Adriatic and Venetian Civilization Part 2: From Bolzano to Venice

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This is the continuation of the itinerary: Adriatic and Venetian Civilization Part 1 from Venice to Bolzano

Bolzano

Maretsch Castle - Photo © Dichtung & Wahrheit (Poetry and Truth)
Maretsch Castle – Photo © Dichtung & Wahrheit (Poetry and Truth)

BOLZANO: This ancient city at the meeting point of three rivers (the Adige, the Isarco and the Talvera) preserves a quaint atmosphere of old houses, towers, porticoes, courtyards and Alpine architecture. There is a handsome Gothic Cathedral (14th century) with a stone pulpit of German workmanship, and a Baroque altar. In the Gothic Franciscan Church, we find a carved altar by Hans Klocker and a graceful little cloister. In the Dominican Church, there are frescoes of the Romagna school (Gothic, about 1340) and a Madonna of the Veronese School.

The interesting Museum houses Italian and German works of art, and beautiful products of local handicrafts. A pleasant evening may be spent wandering through Bolzano’s elegant and picturesque streets.

The next morning, after 37 miles on the Brenner Highway or the new Autostrada we reach TRENTO.

Trento

Castello del Buon Consiglio
Castello del Buon Consiglio – Photo © www.buonconsiglio.it

We spend the day visiting Trento.

Where to stay in Trento

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and farm stays available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Riva del Garda

On the morning of the next day, we leave Trento by the road which crosses the Adige and heads towards Vezzano, Arche, and Bagni di Comano, a lovely drive through pine woods to Arco (26 miles from Trento). This little town, dominated by an ancient Castle perched on a cliff was a famous holiday resort at the time of the Austrian Empire. Three more miles and we reach RIVA DEL GARDA.

RIVA DEL GARDA, magnificently situated at the northermost tip of Lake Garda, the largest Italian lake. Riva still preserves some medieval walls, a 13th century Tower and a Parrocchiale (Parish Church) with 16th century paintings, as well as the 14th century Palazzo Pretorio.

Where to stay in Riva del Garda

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and condo hotels available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Lake Garda

In order to go down the lake, we will choose the road along the west side, which we should drive by day passing by magnificent views, through tunnels and below cliffs. We pass through Limone and Tremosine, from which, on the opposite shore, may be seen the town of Malcesine with its beautiful towers, at the foot of majestic Mt. Battle. The road carries on along the foot of cliffs of red rock overhanging the lake; typical Mediterranean vegetation begins to appear in the form of orange and olive trees. Passing through Campione and the tiny port-town of Tignale, we come (18 miles from Riva) to Gargnano, with its beautiful Romanesque Church and 15th century cloister and sculptures. Less than a mile away we come to Bogliaco, with its vast Villa Bittern (18th century), and Toscolano Maderno, an ancient village with a Romanesque church 14th century frescoes inside and the Palazzo Gonzaga (1600). Continuing along the lake, beneath slopes clothed with olive groves and cypresses, we come to GARDONE.

Salo' Piazza - Photo © giovanni4648
Salo’ Piazza – Photo © giovanni4648

GARDONE RIVERA, holiday resort is also famous for the remarkable group of buildings known as the Vittoriale, the museum-residence of Gabriele d’Annunzio (1863-1938), the great Italian poet, and a heroic military figure of the 1915-1918 War.

Immediately after Gardone comes the ancient town of Salò with its old palaces and narrow streets, and a handsome Lombard gothic Cathedral with a Renaissance doorway and a sober interior (Polyptych by Paolo Veneziano, elaborate Gothic altar-piece on the high altar, paintings by Veronese and by Brescian artists). From Salo, after some 12 miles through rolling countryside of vineyards and turreted castles, we come to Desenzano.

Where to stay in Gardone Riviera

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and condo hotels available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Where to stay in Salò

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and villas available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Verona

Verona arena
Verona – Arena

One full day should be reserved to visit Verona

Where to stay in Verona

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and guesthouses available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Vicenza

Villa Pisani Maze
Villa Pisani maze

The next morning we leave Verona early and after a fine drive (32 miles), skirting the hills, come to Vicenza.

Where to stay in Vicenza

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and counry houses available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Monte Grappa

Leaving Vicenza, and traveling some 14 miles along the foot of Monte Grappa, we reach Cittadella, standing within its marvelous 14th century walls, and after another 7 miles, Castetfranco the birthplace of Giorgione, with its red medieval walls, its Castle, its old painted house and the Cathedral which contains, together with works by Veronese and Bassano, one of Giorgione’s masterpieces: a Madonna, painted in 1504.

Ferrara

Ferrara Cathedral
Ferrara Cathedral

From Rovigo, after a 23 mile drive over the plain of the Po Delta, we reach the Po, at Pontelagoscuro, and then immediately enter FERRARA, well worth one day visit.

Where to stay in Ferrara

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and guesthouses available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Ravenna

Ravenna Mosaics
Ravenna Mosaics

We then proceed to RAVENNA, also worth one day visit.

Where to stay in Ravenna

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and condo hotels available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Comacchio

We leave Ravenna by the Via Real and skirting now the sea, now the marshes, at present in the process of being, we come to COMACCHIO

COMACCHIO, which stands next to where the Etruscan city of Spina lies buried. it is a charming little town, with picturesque views from time to time along its canals, such as at the spot known as Treponti. Seventeen miles from Comacchio we come upon the magnificent Abbey of Pomposa, an ancient ecclesiastical fief, and a highly important cultural and political center during the Middle Ages. The beautiful 9th century church with its Romanesque bell-tower (157-ft. high) now .stands isolated in the open countryside. Next to it is the Refectory with frescoes which may be considered the masterpiece of 141 century Emilian painting, and across the way, the Palazzo delta Ragione, where the feudal bishops administered justice.

Where to stay in Comacchio

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and campgrounds available, check them out and make a reservation here.

Chioggia

Carrying on towards the Po, for another seven miles, we reach Mesola, the picturesque village which grew up around a former Hunting Lodge (1583) of the Este Family. After crossing the flat plain, through which the various branches of the Po thread their way, we reenter Venetia at Contarina (47 miles from Ravenna). Crossing several more rivers, including the Adige, we reach (19 miles from Contarina) CHIOGGIA.

CHIOGGIA, an enchanting town which looks rather like a country cousin of Venice. It stands on a group of islands-crossed by three large canals and is, at one and the same time, town and port for the fishermen, whose bragozzi (fishing-smacks), with their brightly colored sails, serve to liven both the sea and the waterways.

Fine churches, such as San Domenico, San Giacomo and the elaborate Gothic San Martino and public monuments, such as the 17th century Vigo Bridge, remind us that the Queen of the Adriatic is not far off. In fact, from Chioggia, keeping left round the shore of the Lagoon, we reach (25 miles) the main Padua-Venice road, between Dolo and Mira, and then, passing by the marvelous series of splendid 17th and 18th century villas along the Brenta, soon arrive in Venice.

Where to stay in Chioggia

There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and campgrounds available, check them out and make a reservation here.

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