Asolo: the city of a hundred horizons, Italy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

If you love small towns, especially medieval small towns, where to feel the real atmosphere of Italy, for sure you have to visit some of "Borghi d'Italia", a list of fantastic small towns you should absolutely visit.

I'm lucky as close to my hometown there's one of them and its name is Asolo. Asolo is located not far from Venice (50 km) upon a hill in a priviliged position. It is called "the city of a hundred horizons" because of the great landscapes you can see from the town and also from its castles.
Diaries of an explorer

Founded during the prehistoric time, it became an important Roman Municipium and then an important centre of The Most Serene Republic of Venice (Seressima), ruled by the Queen of Cipro Caternina Cornaro from 1489 to 1510.

Due to its quiet atmosphere, its narrow streets and the great landscapes formed by the hills and the Prealpine mountains, Asolo has always been a town that attracted Italian and foreign writers, like Piero Bembo, Robert Browning who dedicated to the city his work "Asolando", Giosuè Carducci, or artists like the actress Eleonora Duse, Igor Strawinsky, Freya Stark, Palladio, Canova, Lotto and Giorgione.

The town has maintained its medieval look, surrounded by the old walls and gates and dominated by the Rocca, a castle that during the Middle Ages was built to protect the town form attacks.
Diaries of an explorer
The landscapes you can see from the Rocca are stunning: you can enjoy the sightseeing of the Venetian lowland, the town, the hills, but most of all the Prealpine mountains on the north.
Diaries of an explorer
In particular, if there's the snow, you can have even a better sightseeing.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorerDiaries of an explorer

If you come back to the town centre, you can walk along suggestive streets with old palaces and houses with their Gothic arcades and frescoed facades.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Going along Via Browning (Browning St), you can get to one of the sightseeing points of the town, close to the Teatro dei Rinnovati.
Diaries of an explorer
Finally you get to the heart of Asolo, with its Cathedral, built on Roman ruins. Inside you can see paintings such Assunta by Lorenzo Lotto and another Assunta by Jacopo da Ponte called "il Bassano".
Diaries of an explorer
The main square is formed by the same Cathedral, the Fontana Maggiore ( the fountain) and the Palazzo della Ragione, or Town Museum, and a Gothic house.
Diaries of an explorer
From it, and after having had a coffee in the exclusive Caffè Centrale, there's Piazza Brugnoli, once place of the Roman thermal baths, where you can still see a portion of the aqueduct and most of all the enchanting Villa Scotti - Pasini and the Rocca.
Diaries of an explorer
In some palaces of the town, you can even find the so-called Venetian arcades.
Diaries of an explorer
From the main square you can easily get to the Castle, once residence of the Queen Caterina Cornaro, with its tower ( Torre Reata) and now contains the Eleonora Duse Theatre.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
There's another sightseeing point here: you can enjoy the panoramic view over the town:
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
If you leave the castle and walk along Via Canova, you can see the Eleonora Duse house (Casa Duse) and then Porta S. Caterina (St. Caterina gate) with the ancient walls.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Please take a look at the old buildings and houses: you can see many frescos on the walls.
Diaries of an explorer
You can also see fantastic villas: in fact, Asolo is normally a place of wealthy people, but also heritage of old villas like this one.
Diaries of an explorer
Here there are some peacocks with their stunning "wheel".
Diaries of an explorer

Travel tips:
  • Where to eat: have a coffee at the Caffè Centrale, whereas I would recommend you the Osteria al Bacaro in order to taste the typical Venetian courses. If you want to taste some good wines, you can also choose the Enoteca Alle Ore.
  • How to get there: I would recommend to get there by car, but if you are using the public transport please check here.
  • Time to visit: One day - I would recommend also to visit the beautiful surroundings and itineraries.
  • Surroundings: at few km you can go to Possagno, with its beautiful Temple and Canova Museum, the city of Antonio Canova. Do not miss it! :-)
Where to sleep:
  • Budget accomodation: B&B Zia Maria, at only 2 km from Asolo, breakfast included, ideal for hiking and biking, prices around 50 Euros per night per double room.

  • Medium budgetCountry House Barone d´Asololocated in the old medieval town, , breakfast included, prices between 90-100 Euros per room per double room.

  • Luxury budgetHotel Villa Cipriani, also located in old medieval town,  breakfast included, prices around 250 Euros per room per double room.

 This is Veneto: my land and that off the beaten path Italy that you should absolutely explore! :-)

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