Dear traveller friends,
In our previous post, we followed the route from Vicenza to Bassano del Grappa, going through Cittadella, Fanzolo, Maser and Asolo.
Today, we are going back to Vicenza on another road, stopping at:
- Lugo di Vicenza
As it happened with the route from Vicenza to Bassano, most of the attractions are going to be Palladian Villas. However, their variety and different features make each visit an experience.
Today’s tour is going to be shorter than the other half. You’ll probably need just one morning to complete it. This way, you’ll be able to spend the afternoon touring Vicenza or choosing another location.
On the other hand, if you decided to complete the entire tour from Vicenza to Bassano and back in one day, you’ll have time for Marostica and Lugo di Vicenza only.
This small town is widely known as the city of chess. This is because the central plaza is a giant chessboard where, on the second weekend in September of even years, a game of chess with human chess pieces is held.
Being able to attend such an event must be magical. However, it isn’t easy to accomplish. If you want to live this experience, you’ll have to plan it well in advance.
Besides this unique event, Marostica’s attractions are such that it can be visited quickly. After parking your car near the city walls, you can enter the elegant city centre. Here you can walk beneath the many porches, admiring the place and the shops. Obviously, if you are passionate about chess or you want to learn how to play, this is the right place to buy a new chessboard. You’ll be spoilt for choices.
After walking around the city centre, it’s time to go to Piazza Castello.
Here you can see the grand chessboard and the Lower Castle (Castello Inferiore). A tour of the castle can be the perfect chance to discover life at court. Thanks to the many clothes and costumes, used during the game of human chess, you’ll be able to grasp, at least on some level, the magical atmosphere of the event.
Obviously, being a castle, there are plenty of saloons used for balls and parties, and an armoury.
If you decided to take the two days tour between Bassano and Vicenza, you’d have plenty of time to venture a walk up the road leading to the Upper Castle (Castello Superiore). From the castle, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the valley. If you don’t have time or energy enough to get there on foot, you can reach the Upper Castle with your car.
Lugo di Vicenza
Just outside the centre of Lugo di Vicenza, you can see two beautiful Palladian Villas: Villa Godi Malinverni and Villa Piovene, both located at less than one-hundred meters from one another.
Unfortunately, Villa Piovene is in a state of neglect. The interior isn’t accessible, you can only tour the garden, and this isn’t easy to accomplish due to the limited opening hours.
Villa Godi Malinverni, instead, is one of the most beautiful Palladian Villas.
Don’t be deceived by the outside of the building, which is not particularly striking. What’s worth the visit is the inside, which is simply amazing.
The nine saloons on the noble floor combine in a perfect mix the talents of two masters, who decorated the rooms with their frescoes. The scenes of Roman gods painted by Giovanni Battista Zelotti follow the beautiful landscapes painted by Gualtiero Padovano. This variety is unusual for Palladian Villas, where it’s common to see the work of a single master.
You can’t miss a visit to the lower floor, even if it isn’t as beautiful as the first floor. The Saloon of the Seasons (Sala delle Stagioni), with frescoes by Giovanni Battista Zelotti and (probably) Veronese, is worth a stop.
The last stop on the route back to Vicenza is Caldogno, where you can see the namesake Villa. Despite what you might think, Villa Caldogno isn’t named after the village it was built in, but after the Caldogno family. During the Middle Ages, this family was very influential and owned most of the territories around the village, that’s why the town itself took their name.
There are three charming rooms inside Villa Caldogno. The central saloon is decorated with frescoes depicting the everyday life of the Venetian aristocracy. The other two halls are decorated with frescoes by Zelotti and Fasolo, describing the history of the Roman Empire. What grabs the visitor attention, however, aren’t the frescoes but the details and plays of depths which give the illusion of much wider spaces.
With Villa Caldogno ends our tour from Bassano del Grappa to Vicenza.
Don’t miss our next destination!