ALL THE ALLURE OF THE REGION

Ve­ne­to is one of the mo­st vi­si­ted re­gions in Eu­ro­pe and of­fers se­ve­ral at­trac­ti­ve de­sti­na­tions for a fun, re­la­xing out-of-to­wn ex­pe­rien­ce. The ci­ties are well con­nec­ted by train but as an al­ter­na­ti­ve you can ei­ther hi­re a car or a car wi­th a dri­ver.

Where Venice - - Contents - BY ROMENA BRUGNEROTTO

Ve­ne­to of­fers se­ve­ral at­trac­ti­ve de­sti­na­tions for a fun, re­la­xing out-of-to­wn ex­pe­rien­ce.

Half an hour by train from Ve­ni­ce

Tre­vi­so: the ci­ty is a small gem, whi­ch can be vi­si­ted en­ti­re­ly on foot. Ly­ing at the heart of the ci­ty, ju­st a sto­ne's th­row from the sta­tion, Piaz­za dei Si­gno­ri is the ideal spot to stop and en­joy ei­ther a lo­cal Pro­sec­co­ba­sed ape­ri­ti­vo, or a light lun­ch. The area's nei­gh­bou­ring stree­ts are pac­ked wi­th ele­gant shops, cut across by pretty ca­nals of­fe­ring lo­ts of fa­bu­lous pho­to op­por­tu­ni­ties. Bo­th the ci­ty's Ca­sa dei Car­ra­re­si and the San­ta Ca­te­ri­na mu­seum ho­st im­por­tant art ex­hi­bi­tions. Whi­le in the area, ma­ke su­re to sam­ple ra­dic­chio di Tre­vi­so, a ho­me­gro­wn spe­cial­ty. A go-to de­sti­na­tion for a snack is the Oste­ria dal­la Gi­gia, Via Bar­be­ria,

20, who­se si­gna­tu­re di­sh is ‘moz­za­rel­le in car­roz­za', a ty­pe of fried cheese sand­wi­ch.

Pa­dua: ho­me to one of the ol­de­st uni­ver­si­ties in the world, Pa­dua is a ci­ty de­ser­ving an en­ti­re day's sightseeing. Among the li­st of things to do, top sights in­clu­de the Scro­ve­gni Cha­pel, Giot­to's ma­ster­pie­ce, but al­so the fa­mous Chur­ch of Sant'Antonio, a pil­gri­ma­ge si­te and the bu­rial place of St An­tho­ny of Pa­dua (1193–1231). The ci­ty is al­so ho­me to the ol­de­st bo­ta­ni­cal gar­den in the world, plan­ted in 1545 by Pa­dua's

Uni­ver­si­ty me­di­cal fa­cul­ty to stu­dy the me­di­ci­nal pro­per­ties of ra­re plan­ts. A new area de­di­ca­ted to bio-di­ver­si­ty was al­so re­cen­tly ad­ded, ope­ning up new pro­spec­ts for the fu­tu­re. In terms of ga­stro­no­my, lo­cal spe­cial­ties in­clu­de a va­rie­ty of cold cu­ts and the ci­ty's si­gna­tu­re ‘gal­li­na pa­do­va­na' whi­ch you can ta­ste at the Ai Na­vi­gli re­stau­rant in Via Ri­vie­ra Ti­so, 11. La Fol­pe­ria in Piaz­za del­la Frut­ta is an ab­so­lu­te mu­st for an ape­ri­ti­vo. It's a sim­ple kio­sk sel­ling lo­cal fi­sh spe­cial­ties and the king of street food par ex­cel­len­ce.

One hour by train from Ve­ni­ce

Vi­cen­za: if you're a fan of Re­nais­san­ce ar­chi­tec­tu­re, ta­ke a train and head to Vi­cen­za. Its main squa­re hou­ses the fa­mous ba­si­li­ca de­si­gned by An­drea Pal­la­dio, the mo­st im­por­tant ar­chi­tect of the Hi­gh Re­nais­san­ce. The en­ti­re li­fe of the ci­ty re­vol­ves around the Ba­si­li­ca. Pal­la­dio al­so de­si­gned the ci­ty's re­no­w­ned Tea­tro Olim­pi­co. This Re­nais­san­ce mar­vel is well wor­th a vi­sit or, fai­ling that, a tic­ket to one of the ma­ny li­ve sho­ws per­for­med he­re. Stop at a re­stau­rant and sam­ple the ci­ty's fa­mous ‘Bac­ca­là al­la Vi­cen­ti­na' (Vi­cen­za-sty­le co­d­fi­sh) ser­ved wi­th po­len­ta. The peo­ple of Vi­cen­za are so proud of this di­sh that the ci­ty even has a con­fra­ter­ni­ty de­di­ca­ted to kee­ping the 500-year-old re­ci­pe of ‘Bac­ca­là al­la Vi­cen­ti­na' ali­ve, and, be­lie­ve it or not, the­re is al­so a co­d­fi­sh ice cream fla­vour. The go-to ad­dress is El Coq in Piaz­za dei Si­gno­ri, whe­re the chef en­joys crea­ting in­no­va­ti­ve di­shes using this im­por­tant in­gre­dient of Ve­ne­to cui­si­ne. Verona: Foun­ded by the Ro­mans in the 1st cen­tu­ry AD, the ci­ty of Verona is dot­ted wi­th pretty pa­laz­zi, ele­gant squa­res and me­die­val gems. Be­st-kno­wn as ho­me to star-cros­sed lovers Ro­meo and Ju­liet, its ma­jor at­trac­tions in­clu­de the Are­na, an ar­chi­tec­tu­ral rem­nant of the Ro­man era, and a ve­nue for the ci­ty's an­nual summer ope­ra fe­sti­val, the beau­ti­ful

Ca­stel­vec­chio Mu­seum and piaz­za del­le

Er­be. The­re are so ma­ny chur­ches to see that you'll be spoilt for choi­ce. No vi­sit would be com­ple­te wi­thout stop­ping to see San Ze­no, a ma­ster­pie­ce of Italian Ro­ma­ne­sque sty­le. When you're ti­red of sightseeing, in­dul­ge in a break at one of the ci­ty's small ‘oste­rie' for a glass of Val­po­li­cel­la, the fa­mous wi­ne pro­du­ced ju­st a short di­stan­ce from he­re. Be­fo­re lea­ving Verona, ma­ke su­re to head to pa­stic­ce­ria Fle­go in Piaz­za Bor­sa­ri 9, to pur­cha­se a box of ‘Ba­ci di Giu­liet­ta', the ci­ty's si­gna­tu­re sweet trea­ts ma­de from al­monds and wal­nu­ts.

Bas­sa­no del Grap­pa: this pic­tu­re­sque to­wn ly­ing at the foot of the moun­tains is re­no­w­ned for its na­me­sa­ke spi­rit, grap­pa.

Its Pal­la­dian co­ve­red woo­den brid­ge over the Ri­ver Brenta is a hi­ghlight of the small hi­sto­ric cen­tre. Al­so kno­wn at the Pon­te

Vec­chio or the Pon­te Al­pi­ni, it ser­ves as a re­min­der of the even­ts that took place du­ring World War I. The ci­ty is al­so fa­mous for its cen­tu­ries-old pro­duc­tion of han­d­craf­ted ce­ra­mics that you can pur­cha­se at one of the to­wn's ma­ny shops. Whi­le in the area, ma­ke su­re to book a gui­ded tour of one of the di­stil­le­ries that pro­du­ce grap­pa, Ita­ly's ‘ac­qua­vi­te' of choi­ce. One of the mo­st fa­mous is Poli. Lo­ca­ted in via Gam­ba 6, this re­no­w­ned di­stil­le­ry al­so boasts a mu­st-vi­sit Grap­pa

Mu­seum. At the end of the tour, guests will be trea­ted to a ta­sting ses­sion, ac­com­pa­nied by sweet or sa­vou­ry snacks. Ope­ned in De­cem­ber 2010, and lo­ca­ted at num­ber 8 Sa­li­ta Fer­ra­ci­na, Pa­laz­zo del­le Mi­stu­re is the ideal spot for a pre or po­st-din­ner drink. In ad­di­tion to an ex­cel­lent se­lec­tion of lo­cal wi­nes, the ve­nue al­so fea­tu­res an en­ti­re room de­di­ca­ted to ab­sin­th, whe­re you can ta­ste hi­sto­ri­cal brands da­ting from the la­te 1800s to the ear­ly 1900s.

Two hours by train from Ve­ni­ce

Trie­ste: ju­st a two-hour train ri­de from Ve­ni­ce, the ci­ty of Trie­ste is a mu­st-vi­sit de­sti­na­tion. The port and its ar­chi­tec­tu­re, re­mi­ni­scent of cen­tral Eu­ro­pean ci­ties, blend to crea­te an ele­gant, cap­ti­va­ting bac­k­drop. When vi­si­ting Trie­ste you can re­main in the cen­tre and stroll through its pic­tu­re­sque al­leys, or head to Mi­ra­ma­re, the beau­ti­ful ca­stle built in the la­te 1850s by Ar­chi­du­ke Ma­xi­mi­lian, bro­ther of Au­strian Em­pe­ror Franz Jo­se­ph. Sit­ting on a roc­ky out­crop over­loo­king the sea, bo­th the ca­stle – who­se in­te­rior dé­cor has re­mai­ned in­tact – and the park are well wor­th a vi­sit. A ri­de on the Opi­ci­na tram whi­ch con­nec­ts the cen­tre of Trie­ste wi­th the vil­la­ge of

Vil­la Opi­ci­na in the hills abo­ve is de­fi­ni­te­ly un­mis­sa­ble. Inau­gu­ra­ted in 1902, the 'tram de Opi­ci­na' (as it's kno­wn in the lo­cal dia­lect) climbs up five ki­lo­me­ters, in­clu­ding 800 me­ters on a 26% in­cli­ne, across splen­did land­sca­pes and wi­th won­der­ful views of the gulf. This is a uni­que op­por­tu­ni­ty to ta­ke so­me won­der­ful pho­tos. Trie­ste is the Me­di­ter­ra­nean's main cof­fee port, and it's al­so a hub for the cof­fee in­du­stry. In fact, the ci­ty is ho­me to Il­ly, one of the world's be­st-kno­wn cof­fee brands. Coun­tless lo­ca­les bear wit­ness to the ci­ty's hi­sto­ry, and, if you head to Piaz­za

Uni­tà d'Ita­lia you can choo­se your fa­vou­ri­te. The be­st place for an ape­ri­ti­vo is Ur­ba­nis, in Piaz­za del­la Bor­sa 15. In ad­di­tion to other sym­bols, the ve­nue's mo­saic floo­ring fea­tu­res the Bo­ra, the wind that blo­ws over Trie­ste.

Vi­cen­za, Tea­tro Olim­pi­co

Verona, Piaz­za del­le Er­be

Pa­dua, Scro­ve­gni Cha­pel

Trie­ste, Ca­stle of Mi­ra­ma­re

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