If you are planning to tour Europe, consider the Veneto region of northern Italy on the Gulf of Venice. Venice is its best-known city and an extremely popular tourist destination. But the Veneto region is a lot more than Venice. It hosts many other excellent tourist attractions, and you wonít fight huge crowds. You may avoid tourist traps, and return home feeling that you have truly visited Italy. This article examines tourist attractions in southern Veneto. Be sure to read our companion articles on northern Veneto, on that Shakespearean city of Verona, and on the university city of Padua.
Vicenza, population one hundred twenty thousand, over the centuries passed from one occupier to another. Its heyday was in the Sixteenth Century as the home of Andrea Palladio, often considered the most influential person in the history of Western architecture. He designed many of the cityís buildings and all over the Veneto region, honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palladio greatly influenced Thomas Jeffersonís Monticello, and half the American state capitol buildings. Donít tour Vicenza without visiting several of his masterpieces including the Fifteenth Century Renaissance Basilica Palladiana in the central Piazza dei Signori, finally completed thirty years after his death and his last work, the Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theatre).
The town of Rovigo, population about fifty thousand, is rich in history and culture. The St. Stephen Cathedral was first built prior to the Eleventh Century and rebuilt in the Fifteenth and the Seventeenth Centuries. Be sure to see its interior artwork. Of course there are other churches worth visiting. Visit the Teatro Sociale (Social Theater). Performances are held from October to April. Donít miss the historic Piazzas (Squares). The largest is dedicated to Emperor Victor Emmanuel II and boasts several palaces including Palazzo Roncale, now Pinacoteca dei Concordi (Concordi Gallery), one of the most important art galleries in Veneto. The Piazza has a statue to the emperor and a Saint Markís lion.
How can you know if a Veneto town is peaceful or not? The answer is quite simple; go to its Leone di San Marco (Saint Markís Lion) statue. If the lionís tail points down the town is peaceful. If it points up watch out; there may be trouble. Rovigoís lion had a tail that pointed down. This call for peace didnít stop Napoleonís soldiers from destroying the statue. The statue that you see today was erected in 1881, and its tail still points down.
What about food? Despite of the great variety of food available in this once poor but now fairly well off part of Italy many people often ate foods we might find strange. Iím not talking about lamb and sheepís milk cheese from the Rovigo area. Pigeon is a specialty both in Padua and other localities. Padua has a specialty made from salted, dried, and smoked horsemeat that I havenít tasted. I draw the line at Stracotto díAsino, a donkey meat recipe often served as a pasta sauce. Some say that you have to simmer this concoction for seven or eight hours to tenderize the meat. I donít think I want to find out.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
Feel free to reprint this entire article which must include the resource box