was built 20 years earlier and as was the practice back then the altar faces east.
The two columns in Piazza dei signori were built at different times. The lion represents the Venetian republic and was once the only column in the square. It wasn't until over a century later that the second column was built in honor of Vicenza and its citizens.
Another view of Corso Palladio in Vicenza Italy, this time looking west towards Porta Castello. As is common in most Latin countries, on Saturday afternoons young people come in from the country to walk along Corso Palladio. The boys look at the girls, and the girls look at the boys.
The courtyard at Teatro Olimpico is nearly as beautiful as the theater inside. Many people have pictures taken here among the sculptures and ivy, especially during weddings. Vicenza is full of beautiful courtyards, but you need to do a bit of "peeking" to find them.
Like most towns and cities in Italy, Vicenza is full of outdoor cafes. The "bridgehouse" here has a nice view of nearby Ponte San Michele. Italians have long understood the importance of taking their time and relaxing, and outdoor cafes just seem to fit right in to the culture.
Cycling in Italy is very popular, and Vicenza is an excellent base for anyone interested in cycling holidays in northern Italy. The bike path behind the B&B heads south 20 kilometers along the Berici hills which are full of well established "green trails" just for cycling enthusiasts.
Corso Palladio downtown is the main road in Vicenza, yet it is closed off to traffic. The downtown area is full of majestic palaces, street cafes, boutiques and shops. At the far end is Teatro Olimpico, about a 3 minute walk from here.
Italian wine bars are more social institutions than anything else. Ugo's wine bar in front of the duomo is characteristic, and set in a 500 year old building. It has a wide selection of fine wines that you don't find in normal bars. The locals enjoy sipping wine and just shooting the breeze.
Bars in Italy are places to take a break during the day and have a little snack or cappuccino. Unless you're at Harry's bar in Venice, you'll find that most bars in Italy are reasonably priced and serve little snacks for those who can't wait till dinner time. This bar is in Piazza dei Signori.
Street cafes like this one right in Corso Palladio are all over Vicenza. Part of the charm of small Italian cities like Vicenza is walking downtown (in centro) or sitting at an outdoor street cafe and people watching. Of course, the people YOU are watching just may be watching YOU!
View of the Basilica in piazza dei signori from the Retrone. The photo was taken from Ponte Furo - the oldest bridge in Vicenza, built by the Romans 2000 years ago. To the left is campo Marzio in front of the train station, to the right the Roman theater.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful bridges in Italy, Ponte San Michele enchants Vicenza and is another great spot to listen to young musicians on summer evenings. Just past the bridge is "le barche" where boats docked years ago.
The square in front of the main post office in Vicenza is an excellent playground in addition to hosting interesting flea markets twice a week. In summer there are many events downtown, from bands in the square to villagers hawking their produce.
One of two rivers that winds its way thru Vicenza, the Bacchiglione joins up with the Rettrone in front of the bed and breakfast guesthouse in Borgo Berga, and together they make their way towards Venice and the sea. In the background a city bus crosses ponte degli angeli.
The church atop Monte Berico stands majestic and overlooks Vicenza. The church is a nice walk up thru winding cobblestone roads directly behind the bed and breakfast with eagle eye views of Vicenza and surroundings. On a clear day you can see Romeo's and Juliet's castles.
Halfway up Monte Berico in Vicenza. This shady rest stop looks over Vicenza and the duomo. To the left is the archway and stairs leading up to the church. To the right is Porta Monte and the steps leading down to the guesthouse.
The stone pathway leads from Monte Berico in Vicenza at the top to Porta Monte at the bottom of the berici hills. The trail evokes memories of a time long forgotten when kings and queens ruled from castles in the medieval villages and cities of northern Italy.
Halfway down the walkway from Monte Berico in Vicenza. The architecture of the villas lining the hills is a sight to see, with beautifully landscaped gardens and marble sculpture and statues.
Viewpoint at the top of Monte Berico. In summer the piazza up here really fills up with young people playing music and enjoying the cool air. The mountains in the background are lined with little towns and villages, Asiago being the main one where the famous cheese is produced.
Piazza dei signori is the center of town and a meeting point for many. It is common to find musicians and artists in the sqaure busking for a penny. The square in Vicenza is among the most charming in Italy, illuminated by the architecture of Andrea Palladio and La Basilica.
The bike path in Vicenza is a wonderful place to walk or ride - or skate! It was once the railway tracks for the "vaca mora" (brown cow), a local train huffing and puffing its way eastward thru all the neighboring towns and villages around Vicenza.
The bike path is nearly 20 kilometers long, but here we are at the beginning behind the guesthouse in Borgo Berga near Porta Monte. It's a 5 minute walk to the Rotonda from here, and a 10 minute walk downtown to piazza dei signori.
Perhaps the most famous of all villas, La Rotonda is a masterpiece of Andrea Palladio and was the model for the capital building in Washington. The name translates to "The round" because of its 4 equal sides. It's just a 5 minute walk down the bike path from behind the guesthouse.
Another view of the Rotonda, this time from the dirt path which leads to Villa Valmarana (villa of the dwarves). Vicenza is full of interesting walking tours and itineraries thru the hills and countryside. The guesthouse organizes walking tours for tourists.
The valley of silence behind the Rotonda is a wonderful place for a walking tour. The trail leading up the hill to Museo del risorgimento at the top of Monte Berico offers quiet solitude. In the background is an agriturismo where you can sample local home made food and wine.
The path behind the guesthouse leads to Villa Valmarana - The villa of the dwarves, and up to Monte Berico or on to La Rotonda. A walking tour up to Monte Berico and down thru the Valley of silence past the Rotonda is an hour and a half leisurely walk thru Vicenza history.
The bike path behind the guest house continues another 18 kilometers eastward to Lumignano and Costozza. The main entrance to the bed and breakfast accommodation is thru the gate and into the garden on the left. It's a 10 minute walk to Piazza dei signori from here.
Half way up Via Tiepolo on the way to the Rotonda are views of Riviera Berica in Vicenza, the main road to wine making villages of Costozza and Castegnero. The building with the statues is actually the neighborhood church for residents in Borgo Berga.
On the way to the Rotonda this view of the Bacchiglione puts things into perspective. To the left is the old factory Cottonificio Rossi, soon to become the Tribunale - or court house. The neighborhood - one of the oldest in Vicenza had been neglected for years but it's coming back.
Legend holds that the Count created a community of dwarves to keep his daughter from knowing she was different. When she learned the truth from a passing knight, and knew she could never have him as a mate she threw herself to her death. The servents turned to stone.
The pathway leading up to Villa Guiccioli and museo del risorgimento behind Monte Berico begins here in the Valley of Silence. At the end of the road and the foot of the hills is a wondeful Agri-turismo where you can sample local dishes typical of Vicenza and surroundings.
The walking tour begins here and takes you up thru the woods to Villa Guiccioli. Halfway up the trail you can appreciate views of eastern Vicenza. The walk down is a bit easier. This itinerary takes between an hour and an hour and a half for the whole tour.
Lake Fimon near Vicenza is a great place to have a picnic or go sailing. The hills around Vicenza are full of agriturismos and places to sample local food and wine. You can take a boat for the day or go dancing at night. The lake is easily reached by bike from the B&B.
The house of Antonio Pigafetta - Magellan's diary keeper and companion during his many voyages. The house stands out for its sheer beauty of architecture and recalls a time when men went off on expeditions and adventure in search of the new world.
Piazza dell'erbe is still a great place to buy and sell herbs and spices. There is a market twice a week where you can find nearly anything you can imagine. In the evenings young people like to hang out and drink wine on the steps leading up to the Basilica.
Halfway up the steps to Monte Berico the flying lion (Venetian republic) and the redeemer stand guard over Vicenza atop the Arch of Triumph at Porta Monte just 300 meters from the B&B. Like most Italian cities, Vicenza is full of contrasts mixing the old with the new.
Italian pastry shops are dangerous places, you may never leave! It's hard to eat just one pastry at an Italian patry shop (pasticceria), and the chefs all keep their pastry recipes a secret. Watch out! The pastry shop just down the bike path from our B&B has "killer pastries".
Biking around Vicenza is easy to do and lots of fun. The guesthouse can provide you with bike during your stay in Italy and you'll see things that most tourists never dream about. There are plenty of itineraries and tours for the casual biker as well as the dedicated one.
Just behind the guesthouse is an agriturismo in the Valley of Silence near the Rotonda serving locally produced food and wine. The farmers at agriturismos take pride in serving their guests traditional food like Soppressa and Gnocchi. It makes for a nice break while touring the villas.
On the way to the Agriturismo behind the Rotonda are various farmers and bee keepers. Locally produced food and wine can be bought in the Valley of Silence as well as in the nearby communities of Costozza and Lumignano just down the road. Try the variety of the honeys.
Marostica is a half hour ride from Vicenza and has 2 castles, the upper one pictured here and a lower one. This quaint medieval Italian town is famous for its square which is actually a giant chess board where once 2 men played a match for the hand of a fine young maiden.
This view from the upper castle captures the spirit of Marostica, with the lower castle and the square in front of it. There's a path up to the top which makes for a very pleasant day tour with a fine restaurant to sample some local delicasies and enjoy the view.
The arena in Verona is magnificantly preserved and even holds concerts regularly during spring and summer. Verona - 40 minutes from Vicenza, is another Italian city where you can easily make your way about and tour on foot. It makes for another excellent day trip from Vicenza.
Teatro Romano in Verona Italy dates back to Augustus and Roman times when the Arena was built. During the summer it hosts classical concerts and open air performances of Shakespeare's masterpieces such as Romeo and Juliet in the original language of the time.
With Juliet's house right downtown and Lake Garda only a stone's throw away, Verona is an excellent excursion. This lovely town has a special charm to it and holds a surprising number of historic monument and Roman ruins, many of which are still in use today.
Horseback riding is quite common in northern Italy, with many riding schools and stables offering riding lessons in the Vicenza area. The fertile green valleys of the Veneto region in northern Italy are ideal for both beginners and experienced riders alike.
Vicenza has a number of qualified flight schools which offer flying lessons and certification for guests planning longer stays in Italy. From Vicenza airport you can also hop a short flight to Venice, Rome, or simply charter a flight to view the Palladian villas from above.
Just outside of Vicenza on the way to Montegalda is the Bell museum of Veneto where you can admire bells of all sizes and sounds. Many of the bells were designed for churches in the Veneto region and are all unique. It's also a nice place for a picnic break while touring!
Italian sculptures are works of art with a rich history that is unrivaled today. The numerous Pallladian Villas in the towns and villages around Vicenza are all richly decorated with sculptures and fountains made out of a special stone from the Berici hills known as "Vicenza stone".
The nearby villages of Costozza, Lumignano and Nanto are famous for their stone work. Local artisans and craftsmen work a number of stones coming directly out of the Berici hills, among which are Pietra di Vicenza (Vicenza stone) and Pietra di Nanto (Nanto stone) south of Vicenza.
One of the pleasures of living in Italy is the abundance of street music. Italy has its share of fine musicians that perform music of all genres, from jazz to classical. While a concert at Teatro Olimpico is a genuine treat, equally charming is the simple street music in Italy.
Another of the many charms of Italian lifestyle are the simple cobblestone streets in Italy. Downtown Vicenza has many cobblestone streets and alleys which are mostly pedestrian only. This is one of the older parts of town, just around the corner from where Bob plays the piano.
Il Pestello downtown serves typical Vicentino cuisine. If you don't understand the menu don't panic, neither do most Italians! The menu is entirely in Vicentino dialect, and the food is typical northern Italian cuisine. Bob's been playing piano (and eating) here for over 15 years.
After a good meal (or even before one for that matter) there's nothing like a great cup of coffee! Gigi and Carla's coffee bar just around the corner from the house of Pigafetta, roasts their own coffee beans and has the best coffee in town (and some might even say the world).
Northern Italians young and old alike often have a little "spuntino" or aperitif before lunch. A common aperitif in Vicenza is a "spritz macchiato", a mix of wine and mineral water with a touch of either Campari or Aperol thrown in.
The Comune di Vicenza, or town hall, occupies many interesting palaces around the square. While much of the architecture is Palladian, there are many other renaissance architects who contributed to the town too. Most offficial town business is held in the Comune di Vicenza.
No matter where you go, just look up and you'll see statues. Theses statues happen to be on top of the Chamber of Commerce in Vicenza, yet you'll find them atop the basilica and other buildings too. The Chamber of Commerce in Vicenza is located downtown in Corso Fogazzaro.
Il grottino is an evening hangout spot for locals right underneath the basilica in Piazza dell'erbe. There are numerous bars and wine cellars around Vicenza and neighboring communities that specialize both in locally produced wines as well as imported ones.
One of the many artisan gelaterias around town, this one also serves frozen yogurt too. Italian gelato is world famous, and what better place to have some than where they actually produce it? In summer it seems like everyone eats gelato, and it's not hard to understand why!
One of the many fine restaurants around town, Malvasia is also a jazz club and a great place to hear music on Tuesday nights. The restaurant is just off of the square in a little alley way. The club can book up when they have a band playing, so it's best to get there early.
Hotels in Vicenza range from 5 star hotels for businessmen (outside of town) to simple 1 or 2 star hotels right downtown. There's even a youth hostel now in Piazza Matteotti near Teatro Olimpico and Palazzo Chiericati. The hotel Vicenza is on a little back street right off the square.
You could spend all day walking around downtown just looking at the shops, and many people do! Vicenza has more jewely shops than you can shake a necklace at. There are also a good number of clothing shops too. We prefer the alimentare or "food shops", they're yummy.
Another central spot and good meeting point is the fountain in front of the post office downtown. Check out the little cinquecento in the background, they are still quite practical for getting around in little alley ways, and they can't be beat for parking.
Kids playing downtown near Ponte San Michele. Italy is a family oriented society and loves kids. Where other countries might be hesitant about you bringing little children into a restaurant for dinner, Italy welcomes it. There are many parks and structures around town just for kids.
And yes, while YOU may not want to, your kids surely will! There's even a McDonalds right downtown in Corso Palladio. With all the great food available in Vicenza it's a mystery that the place does any business. Guess you could say it's the golden arches under the arches.
The more you walk around this quaint little Italian town the more you see. These bronze statues in front of Chiesa dei Carmini (14th century church) in Corso Fogazzaro appear to be waiting for the bus. The town is full of sculptures and statues, made of both stone and bronze.
Italian frescoes are literally a work of art. This ceiling fresco in Chiesa dei Carmini is just one of the many frescoes you'll find in churches around Vicenza. With the low lights in the church it wasn't until we got home and saw the picture that we realized just how rich its colors were.
One of the oldest cinemas in Vicenza, Cinema Corso has recently closed down. There are now multiplex cinemas outside of town at Warner village where you can see films in english too. In summer there is open air cinema in the gardens of Santa Corona downtown.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a market downtown in the square where the saavy buyer can find some real bargains. The Thursday market in Vicenza spills over into the square in front of the Duomo and all the way out to Porta Castello. It has a bit of everything.
Nestled in a quiet corner of Giardini Salvi is the Loggia Valmarana. The quiet little stream, the wooden bridge and the majestic palace speak for themselves. The park is just outside Porta Castello at the end of Corso Palladio, and is a great place to relax on a hot summer day.
On the way downtown from the B&B you pass the Oratorio di Santa Chiara, a magnificent 15th century structure which is amazingly well preserved. The church has a charm all its own, and is a popular choice for weddings in Vicenza.
Venetian influence is everywhere in Vicenza, and nowhere is it more pronounced than in the Gothic architecture downtown. Just past the Oratorio di Santa Chiara heading into the square stands this fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture, much like the house of Pigafetta.
The artwork in Vicenza is second to none in Italy. Perhaps because of the Venetian influence and the good fortune to have incredibly gifted artists and architects, Vicenza blossomed during the Renaissance period and the town flourishes today with fine artwork from 5 centuries ago.