There are places that we have to visit at least once in our lifetime. Venice or Rome for example. AND there are special places where we go back again and again because it gives us beautiful memories.
My favourite place in Italy is Bassano del Grappa, a small city in the outskirts of Venice. It lies at the foot of the majestic Monte Grappa, from which it borrowed its name. In addition to the snow-capped mountain, the clear River Brenta that passes through the city adds up to its allure.
I discovered Bassano del Grappa in the summer of 2010, while searching for a special drink – Grappa. This is an Italian digestif made from discarded grapes that originated from this former village. From Sta Lucia station in Venice, Bassano del Grappa is only an hour and a half by train. Because the city is so small, it is ideal for daily or weekend trips.
A 10-minute walk from the train station will take you to Ponte degli Alpini or Palladio’s bridge – a covered wooden bridge designed Andrea Palladio, Italy’s most famous villa architect. Whenever I am in Venice, I always include Bassano del Grappa to my itinerary. Standing on Ponte degli Alpini looking out to Monte Grappa is enough to take away my stress. It is such a picturesque place, don’t you think? It is a paradise for me.
I’d catch the early train from Venice to Bassano del Grappa and eat breakfast at Taverna Al Ponte, joining the local men drinking their first espresso there. I would have my meal on the terrace with the view of the pastel-colored houses on the other side of the river and enjoy a nice glass of white wine from the Dolomites together with my ham and cheese sandwhich. To end my meal, I would ask Roberto to pour me a glass of grappa and serve it with a strong shot of espresso.
Breakfast usually takes hours because I tend to order second glasses. I’d finish with a glass of apple liqueur and by the time I am done, half of the day is already gone. I would spend the remaining hours walking around the town, peering into the little boutiques selling jewelry and shoes or sit under one of the statue at Piazza Liberta gazing at the city’s grand clock adorning Museo Civico. Before my train back to Venice leaves, I’d spend an hour at Museo del Grappa, deciding which variety to take back home.
Happy, tipsy and very much relaxed, I would walk back to the train station and sleep all the way to Venice, dreaming of my next journey to this town.