MONTECCHIO MAGGIORE, VICENZA PROVINCE
Ancient town of strategic and economic important at the beginning of the Agno valley. Now it is more famous for the concentration of manufacturing and commercial centers. the main town is where SS11 intersects with SS500 from Lonigo. Listed in some guide books as a quaint village nestled in the Agno Valley, among the gentle rolling Berici hills, Montecchio Maggiore, is one of the worst examples of the industrial expansion in the Veneto. The old center is quaint and it still has many historical structures from the middle Ages. Two medieval castles overlook the town and are known as Romeo and Juliet, partly because they are separated by the valley as two star-crossed lovers were separated by human folly, and partly because Luigi Da Porto, who told the tale long before Shakespeare, lived in nearby Montorso. The name Montague used by the English playwright is derived from Montecchio. Villa Cordellina dates back to less tragic times, and is frescoed by Tiepolo. The Zannato museum has a unique collection of fossilised crustaceans and semi-precius stones from the area.
Also if you visit the town and you enjoy art do not miss visiting Palladio's Villa Cordellina Lombardi, the residence hall still has the frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who is also said to be the artist of the drawings of the statues that adorn the beautiful garden. Tiepolo also painted the frescoes of Villa Loschi Zileri, found in the nearby Biron di Monteviale. The splendid neo-classical Villa Lorenzoni, is now home to the Civic Museum of "Giuseppe Zannato", with an archaeological and naturalistic section.
The famous mostarda vicentina, a spicy quince and mustard sauce, is also made at Montecchio. Some cultural events are the "Rogo della stria" a propitiatory bonfire at the beginning of the year and the "Feud between the Montecchi and Capuleti", a commemoration in full medieval atmosphere that takes place at Castle Bellaguarda in May.
The hills behind Montechccio are quite and offers some nice walking paths and bike rides.
Tags: Vicenza Province,