A stroll along the pretty streets of Bassano del Grappa reveals the towns rich history. There could be no mistake, you are in the Veneto region of northern Italy: Renaissance palaces stand on streets with arcades, alpine wooden balconies and old-fashioned inns, – there is an undeniable Austrian flavor in the Venetian style of this little gem in the crown of Italian attraction sites.
The pride of the locals is the town’s covered bridge, Ponte degli Alpini; over the Brenta river considered one of the Italian attraction sites. It has been through a lot: built by Palladio in the 16th century to replace the older bridge, it was destroyed and rebuilt twice since. The latest renovation was funded by the Alpine Soldier’s organisation (Alpini) who fought heavy battles against German troops by the bridge during the Second World War.
The town center has three beautiful piazzas with artisan shops, lovely churches and lively cafes where locals get together for a bit of gossip and people watching every evening. Above the town, on the top of the hill, stands imposing Castello degli Ezzelini that can be toured by prior arrangement.
Bassano is famous for its fiery grappa liqueur produced from leftovers of the wine making process. There are a few historic distilleries in town and one of them, Poli distillery, has a free museum where you can taste grappa and discover its production secrets. (No, the town is not called after the legendary drink! Both take their name from the nearby mountain, Monte Grappa).
Many local artisan shops are filled with beautiful ceramics (ceramiche di Bassano) that have been made here since the 17th century. The industry flourished during the Venetian Republic rule and has seen a revival in the last century. There is a lovely museum of ceramics (Museo della Ceramica) at Palazzo Sturm. Don’t miss a little terrace at the entrance from which you can admire the best view of Ponte degli Alpini. For another fine vista of the town climb up the fourteenth-century Torre Civica in Piazza Garibaldi.
If you happen to be in town in early spring, you can enjoy a local delicacy – white asparagus. There are many culinary events in Bassano in April celebrating the prized gourmet food and all local restaurants have excellent asparagus dishes on the menu.
Photos by: Graeme Churchard, Bernard Blanc, Andrea Martinello.