COSTOZZA, VICENZA PROVINCE
Costozza is located just south of Vicenza in the Berici hills and is a perfect example of, the small oasis of wonder, that you can find as you travel around the Veneto by bike or foot. Costozza is easy to reach from the main train station in Vicenza either by foot or by bicycle.
If you are planning to explore the Vicenza area by foot, even if you're not an avid walker, Costozza offers you a nice 2 to 3 hour visit, and is a welcome break from the main tourist path. To get there you need to take the orange city bus number (8) eight, from the Vicenza train station (make sure that the time posted for the bus has a 'L' after the time, this means the bus goes all the way to Lumignano, if not the bus will only take you as far as Debba).
If you are exploring Vicenza by bicycle there are several routes to take that will take you through Costozza.· The easiest bike ride is taking the bike path that runs along the Riviera Berica.· This path takes you by some great sites and you can follow all the way to Longare and then to Costozza.
Today the village of Costozza is part of the Longare community in the Vicenza province of the Veneto. There is evidence of· community settlement in the area since prehistoric times due to the abundance of caves and water sources in the area.· During the Roman period Costozza became an important trade center and the rock was quarried from the nearby cliffs which was considered high-quality stone was very popular.
The community maintained its prominence until the Hun invasions around 452. For the next couple hundred years the area caves were a refuge, from the many invaders marauding throughout the region on their way to Rome. Once the Lombardi had gained control of the area in 700 A.D. Anselmo di Norantola sold much of the Berici Hill area and Costozza to the Benedict monks of Modena.· It is interesting, that from the agricultural culture established by these monk's, created the habit to grow peas.· The cultivation of the peas became well-known as the favourite ingredient 'risi bisi' (the Veneto risotto) that was served to the Venetian Doga, on 25 March to celebrate the founding of Venice, and in May of each year there is the 'Risi Bisi' festival held in nearby Lumignano.·
Costozza and the surrounding area were primary controlled by the monk's and the city state of Vicenza. During 1000 and 1200 A.D. Vicenza and Padua were in constant conflict over the area. Historical records show that Padua eventually gained control of the area, and it is written that they suffered through a period of slavery and repression.
In the early 1400s the area became part of the Venetian empire and once again the stone quarries started to have a prominent role in local trade. The cliffs of the area supplied most of the stone utilized to build many of the villas, throughout the countryside. It was also during this period that Longare was established as a community headquarters and Costozza and the surrounding area fail under its control.
During the Second World War the city of Vicenza was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing. Many of the caves in Costozza and throughout the Berici hills were utilized as bomb refuges and to store supplies. It is rumoured that one time the Italian military had an airplane engine repair facility in the Costozza caves and at various sites in the hills German troops were prepared to man fortifications to defend the northern regions.
When you turn off the main road or deviate from the bike path you right into an area today that is very easy to imagine what it was like 100 years ago.
Costozza should be on your list when you visit Venice and the Veneto.· This is a great one day bike ride or easy walk to enjoy and after your activity there is the Colli Berici wines to sample and several good 'Slow Food' places to eat.