Bassano del GrappaAddress 36061 Bassano del Grappa, Province of Vicenza, Italy
When you dream about your ideal Italian adventure, you probably imagine the vastness of the Roman Colosseum or the dreaminess of the Venice canals. Still, the one place you’re missing out on is a small riverfront town called Bassano del Grappa in Northern Italy. Best known for its wooden 13th-century bridge stretching across the River Brenta and its frontline involvement in World War I and World War II, this city’s history is just as fascinating as its sights are beautiful.
Bassano del Grappa is filled with picturesque views of mountains and running water, a plethora of delicious restaurants and local markets, interesting museums with art exhibits, and lively Italian families who will immerse you in the little town’s unique culture.
Location and Geography
Bassano del Grappa is in Northern Italy’s Veneto region and lies at the foot of the Alps along the River Brenta. Located beneath the Valsugana Valley, you’ll be surrounded by stunning greenery and will probably even see paragliders flying off the mountainous cliffs when it’s a nice day. What’s especially intriguing is that much of Bassano del Grappa’s streets and architectural structures date back to the medieval times, and you can spot pieces of the ancient buildings and cobblestone roads throughout the town.
There are also a few reminders of Bassano del Grappa’s involvement in World War II. What’s known as the Avenue of the Martyrs, the scene where more than 30 Bassanese partisans were caught and hung on trees that lined the street, remains a significant area of the town’s landscape and history.
What to Do and See
The most notable attraction to see in Bassano del Grappa is the Ponte Vecchio, the covered wooden bridge that dates back to the 13th century. Although it has undergone several renovations, its classic structure and beauty remain strong over the width of the River Brenta. Another historical landmark you need to see is the Castello degli Ezzelini. This medieval castle was home to Ezzelino III da Romano, known for his cruelty and tyranny in the Middle Ages. You can explore the castle walls and pathways, which lead you to panoramic views of the surrounding area.
There are also several museums in town that will give you a taste of both modern and vintage art. Make your way to the Piazza Garibaldi, where you’ll find the Museo Civico. The museum showcases various collections, including one about the town’s history, a 16th-century corridor, a medieval section, and The Cloister, an area meant for preserving memorial stones, coats of arms, and tombstones (to name a few). You’ll also want to stop by the Museum of Ceramics in the Palazzo De Fabris on the border of a neighboring town called Nove. Here, you’ll peruse through displays of unique glass designs and hand-painted ceramic plates, bowls, and platters.
Once you’ve had your dose of Italian history lessons, head to the middle of town for the weekly market, which features a variety of food vendors, artisans, clothing, and more. The lively market is spread out through three of the main town squares, and it’s open all day every Thursday and half of the day every Saturday. The colorful, crowded market is a surefire way to plunge yourself into the local Bassanese culture.
If you’re looking for an outdoor excursion to do on your trip, take a short 20-minute drive up the Valsugana Valley. Here, you’ll find hillside waterfalls, head-turning greenery, and even limestone caves you can take a tour through. The caves are known as La Grotta Azzurra (different from the famous caves in Capri), and they will seriously take your breath away. On the tour, you’ll take a small rowboat into a water cavern where you’ll be surrounded by rock walls and limestone dripping from the cave’s ceiling.
Where to Stay and Eat
Of course, you can’t go anywhere in Italy without indulging in the many mouthwatering delicacies it has to offer. If there’s one restaurant you can’t leave Bassano del Grappa without going to at least once, it’s Ristorante Birraria Ottone. Right in the heart of Bassano, the elegant restaurant features a range of seafood specialties, pasta dishes, decadent desserts, and a variety of Italian wines. Once you’re done at Ottone’s, walk over to the Piazza Libertá. In this town plaza, you’ll find a cocktail bar called Palazzo Della Misture, creamy gelato at Gelateria Fratelli, as well as a slew of cafes and coffee shops.
If you want to stay close to the heart of Bassano and its many fine dining locations, there are a variety of hotels and Airbnb spots to choose from, like Hotel Branerro or Hotel Al Castello, the only hotel in the historical center of Bassano del Grappa. If you’re looking for a quieter place to come home to each night, you can stay on the outskirts of town in a house rental like this beautiful countryside home in the neighboring area of Pove del Grappa.
How to Get There
Bassano del Grappa is easily accessible by train, as trains are running in and out of the local station every hour throughout the day. If Bassano del Grappa is your first or only stop in Italy, flying into the Venice Marco Polo Airport is your best bet. Bassano del Grappa is only about an hour’s drive or train ride from Venice, so you can stop and peruse the canals on your way out of town.
Once you get to Bassano del Grappa, most of your touring can be done on foot as everything you’ll want to see is in moderately close proximity. However, if you plan on heading up the Valsugana Valley, you’ll need a rental car or taxi service to get there.