Vicenza is the city of Palladio. Thanks to his architectural works, the city earned UNESCO recognition in 1994. But Vicenza is much more...Art city of Veneto, not as touristic as Venice. If you are there, you must visit Vicenza. For one day or more, here are 5 things to visit and do in Vicenza!
1. Squares of Vicenza
The squares of Vicenza are very characterizing places, always lively and popular among the citizens.
The main square in Vicenza is Piazza Dei Signori. It is recognisable by its two columns dedicated to Venice: on the top of each, there is one of Venice's symbol, the lion and the Christ Redeemer.
In this square, there are some of the most important monuments of the city, such as Loggia Del Capitanio, Palazzo Del Monte di Pietà, St. Vincenzo Church. Anyway, the most important of these, dominant on the square, are the Basilica Palladiana and the Bissara Tower.
The Basilica Palladiana is a work of Palladio. Contrary to what one might think, it has never been a place of worship. Palladio gave it that name referring to the concept of basilica during Ancient Rome, which was a place where Romans managed politics and important business. Indeed, it was built to restore the Palazzo Della Regione. Nowadays, it hosts events and expositions. On the ground floor, there are goldsmith's shops and the Museum of Jewellery, while from its terrace it is possible to admire the wonderful landscape of the city and maybe to enjoy a "spritz", the famous aperitif of Veneto.
About the spritz, another popular nightlife place in Vicenza is the so-called Piazza Delle Poste (Post Square). It is a street (Contrà Garibaldi), but the locals call it that because of its Post Office. In the square, there is a fountain too (Fontana Dei Bambini = Children's Fountain) and there are lots of bars, restaurants and clubs.
Another important square is Piazza Duomo, where there are the cathedral and the Diocesan Museum. The Santa Maria Annunciata Cathedral, where is very interesting the visit in its archaeological excavations.
2. Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza
Teatro Olimpico is the oldest covered theatre in the world. It is the last work of Andrea Palladio who unfortunately died before the end of the construction. For its project, he was inspired by the Roman theatres, making an elliptical auditorium with steps and a stage where pillars, statues and bas-reliefs follow each other.
The theatre was inaugurated in 1585 with a performance of Oedipus the King by Sophocles, which still maintains the beautiful scenery that has stayed where it was first installed. The theatre is still in operation and set for classical performances and concerts. The theatre season goes from March to October, because of its delicate wooden structures, there isn't any air conditioning and heating.
Santuario della Madonna di Monte Berico
Just outside the city, on the hill overlooking it, the Monte Berico, there is the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Berico.
It was built between 1426-28 after the Marian apparitions during the plague. It is a monumental complex made by two churches: one older in gothic style and another one later in baroque style.
From here, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city.
4. The streets of Vicenza
Walking around Vicenza is like walking in history. In the city, there are ruins of every age: from the Roman walls to the Renaissance palaces.
The main street in Vicenza is Corso Andrea Palladio, from where you access the historical centre and meet most of the sites mentioned above. It is largely bordered by arcades, its route has remained the same since Ancient Rome. It is dedicated to the most illustrious citizen. Corso Palladio is full of important historical buildings such as noble palaces, churches, Medieval towers, shops, cafè and typical taverns.
Along the river, there is Ponte San Michele, a footbridge from 1621. It is one of the most romantic and suggestive corners in Vicenza, a meeting point for young people and couples!
Sport and relax in the Parks of Vicenza
If you are looking for a relaxing place or to have a picnic, in Vicenza there are wonderful green lungs where you can walk or stop during your visit.
Along Corso Palladio, it's possible to reach Giardini Salvi. It is a park where inside there is Loggia Valmarana, a kind of small temple on the water built (maybe) by a Palladio's student at the end of the 16th century. It's said that here many lovers have sworn eternal love.
The main public park in Vicenza is Parco Querini. Here the people go to walk, ride bikes or jogging. There is a small neoclassical temple surrounded by a small pond with many animals.
Instead, if you like the skateboard, I suggest going to the newest park in the city: Parco Fornaci opened in the Summer of 2007. Here there is the second biggest skate park in Italy, a bowling green and a life path.