A travel journal
to Veneto Region by Barb B
Quote: So many tiny towns in the hills of the Veneto! Each possesses a unique value and a special pleasure, definitely worth your visit. Here you will find history, culture and the gentle folk so eager to meet you and share their foods, history, love and pride of their beloved land.
The Nardini bar is on the corner of the covered wooden bridge on the river. The address, - Ponte Vecchio Due, - litteraly means "Second (place) by the Old Bridge." The Front Room, with windows overlooking the river has marvelous old world atmosphere. The rich, beautifully carved wooden bar and authentic old copper grappa still delivers you back to the memory of Venetian rafters who would deliver wood to Venice and stop here for a taste of the Grappa.
Being tourists, my husband and I tasted the Grappa and bought a decorative bottle to bring home. Actually, I liked it! Served as a degistivo in a tiny glass after dinner, it is the perfect alternative to the too sweet after-dinner drinks usually served.
Our Italian friends who joined us on this trip ordered "rosso nardini," a red liqueur available only locallly (a secret concoction) and served with a twist of lemon peel.
Grappa bottles; large and small, ornately decorated or plain and a nice selection or other souveneirs, cards and remembrances were all available in the gift shop. Of course, we tourists purchased a bottle of Grappa which had a tiny diarama of the city of Bassano etched into the bottle. Even if we never drink it, it is a nice reminder of a wonderful day!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2000
Ditto Bortolo Nardini
Ponte Vecchio 2
Veneto Region, Italy
Each of the three distinctive squares maintains its unique spirit and revelations. The smallest and oldest, the Piazzotto Monte Vecchio, was the towns' original medieval square. It retains the municipal coat of arms and heirloom inscriptions on the façades of the Venetian podestas. The neo-classical Church of San Giovanni in the Piazza Liberta stands beside the 16th century clock tower; the Loggia della commune(clock of the community). The bell tower (Campanile of San Francesco)in the Piazza Garibaldi, stands beside the Gothic church of San Francesco. It is here in the cloister that Bassano's Civic Museum is located.
The Civic Museum houses a remarkable showcase of works by the artist Jacopo Dal Ponte (better known as Jacopo di Bassano). An archaeological section displays Greek and Apulian ceramics, a superb Chini collection of vases from Magna Grecia and several studies by Canova. The same admission ticket also admits you to the Museo della ceramica (Ceramic Museum). Located on the river close to the bridge, this museum is dedicated to works of majolica ware ceramics and many pieces date from the 18th century.
Palladio designed Bessanno's landmark bridge, the Ponte degli Alpini. Originally constructed in 1599, it was later renovated and renamed to honor the Italian Alpine soldiers (Alpini) who died fighting against the Austrians and Germans during World War I. When you cross this marvelous covered bridge, you find a magnificent picture-postcard view of the bridge, the town, the river Brenta and breathtaking mountain backgrounds.
Bassano would not be complete without a taste of the Grappa! That wild, fiery spirit; its taste is actually too potent for most. Its name is derived from the graspa; the residue left at the bottom of the wine vat after the must has been removed. It can be drunk either un-aged and clear, or mellowed and aged in oak barrels where it takes on a rich amber tone. The grappa distillery also operates a Grappa Museum near the foot of the bridge where you can taste and buy the liver-crippling liquid, which is loved by some and loathed by many!
Bassano del Grappa
Veneto Region, Italy
Thirteenth century walls completely encircle this striking hill town to the west of Bassano. Not just one, but TWO great castles enhance the spectacle of the town; the upper castle spreads over the hillside looking down on the city and the second castle, that of the Venetian Lord, stands majestically at the end of the piazza.
On the second weekend of September in even-numbered years, a storybook event is reenacted on the Piazza of Morostica. In the "Partita a Sacchi" a chess game, is played with humans (and horses) serving as chess pieces upon the giant 72 square foot chessboard. Knights in armor sit astride horses bedecked in ancient finery and Kings, Queens, Rooks and Pawns are resplendent in authentic medieval costumes.
The event commemorates the fabled contest in 1454 for the hand of the fair Lionora Parisio. Rinaldo d Angarano wanted to marry the lovely Lionora but, alas, she was in love with Vieri da Vallonara. Her father the Venetian Podesta, was a gentle soul and still holding sad memories of the unhappy lovers Madame Juliet Capuleti and Master Romeo Montecchio, he refused to allow Lionora's suitors to fight the traditional duel. Therefore, a chess match was held and, to Lionora's great joy and happiness, the victory went to Vieri. The contest is announced in the archaic Venetic dialect and each game move is a reproduction of an authentic grand masters' duel.
In case you are unable make it to Marostica for the event, there are numerous chess boards of varying sizes located around the piazza and under the loggia; locals and tourists are always welcome to play. The costumes and Renaissance finery are on display at Museo dei costumi (costume museum, open Sundays 9-6). There is also a romantic restaurant located in the restored Castle overlooking the city. Perhaps you might console yourself there.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2000
The Chess Game at Marostica
Piazza degli Sacchi
Veneto Region, Italy
Although my husband and I have eaten in the castle-restaurant many times, each experience provides a new and romantic event. On this trip, my sister and her husband are with us and this is their first visit. They are impressed by the profusion of flowers and the numerous statues in the courtyard.
We have arrived just before Noon, a bit early for lunch by Italian standards; therefore, we stroll around outside castle and take photos of the well, the stockade, the town of Montecchio below and naturally, lots of pictures of each other. One of the waitresses sees us in the courtyard and calls out to invite us inside. She explains that the staff is just finishing their lunch and we are welcome to look around inside.
When we enter, the employees are at a table in the rear and we are welcomed with loud calls of "Boun giorno--Benvenuto!"
We only just begin to admire the rich woodwork, beamed ceilings and marble works when the young waitress tells us they are ready to serve us and she leads up a narrow spiral staircase. We are both surprised and delighted to be seated at a huge round table in center of the main tower. This is the only table in this room and the walls hold magnificent paintings of Romeo and Juliet. Huge silver urns overflow with fresh flowers and soft arias are merely a whisper in the background.
Our waitress speaks English quite well and offers personal recommendations. (Probably quite easy since she has just sampled the offerings at the staff luncheon!)
A superb selection of both international and local wines is available, at remarkably reasonable prices. Fresh warm bread and pots of butter are served along with thin "grissini" bread sticks while we make our selections.
My sister and I both opt for soup and salads. The Capracce salad (sliced tomatoes with soft buffola cheese, drizzled with olive oil) and a wonderfully fragrant white bean soup topped with rosemary. Both of the men choose salads of mixed greens and hearty pastas. A robust ziti with a rich sauce of basil and pine nuts and a simple but delicious Spaghetti Marinera. My sister and I take small "tastes" - just to make sure it is "good enough".
The service is attentive and the white linens, polished silver service and huge brass candlesticks add to the elegant ambiance. We linger over cappuccino and amaretti (tiny cookies) yet we never feel rushed, even as we take pictures of ourselves beneath the paintings of Romeo and Juliet.
This lavish lunch, impeccable served in such a romantic setting cost only about $25 (US dollars) per couple. A marvelous bargain by anyone's' conversion
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000
Restaurante de Guilletta
Castello de Guilletta - Via Castelli 4
Veneto Region, Italy
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