A city cast in the image of its most famous resident, Vicenza is an architectural tour-de-force created by the renowned architect Andrea Palladio. In recognition of his brilliance the city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Vicenza is a picturesque, prosperous city that effortlessly combines contemporary life with a relaxed old-world charm. If you’re looking to experience ‘real Italy’, a holiday to Vicenza in Veneto is the perfect destination!
An absolute must-visit attraction for any holiday in Vicenza is the Teatro Olimpico, Europe’s oldest indoor theatre. The theatre was devised by the renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who intended to create a covered theatre based on Roman amphitheatres, which he was heavily influenced by. The theatre opened in 1585 and is still used today.
Another architectural masterpiece by Palladio, the striking Basilica Palladiana, was originally a Gothic building that served as Vicenza’s town hall. When the building collapsed, Palladio was tasked with redesigning it, and the transformation he created was quite incredible. The Gothic façade was replaced with stunning marble columns and porticoes based on the classical architecture of ancient Rome. This immense project consumed much of the architect’s life, and was not finished until after his death. There is a marble statue of Palladio at the west end of the building, serving as a permanent reminder of his genius.
One of the most imitated buildings in Europe, Palladio’s famous La Rotonda is a work of architectural splendour. The most celebrated of all his villas, La Rotonda is a square construction crowned by a sumptuous dome, believed to have been inspired by Rome’s Pantheon.
Veneto’s most famous city, [Venice] (http:/holidays.easyjet.com/italy/venice/venice-city-breaks.htm), can be reached easily from Vicenza. Home to gondolas, the iconic Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark’s Square and many world-class museums and art galleries, it is easy to see why the city is one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
The area surrounding Vincenza is home to many more of Palladio’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed villas. Day trips with guided tours can be easily organised from Vicenza, and are highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in architecture.
Situated just to the north-east of Vicenza is the town of Bassano del Grappa, home to the extremely strong (and popular!) traditional Italian spirit, Grappa. Made from the skins, seeds and remaining juices of grapes leftover from the winemaking process, this clear firewater has been made here for hundreds of years. There are numerous distilleries you can tour in the town, all of which will let you sample their own recipe! Drink it straight if you can handle it, or ‘correct’ your coffee with a generous glug!
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