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Travel Agony Aunt

A tour of the Palladian Villas outside Venice

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Travel Agony Aunt received the following question from a traveler in agony:

Dear Travel Agony Aunt,
My wife and I have hired a car for 9 days picking it up in Venice and dropping it off in Vienna. We have decided that we would like to go to Prague and possibly drive to Auschwitz. Wondering if you recommend other cities we should try and see possibly in northern Italy. Your help would be great.
RG, age 34, from Australia

Dear RG,

Your road trip from Venice to Vienna sounds so exciting!

Considering you are traveling by car, I would recommend you something different from ordinary trips to Northern Italy. Instead of visiting the beautiful ancient towns of Verona or Padua, you could make a tour of the famous Palladian Villas scattered throughout the Veneto region, also included on Unesco’s World Heritage List.

These sumptuous buildings, designed by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, are located in Vicenza and in the surrounding countryside. Vicenza itself, approximately 37 miles west of Venice, is home to several famous Palladio’s works, like Villa Capra (La Rotonda) and the Teatro Olimpico.

The Palladian Villas, former country houses of noble families, are real jewels in the Venetian countryside. Your itinerary could begin with Villa Barbaro in Maser, near Treviso, famous for the wonderful frescoes of Paolo Veronese. Then you could head towards Villa Emo in Fanzolo di Vedelago and Villa Cornaro in Piombino Dese, one of the most remarkable examples of Renaissance country house. Villa Foscari in Mira, also called La Malcontenta, shouldn’t be missed either.

For a perfect interlude between the villas I would suggest to visit Asolo, an enchanting hill-town known as the pearl of the Veneto region, favorite retreat of famous artists like Canova and Igor Stravinsky.

If you need some ideas about where to stay, check out our list of accommodation options and hotels in the Veneto region.

Enjoy your road trip and don’t forget to send me a picture postcard if my suggestions were useful!

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One response to “A tour of the Palladian Villas outside Venice”

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  1. Jessica says:
    August 5th, 2008 at 17:59

    I second the vote for Villa Barbaro, which has amazing frescoes by Veronese on the inside. Bassano del Grappa is also quite beautiful with a bridge designed by Palladio and is the home of grappa if you are into that sort of thing. I’ve got to confess, however, that I’m still a big proponent of Padua, as I lived there for several months. It’s never crowded with tourists and is a lovely little town packed with art. The university scene makes sure that is stays lively as well.

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