Bassano del Grappa, Vicenza Province
BASSANO DEL GRAPPA, VICENZA PROVINCE
Bassano Del Grappa is located north of Vicenza and is one of the larger cities within the Vicenza Province. Bassano sits along the Brenta River as it enters the Valsugana, shadowing over the city is Monte Grappa Mountain Group and Asiago Mountain Group, to the South are the flat lands of the Veneto Plains. This geographical location has made Bassano a strategic land point for thousands of years, controlling the flow of migrating people from the North and South. The city was first established as an army camp, by the Romans, and from that time forward it has played a significant role in local history, history that we may be acquainted with but do not realize that it originated in this unique area.
Bassano del Grappa is easily reached by train from Vicenza or Cittadella and offers a great day trip for a walk, or if you are riding your bike in the Veneto Region the city can be a great stopping point for lunch or a base for one or two days of riding. While visiting the Veneto region this is one of the city's you should visit in order to better understand of the layers of history, that have occurred in the northern Italy.
History of Bassano del Grappa
The area of Bassano has been inhabited since the palaeo-venetian period. The settlement was colonized by the Romans in the early part of the 1st century and by the 2ndcentury had assumed the name a major Roman land owner. The name Bassano derives form the Roman family Basius, who were owner so large “latifundium”, owned property. This family owned or controlled the land the town Bassano was built upon. Up until the early 1900's the town was known as Bassano Veneto.
Bridge of the Alpini (symbol of the city) is first mentioned in history during the medieval city dates from 998, while the Castle is mentioned first in 1150. In 1175 Bassano was conquered by Vicenza, but the city maintained a semi-autonomous status as a free commune in the 13th century even when it was under the rule of the Ezzelino family.
In 1368 it was acquired by the Visconti of Milan and, in 1404, by the Republic of Venice. The city became home to a flourishing industry that produced wool, silk, iron and copper, and ceramics; in the 18th century Bassano del Grappa became especially famous in all Europe for the presence of the Remondini printers.
During the French Wars the city was the site of the Battle of Bassano, and Napoleon Bonaparte remained in Bassano for many months. In 1815 it was included in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia and controlled by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and became part of the unified Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
The original name of the town was Bassano Veneto. After the terrible battles on Mount Grappa in WWI, where thousands of soldiers lost their lives, a decision was made to change the name of the town. In 1928, the name was changed to Bassano Del Grappa, meaning Bassano of Mount Grappa, as a memorial to the soldiers killed. Ernest Hemingway during his days as an ambulance driver in the war spent a few days in Bassano and Schio. He placed parts of his book ‘A Farewell to Arms’ in the area as well. Also, other American writers spent some days in the Bassano area during WWI such as Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos.
In World War II, after the Armistice of Italy in 1942, the city was occupied by German troops. During this period there was a large amount of partisan action in the area, and one of the parks has a memorial to repercussions of this resistance.
As mentioned above, today the symbol of the town is the covered wooden pontoon bridge 'Ponte Alpini', which is said to have been rebuilt following the·designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569. The bridge has been destroyed many times, the most recent was·during WWII. The Alpine soldier’s organization or Alpini have based a large part of their historical pride on the battles of WWI that occurred around wooden bridge and Bassano Del Grappa. After the destruction of the bridge, they took up a private collection and had the bridge completely rebuilt. There are often reunions of soldiers on the bridge singing alpine songs and remembering their days as alpine soldiers.
Today Bassano del Grappa is part of Vicenza's industrial zone and the surrounding area has became quite urbanized is not that attractive for anyone just driving through the area. The SS 47 is a highway that connects the Veneto and Trentino regions and most signs in the area direct you on to this route and getting into the old part of the city can be a challenge at times. However, once within the old walls of the city you find a quaint historical town with a very easy and relaxed pace with plenty of shops and places to eat. This is an area you need to know which roads to take and get where you want to go.
WHAT TO SEE IN BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
- Asparagus Festival is held each spring, with restaurants featuring the famous white asparagus. In the summer and fall, mushroom season is in full swing, with an amazing variety to choose from.·
- On Piazza delia Liberti is the small Loggia del Comune, with its characteristic loggia, Palazzo del Municipio (18th century), and the church of S. Giovanni Battista, founded in 1308 and rebuilt in the late 18th century. During the Middle Ages, Piazzotto Monte Vecchio was Bassano's main square, overlooked by Palazzetto del Monte di Pietii (15th century), with inscriptions and coats-of-arms on the facade. Palazzo Pretorio, built in 1275, has a doorway from 1543.
- The beautiful 18th-century patrician residence of Palazzo Sturm houses the Museo delia Ceramica, a collection of Bassano's famous ceramic ware, with hundreds of objects from local ceramic workshops, ranging from early fragments of medieval ceramics with sgraffito decoration to valuable examples of modern ceramics. Ponte Vecchio is the name of the pretty wooden bridge spanning the River Srenta, designed by Andrea Palladio in 1569, destroyed eight times by floods and war (last rebuilt in 1948).
- On one side of the 'Ponte Alpini' bridge, the Museo degli Alpini overlooks the river. It contains mementoes and photographs from both World Wars and tells the story of the bridge. There are finds from excavations as well as material from the battle-fields and an interesting reconstruction of a WWI trench. On the other side, Villa Veggia Bonaguro is decorated with frescoes by pupils of Veronese and holds exhibitions of ceramics and craft products.
- The Museo delia Grappa "Jacopo Poli" is located in 15th-century Palazzo delle Teste. The museum was created by the Poli family, who own the distillery (dates from 1898). The exhibitions focus on the history of grappa-distilling since it first began, showing how methods have changed; the production cycle of grappa, from the grape-harvest until the grappa comes out of the still. The library has a fine collection of antique and more recent specialist books on the subject. One of the most important is a volume entitled 'Liber de arte distillandi' by Hieronymus Brunschwigh (1500), the first book ever printed on the subject of grappa.
- The Duomo stands within the precinct of the Castello superiore (the entrance is a doorway under a 13th century tower). The old church of S. Maria dates from before the year 1000, but has been altered several times. It has a sturdy campanile with a 13th-century tower.
- The Tempio Votivo dei Caduti is a large, modern war memorial containing the remains of soldiers who died in WWI.
WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT IN BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
Bassano white asparagus has ancient and legendary origins that take us back to a historical period between 1200 and 1500. In the area of Bassano, the asparagus is in an ideal enviorment to grow: sandy, soft, well drained and slightly calcareous terrain around the Brenta River.
- Ristorante al Ponte, via Volpato 60, tel. 0423-219274 local dishes
- Taverna al Ponte, via Angarano 2, 0424-503662, sandwiches
- Baùto, via Trozzetti 27, 0424-34696, Veneto dishes
- Osteria Trinità, contra San Giorgio 17 (outside the old walls) 0424-503700, seasonal foods
WHERE TO STAY IN BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
- Bonotto Hotel Belvedere, piazzale Giardino 14, 0424-529845, just outside the old walls and near the train station
- Hotel Al Castello, via Bonamigo 19, 0424-228665, inside the old city in great location to explore
- Hotel Dal Ponte, viale De Gasperi 2/4, 0424-2191100, new simple hotel in a great location to explore the city.
BEST ACTIVITES FOR AN ACTIVE VACATION IN THE BASSANO DEL GRAPPA AREA
|Rock Climbing||Bike Tour Routes||Mountain Bike Routes|
|Parasailing||Rafting and Kayak||Hiking|