ALL THE ALLURE OF THE REGION
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.
TOWARDS VIENNA WITH THE NEW “SPIRIT OF VENICE”
While air travel to North America has increased (in May 2017 American Airlines inaugurated a direct route from Venice to Chicago), rail travel to Europe has also grown. One of the best ways to enjoy spectacular panoramic Alpine views is by train. For the past few months it's been possible to travel from Venice to Austria by train with two daily connections, thanks to OBB, an Austrian railway company. The new Railjet “The Spirit of Venice” connects Venice to the Austrian cities of Villach, Klagenfurt and Vienna safely and comfortably. Amenities include on board Wi-Fi, and there's a top notch dining car for first class passengers. The trip to Vienna lasts eight hours and you can enjoy the changing scenery from the Italian plains to the Austrian Alps. www.obb-italia.com 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