Veneto. Villas, Valleys and Vistas, Italy: 2013.

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Our drive from Lago Iseo to Asolo turned out to be a lot longer than we anticipated. The drive to Vicenza went quite smoothly so a stop there for lunch was great even to finding the parking station that we had wanted to park in. Vicenza is beautiful with its Palladio masterpieces of the Basilica and many other villas that shops are now in.


It’s great to see the buildings being used in today’s way and not just decaying as it can happen.


We are thankful for the Loggias that are everywhere for us to walk in, as the midday sun is hot,so the coolness of being under cover and walking on marble keeps the temperature right down.

The few hours wandering of Vicenza was immensely enjoyed and so the planned car trip to Asolo with map in hand was next.



The best made plans don’t always go the way we want and the many roundabouts leaving Vicenza that were not signposted with places that we knew, so we took a different road than we planned after driving in circles for a while and then we enjoyed our back road drive instead of the Autostrada that we were avoiding until we came to a town not far from where we were heading, Bassona de Grappa , spun us in a complete topsy turvy and we were way off track going in the wrong direction.


Eventually we arrived in the beautiful hill town of Asolo and our landlord Caroline was waiting patiently for us as we were nearly an hour later than we had planned on meeting her at Casa Bembo, our home for the next week.


We are delighted in our choice of Casa Bembo, a gorgeous new apartment with back terrace looking out to a wonderful vista of the hills and valleys and the other way is a villa to gaze upon.



Our last time to beautiful Asolo was 9 years ago, so we are looking forward to getting the chance to really know the town this time,and also enjoy Tony’s birthday celebrations. The Palladian villas are plentiful around the countryside near here so John is in his element researching which ones we will be able to get access to.




Casa Bembo wants for nothing, Caroline has thought of everything, so we are able to relax, have a siesta and then just stay put for the night instead of going out for food etc.


We made a Caprese salad and sat outside in the perfect evening and drank the bottle of cold Prosecco that was left for us, it was a great way to start our Asolo experience just taking in the amazing environment. We did not notice the mosquitoes, but they found Ann big time and her bites were left to haunt for another week.!



The next morning we appreciate the birdlife in our gorgeous garden and enjoy the fruit that Caroline left for us also. Tony and Colleen visit and we walk up the hill into town for a classic Pizza and salad lunch together with Aperol Spritzer followed by Prosecco. Thank heavens for the frizzante water in between otherwise we would have been rolling back home as our dessert of Scropino had lemoncello in it also, so were well over our quota.



A siesta was well deserved so we could go out again and eat some more. We drive to Castelcucco to pick up Tony and Colleen, and Tony drove us to Bassona del Grappa to experience the town and its covered bridge and river and we enjoyed a light salad overlooking the river in a local trattoria, watching the fishermen.



The night life was happening all around on a Thursday night, everyone , young and old enjoying the coolness of the evening, and we enjoyed our pasaggieta taking it all in. It’s a lovely town which we will revisit later in the week during the day.


Friday and John was up to do his exercise before we headed uptown to buy supplies from the Deli. We found a Fruitier and a deli with a classic old guy with a croaky voice, who was the world’s best salesman and he had us walking out with his best prosciutto ü,Pane, Proseco, gorgonzola, biscuits and other various treats! he did very well out of our little visit.


Late morning we picked up Tim & Jodie from Castelfranco train station and even managed to get lost getting to and coming back from The Train Station but we headed for the landmark Monte Grappa and found our way. We all enjoyed a lovely Pasta lunch in the main Piazza in Asolo and headed back for la pauser. John decided to take a short stroll before dinner but being true to form his journey down a country lane turned into an adventure into the local forest.


This  saw him go in the total opposite direction and have to climb back up the hill to the town, 1.5 hours later he was back with only 15 mins to get ready to go out.


We were invited to a pizza night at Tony’s sister, Rosanna’s ,place where they were staying and enjoyed a lovely evening out under the gazebo and a great chandelier found at the tip with her husband Adrianno, and his cousins. Ann was excited to get the chance to sit at a long family table with Italians in Italy, instead of just being a tourist all the time. The pizzas were so delicious and the ice-cream for desert was divine! It was great listening to the conversations mixed up with English all night and understanding bits and pieces along the way, especially with hand gestures.Tony,Colleen and Rosanna were great interpreters for us too.



Saturday was Party night but first John met Tim & Jodie to have an early morning walk up to The Castello on the rock before breakfast so Ann had a nice sleep in and we then took the day slowly enjoying a home made Caprese salad and procuttio and Melon salad under the olive tree until we decided it was a good day to see some villas,




The two main local ones Villa Maser and Villa Emo were both open so we ventured out into the heat ( 34deg at least ) and thoroughly enjoyed the tours.




Our air-condioned car is a welcome relief to climb back into.
The party started at The Rock Bar in Castelcucco which has a brilliant atmosphere, old sofas all around and great music and cheap drinks .The sandwich aperitifs made by Rosanna’s friend, Nieves ,are so delicious, together with the beers and aperol spritzers we meet fellow part goers and chat.




Then we moved onto the MoMA restaurant in lower Asolo for the dinner and celebrations. There were about 35 people including the 8 Aussies and lots of Tony’s old school friends from when he lived here for three years as a teenager.
The food and wine were delicious and the present giving was entertaining. Humour is humour in any language.


The ladies next to John kept us entertained with their limited English and theme songs from american tv shows, especially Happy Days and Fonzie !We called it a night at around 1am and left the locals to it until around 3am. It was a great night and we were so happy to get the chance to be part of such an occasion.


Sunday and another nice sleep in before meeting up at Catelcucco at 12 noon to go out for lunch at a local Swimming pool and bar out in the countryside in the middle of a farm.

Well John was not going to pass up the opportunity for a swim but he was the only one out of our party of 10 to take the plunge, equipped as he was with a compulsory bright red and white swimmers cap. He blended in with the locals who were enjoying a splash in the pool.

We had a lazy lunch of pasta and many drinks before heading up to The Canovian Temple which is the resting place for what who is considered the greatest sculptor of all time Antonio Canova.



We then finishin  up for an afternoon Gelati at Castelcucco and boy was it good, it was the same gelato we had had for dinner at Rosanna’s so were ready with our favourite ones to pick.
That night we had a quiet one and enjoyed a light leftovers snack dinner of prosciuto,cheese and pomodoro outside on the Terrazza.


On Monday we arranged to spend the day on an Architectural tour through the Veneto to Bassano del Grappa and back again with Tim & Jodie and found some gems along the way.especially the Santa maria Monte.




We enjoyed a light lunch next to The Ponte Vecchio in Bassano del Grappa overlooking the river.



We wandered the streets before heading off into the hills below Monte Grappa to visit a special little church on the way back to Asolo.



That night we had a beautiful dinner on the terrazza at Albergo del Sole , the hotel that Tim and Jodie were staying at, under a stunning full moon.




we ambled our way home through the beautiful streets and their beautiful night lighting.




Our last day in Asolo was spent wandering along another architectural trail searching out Villas and gardens that were not open or under restoration.



until we came across this amazing Tomb for The Brion family who were local Industrialists and lovers of modern Art and sculpture as well as Oriental thinking and style, the chapel, gardens and general Zen atmosphere was spellbinding especially as it was out in the countryside attached to a regular cemetery.



we finnished off the day with a further wandering around the town and and a big bowl of pasta and media beer in the shade in town to escape the escalating heat.



we got dressed up to the nines and completed the evening with a wonderful dinner out in the garden of the Villa Ciprani.


Our visit back to Asolo has been wonderful, being social with friends, seeing new and wonderful sites and also having a chance to relax in such beautiful surroundings. It will certainly be a highlight of our holiday




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