Bassano del Grappa, a romantic town at the foot of the Venetian Alps, is famous for many things. Its beautiful center overlooks the banks of the Brenta River and tells a long story. Its location allows, on clear days, a great view of the Grappa massif and the entire imposing bulk of the Asiago Plateau. But what are the absolute must-see things in this city?
A beautiful terrace in the mountains that (unfortunately) recalls a tragic event. The helmet-shaped trees are meant to commemorate the Grappa round-up carried out by the Nazis during World War II, and in particular, the hanging of 31 young partisans in September 1944 by German troops during their occupation of Italy. A walk to remember, but also to admire the incredible view.
The first documents mentioning the existence of a fortified structure in Bassano date back to the end of the first millennium. It had simple walls, wooden huts, a church, a cemetery, a tavern, and warehouses. It was built by free citizens for military and defensive purposes, while in the 12th century it became the stronghold of the Da Romano family, until the death of Alberico.
The church of San Francesco was built between the 12th and 13th century outside the walls, at the city gates. The building is in Romanesque-Gothic style and was made of stone and river pebbles alternated with terracotta bands. It has a Latin cross plan, a gabled facade, and a portico from the early 14th century. Near to the church, where the city's civic museum is now located, there was the ancient convent of San Francesco.
Access to Ponte Vecchio from the historical center of the city is near the Nardini distillery. The distillery, opened in 1779, is among the historic places in Italy. It was also frequented by writer Ernest Hemingway, who spent some time at Ca' Erizzo, a villa north of Bassano, now home to the Hemingway Museum.
The Ponte Vecchio is the quintessential symbol of the city of Bassano del Grappa. It was first mentioned in 1209 as a wooden bridge. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the years due to brentane (sudden river floods), it was redesigned by Andrea Palladio in 1569. The bridge offers spectacular views of the Brenta and the mountains that serve as a backdrop to the north of the city of Bassano.
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