Overdosing pasta and Carpaccio Italian style– part I.
A city pervaded by a great architect’s designs. A city amongst the wealthiest in the Northern part of the boot. With Verona to the west and Padova to the east Vicenza is often overlooked by the mass tourism, so luckily it managed to preserve its old charm. The winding cobblestone streets without the maddening crowds of visitors, gothic and renaissance arcades, hidden villas, elegant cafés, tiny shops coupled with the unparalleled architecture definitely put the city on the “must-see in Italy” list for all off the beaten track travelers. Among lots of small and medium size museums, graceful villas and churches I managed to find those hidden treasures I was looking for.
So here’s the way you should spend your day in Andrea Palladio’s town:
No day kicks-off in Italy without coffee. The historic center has some great places to enjoy a cup of strong black and grab a Panino to start up fully energized. La Triestina (Corso Andrea Palladio 116) is trendy and modern with cold and warm meals, sweets and the inevitable Italian coffee.
Coffee at its best – Café La Triestina
Visit the small Roman-Gothic style catholic church of Santa Maria in Foro (Piazza Biade 23) from the 15th century. The peaceful and simple interior makes sure your mind will be cleared and ready to tune into Vicenza mode.
Simple exterior, jaw-dropping interior. The Teatro Olimpico (Piazza Matteotti 11) will surely blow your mind. Built in the 16th century as the first covered theater in Europe, designed by Palladio and finished by Vincenzo Scamozzi the place pretty much resembles the antique Roman theaters. For the grand opening on 3rd March 1585 the town brought Sophocles’ drama of Oedipus the King on stage with much success. The original stage set proudly stands there as a backdrop making it the oldest one of its kind. If you spend a couple of days around get a ticket to a musical performance in the Teatro for a real local lifestyle experience.
Resembles the ancient Roman theater – Teatro Olimpico
Just across the street from the Teatro Olimpico, Palazzo Chiericati is home to Museo Civico (Piazza Matteotti 11) art gallery where the basement quickly got in the center of my attention. After the recent restoration the town decided to dedicate the space for contemporary art exhibitions of Italian and international talents. Well, they couldn’t have picked a better location. Dark and mysterious, atmospheric and exciting the place is a perfect match with the concept. The current exhibition by Nicola Samorí is particularly impressive where portraits and religious paintings are reinterpreted by torn effect artworks and thick layers of oil paint turning the conventional unconventional.
Layers of paints create an unconventional artwork – Nicola Samorí (Nubifregio)
Lunching out at Angolo Palladio (Piazzetta Palladio 12), an absolute favorite restaurant in town. From pasta and pizza dishes to meat and fish you find a varied menu prepared to excellence. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from their abundant selection. (The restaurant is also featured in Hidden pearls of the North Italian countryside)
Always fresh and tasty – Maccheroncini al ragu at Angolo Palladio
If you are still in museum mode and mood get your way to Contrá S. Corona, a street that features a number of historical buildings such as the Natural History and Archeological Museum (Contrá S. Corona 4), the Gothic sytle Santa Corona Church housing Giovanni Bellini’s famous artwork ‘The Baptism of Christ’, and the particularly impressive Baroque style building of The Galleries of Leoni Montanari Palace (Contrá S. Corona 25).
Let’s just now stroll around the city and enjoy the glorious buildings, small bridges over River Retrone, the smell of late afternoon coffee, the scene of people walking along, friends gathering at bars.
Peaceful and colorful – bridge over River Retrone
Finish off your day with an Aperitivo and light dinner at Osteria al Ritrovo (Piazzetta del Duomo 4). The affordably priced Aperol Spritz just calls for another round and another round…
Aperitivo time at Osteria al Ritrovo
- Your ticket to Teatro Olimpico is also a museum card valid to 6 other museums for a duration of 3 days.
Never enough of Italy?
- Check out contemporary Milan off the beaten track
- Dream organic in Bio Hotel Hermitage
- Avoid mass tourism in Toscana
- Conquer winds and waves at Lake Garda