The town of Bassano del Grappa, located at the foot of the Dolomite mountains and the Asiago plateau (with its excellent cheese specialties!), and only 50 kms away from Venice, “la Serenissima”, has about 40.000 inhabitants.
This modern town, which celebrated its one thousand years in 1998, kept a superb hallmark from its prestigious medieval past. The beautiful squares and narrow lanes of its historical center are adorned with buildings typical of the Venetian architecture and with façades bearing XVII th century frescoes.
The beautiful museum (Museo Civico) testifies of a more than 2000 artworks rich patrimony. The famous wooden “Ponte Vecchio” (old bridge), aka “Ponte degli Alpini”, which stands across the river Brenta, is covered with an elegant roofing. It suggests a synthesis of the Bassano scenery and history. Built by the renowned XVII th century architect Palladio, it was in 1813 the scene of a battle between Napoleonic and Austrian troops, the marks of which can stil be seen on façades of the nearby buildings. Downstream, the “Brenta Riviera” unrolls its numerous Palladian villas, where gentry of the Republic of Venice used to spend their summers away from the laguna mosquitoes…and from the Doge’s secret police!
The town, nicely surrounded with hills bearing vineyards and olive trees, is also renowned for its asparagus, and especially for the famous “grappa”, distillated in Bassano. The nearby “Monte Grappa” was the scene of the awful combats of the 1st World War that Ernest Hemingway describes in “Farewell to he Arms”. It is following this tragedy that the name of Grappa was attached as a symbol of national heroism to that of the town of Bassano. The town is also proud of having been the cradle of the anti-fascist and anti-nazi resistance movement of the “Partigiani”.
Bassano del Grappa enjoys a robust trade and craftman’s tradition and lives off of a prosperous transformation industry and intense touristic activity, at the heart of region that is renowned for its gastronomy. A centuries old trade fair, “la Fiera Franca di Bassano”,lights up the town and its surroundings every early October. Bassano is also twinned with the south-west german town of Mühlacker.