Posted by Pat on March 31, 2015 in Travel
Welcome to Italia. “Transportation strike is to begin at 10am and last until 1pm.” In true Italian style, they strike but are polite enough to tell you ahead of time and limit the inconvenience. Unfortunately, noting the bulletin at 9:55am with a 10:50 train to catch is not how I want to begin my morning. We rush to the vaparetto stop and hope for the best. And indeed, we receive good fortune. We reach our train with time to spare and are whisked away to the small city of Vicenza just 45 minutes east of Venezia.
What was a wonderful experience on an active Sunday three years ago with a colorful flea market and bustling activity about the walled city of Vicenza proves a little dull and quiet on a Monday. Our House delle Bele room is cute with its private entrance and small patio but this entrance is up a set of narrow spiral stairs. Once we get the wifi to work, we are a bit more content.
We strolled the city and its beautiful main square. After a lunch of caprese con bufala we set off to the Basilica Palladiana and their special exhibit on “Tutankhamon, Caravaggio, Van Gogh. Evening and nocturnals from the Egyptians to the 20th Century.” Featured artists included selected paintings from many of my favorites: Caravaggio, Titian, Tintoretto, Turner, Monet, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Gauguin, and Klee. All in one huge beautiful building.
Our afternoon is quiet, probably too much so. The 16th century architecture of Vicenza, especially the main piazza and Duomo, is wonderful. This is the city of Andrea Palladio, considered by many to be the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture and whose designs inspired some of the greatest buildings in Europe and the U.S. His facades represent the best of Venetian Renaissance with arched doors and windows, most famously the arched three-part windows modeled after classical Greek and Roman forms. The entire old city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The villas, Olympic Theater, and galleries carry the creativity of this great architect whose statue holds a place of honor in the main square.
Palazzo del Capitaniato, designed by Palladoio, 1571
I ask about an Osteria for dinner and am told by the bookseller there are two options in the city. Though the city closes for the afternoon, the evening is a little livelier and the main Piazza dei Signori with its 250′ tower, palazzos and Basilica is a favorite gathering point for families and a wonderful father/son guitar/violin duet. Our inactivity may prepare us for the last great rush in Verona and Milano.
In the morning, I make rather weak coffee for breakfast, collect some extra bread, and head for the park just behind our room. There the pigeons and ducks reap the benefits of our having an hour or so before our train.