The Veneto - Prosecco Wine Area
The Veneto is one of the Regions of Italy, located up in the top right corner of the country. Venice is in Veneto.
Within Veneto there are a number of Provinces, and our stay was in the Province of Padova. Much of the Veneto (57%) is within the Po Valley. The Euganean Hills, where we stayed, are some of the hills that break the flat plains of the Po.
We left Venice taking a water taxi to the Piazzale Roma, where the car rental offices are located. Yes, this is the way to travel in Venice! We went to pick up a car/van and ended up with a Mini-Bus. It was one of those, take this or we have nothing. Much of the first week was spent trying to arrangement to exchange the Mini-Bus for something that could be driven in small towns and fit into a parking space.
But, the Mini-Bus was great on the highway and we and drove to the Euganean Hills to the town of Baone. This would be our base to visit the area. We started with a drive down the Prosecco Route from Conegilano to Valdobbiadene. I am not sure what I though the area would look like, but the vineyards grown in valleys and on hills. The terrain was steeper than expected.
Located in the town of Baone, we stayed at the Ca’Orologio -- a beautiful agriturismo. Maria Gioia Rosellini and her husband Pietro refurbished a large estate, converting the villa’s old barchessa, a traditional regional style of barn, into guest rooms and suites. We had a large suite with a bedroom, living room area and one of the most unique and functional "in the wall kitchens" I have ever encountered. Open two doors and a small kitchen appears. This kitchen had everything!
Each day would commence with a morning drive and photo shoot, then we would return for breakfast, and then head out to one of the cities in the province. The afternoon shut-down creates its challenges. Things just shut down after 1:30 and do not open up again until about 4:30. It means if you want a morning to explore a town, you do have to be their early. It was always amazing how a city would be alive and busy and by 1:30 it could become a ghost town!
The Euganean Hills are very scenic. and the area is a provincial park. But within the park are numerous towns. One such town is the stone-building medieval town of Arqua Petrarca. The town we see today dates from the 14th Century.
Another was Valsanzibio - noted for its impressive villa. The Villa Berbarigo was built by Venetian noble Berbarigo in the 17th Century. At that time, there was a canal from Venice to the impressive gate of his villa. While the villa is closed to the public, the formal gardens of the estate are open, and they are very impressive. (Click on thumbnail below for larger image)
Town in the Eurganean Hills of the Veneto Region
Our morning drives always took us to some scenic location
Next, Click Este Tab above ...
Este was just three km from our agriturismo. The city has a long history, including being a Roman settlement, but it was in the 10th Century when Azzo II d'Este built a castle here and then later established the House of Este that the economy of the city took off. The Este held this city and area until 1240 when they moved the House of Este to Ferrara.
Today, Este remains a scenic town. The clock tower, dates from 1690, is particularly impressive. Clocks are a part of the scene of this town. At one point my friend Mike noted that standing in one particular place you can see three different towers with clocks.
Here we would go through the ritual of shopping... different stores for different foods. We would find the various merchants - a shop to buy wine, or vegetables or meat. On one day, I went into a particular macelleria to get some veal. Okay, I did no best with my Italian. I asked for the veal, vitello, I asked for slices, fette per scallopini, and I asked for eight slices, otto fette. I thought I was doing pretty good. He made me work through the entire process. At the end, in perfect English he says... have a nice day! I must admit I appreciate when I have to work through the conversation. Otherwise I am never going to learn the language.
Next, select Padova from the tab above ...
On the day we went to Valsanzibio we decided to pop into Padova for lunch. The town is located about 15 km away. Unfortunately, we still had the mini-bus, or what we referred to as "The Beast", so that created new challenges into getting into the city. There were limited options for us to park the mini-bus in the city. No use looking at one of those small spaces all marked off with blue lines. I would need more than one rectangle! In the end we drove around a found a slot.
Padova claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. It has quite the history and there is a range of impressive architecture. One of the noted sights is the Scrovegni Chapel. We choose not to go through the pre-booking required to get in to see the impressive frescoes. We decided to just enjoy being in the city.
One of the centre points is the large Palazzo della Ragione. This is an impressive palace that dates back to 1172. It has the "Great Hall" on the top floor, and is said to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe. The inside walls have allegorical frescoes. It takes some time due to the darkness but your eyes do adjust.
When we arrived, Karen asked for help in finding a restaurant and we were directed to look in the Piazza dei Fruitti area. It turned out to be right in front of the Palazzo della Ragione. This area has been a market area for for hundreds of years. In fact, on one side of the Palazzo della Ragione is the Piazza dei Fruitti (fruits) and on the other side is the Piazze dell Erbe (herbs).
Our walk about the town including walking down to the Piazza dei Signori where the impressive Torre Dell'Orologio stands at the end.
The Piazza Duomo is adjacent to this area, however the Duomo was closed for the lunch/early afternoon.
(Click on thumbnail below for larger image)
Next, select Verona from the tab above ...
As we arrived in Verona, the challenge again was to find a parking space where we could park "The Beast". We did find a spot on a street not far from the centre. It had a meter so we have to return in two hours to re-load. We also selected a restaurant for our meeting place. The restaurant, La Griglia, on via Leoncino was excellent. One of the best meals on our trip so far.
But there were other great sights, like Manella Pen. Oh yes, Karen's keen eyes spotted the small pen store located on the busy pedestrian street, via Mazzini. We went in and met Rudi Manella. We had quite the visit. He even took us to his second store.
We had our errand of the day, today to buy a batter charger (for Karen) and see some of the sights of the town. We did stop by Juliet's House, which shows the balcony where Romeo promised Juliet his eternal love. The courtyard is just packed with tourists! (Click on thumbnail below for larger image)
Next, select Vincenza from the tab above ...
Finally, we went to another the "V Towns", Vincenza. This is the city of architect Andre Palladio. The city was impressive, it is quite the sight to walk from a basic parking lot, down a couple blocks and then into the impressive Piazza die Signori. Here the tower and the Basilica other buildings create an impressive square.
The Torre di Bissara is an 82 meter high clock tower that dates back to 1172. But, as with many structures, work took some time. The final work on the tower was in 1444 when the pinnacle was finished.
The Basilica Palladiana, with impressive loggia on two levels, was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1549. It was completed 35 years after his death. A short walk about, a good lunch, and then we headed back home. Click on thumbnail below for larger image)
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