Where better to learn about design than in the Venice area?
Bryan describes the past and present of a great little town very close to Venice. And she tells about the local food and where to eat.
Treviso is in the Veneto region of northern Italy, around 30 km north of Venice. It is rather overshadowed by its illustrious neighbour. It sits between two rivers, the SIle and Bottenig with canals crisscrossing the city. It is known as the Citta d’Acqua, the city of water.
Treviso is a beautiful small city, not on the scale of Venice but I believe a quieter, less touristy, more authentic Italian city. Ryan Air flies into Treviso and the airport is only 3 kilometres from the city, making it an ideal short break destination. I really like Treviso it has a very relaxed, refined yet down to earth charn. You can happily wander around the streets, the city walls and the canal sidewalks to soak up the atmosphere.
The city can be traced back to the 15th century BC. It was recognized as a free commune in the 12th century by the Emperor Frederick 1 and known as a "joyous and harmonious March" during this period. It became part of the Venetian Republic in 1389. The current city walls and gates were originally constructed in 1509 as defense for the Republic. The city was known as the "Granary of the Republic" as the plains by the river were ideal for growing wheat.
What to see
The five domed Cathedral houses frescoes by Pordennone and the Announciation by TItan. The current structure was built in the 15th and 16th century on the site of a 12th century church. San Nicola, a Dominican church has 14th century frescoes by Modena. The Civic Museum in Borgo Cavour, a former Jesuit monastery, has a collection of swords from the Bronze Age excavated from the prehistoric site of St Antonino. There are also paintings by Giambellon and Lotto. I enjoyed just wandering along the canal side admiring the painted houses. It is also very beautiful in the evening. The National Park of the River Stile offers various events throughout the year.
Where to eat
Trattoria all"Oca Bianca is a traditional restaurant, open since 1921. They seem to have adopted geese as their logo and even sell goose decorated crockery.
Osteria Ponte Dante, Piazza Garibaldi 6, tel 0442 582924, specializes in fish dishes. It has a terrace which overlooks the River Stile.
Many dishes incorporate the raddicchio rosso. The riaddichio is alleged to allieviate insomnia and help purify the blood. It was very popular with monks in the middle ages to give some colour and zing to their rather plain diet.
There is an annual Chestnut Festival in the village of Combai in the pre-alps for the last three weeks in October. You can taste and buy the marrons. On Sundays there are many activities for children such as painting workshops and guided walks in the woods.
You can read the full guide to Treviso with photos and accommodation choices at www.europealacarte.co.uk/italy/treviso.html
Karen Bryan is a UK based independent travel consultant and writer. Her website Europe a la Carte, www.europealacarte.co.uk, features less well-known destinations in Europe. Karen believes that if you venture even slightly off the beaten tourist track that you will see more of the real Europe.
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