Let's leave for a journey to discover the goldsmiths of Vicenza and their rich tradition, among Palladio's villas and Veneto's vineyards.
Vicenza is rightly known as the city of Palladio, the Renaissance architect who went down in history for his magnificent villas, thanks to which the old town is a UNESCO heritage since 1994. There is also another tradition that has made this place famous in Italy and around the world, though, that of the goldsmiths of Vicenza.
Today this modern, elegant town, animated by a lively cultural life, not only hasn't forgotten its past but knows how to enhance it. There is so much to do and see in the city; next to the villas, churches, museums and trendy clubs there are also many shops where the goldsmiths of Vicenza continue to create authentic beauty, now as seven centuries ago.
The goldsmiths of Vicenza: art, craftsmanship and culture
Low buildings with Renaissance style doors, elegant squares surrounded by bars where you can enjoy a spritz, and a river that runs through it. Vicenza, in the heart of Veneto, has all the characteristics of a quiet town in Northern Italy, but when you look at it more closely, you realize that it has a lot of treasures to offer its visitors, and that's not just a figure of speech.
Both the center and the outskirts are full of architectural jewels, while in the many workshops that populate the city you will also find actual jewels, very often made of gold, indeed, because here this kind of craftsmanship is a fundamental part of the local culture. You don't have to be a fan of luxury to enjoy what the goldsmiths of Vicenza have to offer. Their mastery and creativity, in fact, are a source of pride not only for the city, but for all of Italy.
If you love Italian art and craftsmanship, also remember that Venice is less than an hour's drive away. A stay in Vicenza is the perfect opportunity to visit the lagoon city while avoiding the crowds. Visit Venice with the Venice Pass❯
The goldsmiths of Vicenza, a glorious past and a bright future
The story of the goldsmiths of Vicenza is long and began many centuries ago. Metalworking, here in Veneto region, has basically always existed and it's known for certain that local artisans had forges to create fine fibulae and beautiful jewels as early as six centuries before the birth of Christ.
Anyway, if we were to identify an exact date for the birth of this rich tradition, it would be 1339, the year in which the first rich and powerful guild of goldsmiths in Vicenza was founded. Even then the former Roman forum, which later became Piazza dei Signori, hosted fifteen goldsmith shops, but there were many more scattered throughout the rest of the territory.
Today Vicenza has certainly no different, and carries on this magnificent tradition with museums, events, workshops and also important schools to train young artisans. The most refined artisanal techniques have gradually been joined by technology, respecting an illustrious history, but always looking ahead.
Discover the tradition of the goldsmiths of Vicenza
The heart of Vicenza's goldsmith tradition has always been Piazza dei Signori. The nerve center of the city which hosts many activities, from markets to the trendiest bars, is also the home of some important goldsmith shops. Here, and on the nearby Corso Andrea Palladio, you can admire some of the most glittering shop windows in town. Vicenza, however, hosts eight hundred golds workshops, some small and family-run, others bigger, but in any case those who fancy some luxury shopping, are spoiled for choice.
Piazza dei Signori also houses the wonderful Palladian Basilica. This majestic building is not only one of the architectural treasures designed by Andrea Palladio, it's also the home of the Jewelery Museum, one of the few in the world entirely dedicated to this theme. Here you can admire all the art and creativity of the master goldsmiths of Vicenza but also of the rest of Italy.
Not far away is the Diocesan Museum, an eclectic museum that displays a long series of artifacts that trace the history of Christianity in the region. Here, lovers of goldsmith art will also find a three-dimensional model of the historic center of Vicenza, entirely made in silver and gold, bearing witness to the city's tradition.
The other treasures of Vicenza, UNESCO heritage site
It's not only the goldsmiths of Vicenza who make this city an excellent destination for a holiday. A walk to discover its wonderful Renaissance architecture, for example, is certainly worth a visit. Many of them, of course, are signed by Andrea Palladio who left more than twenty villas in Vicenza and the surrounding area.
The Olympic Theater for example, is a magnificent building, as well as the first covered theater in the world. It's located in front of the art gallery of Palazzo Chiericati, which is a Palladio's work as well. A whole museum is also dedicated the famous architect, housed in one of his own buildings, Palazzo Barbaran da Porto.
Just outside the city is a villa called Rotonda, one of Palladio's most famous works also because it inspired the White House, home of the president of the United States of America.
In the centre, however, there are two other important Vicenza's museums: the Gallery of Palazzo Leoni Montanari and the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology.
Finally, Vicenza is located in the heart of one of the major wine districts in Italy. Many important Venetian wines are at home here, such as the famous Amarone which is born in nearby Verona. The city famous for being the home of Romeo and Juliet is in fact less than half an hour's drive away.