You can view all posts from my trip to Italy here.
When my friends and I were planning our trip to Italy, we knew we wanted to hit the major cities like Venice and Florence, and we also wanted to visit a smaller town to get a more authentic Italian experience. Morgan wanted to see some mountains, so we looked at a map and found a town called Bassano del Grappa in the foothills of the Alps and just an hour train ride from Venice. None of us had ever heard of Bassano del Grappa before, but I absolutely loved the town and it’s truly a hidden gem in Italy. This post isn’t even going to begin to do Bassano del Grappa justice, and I cannot recommend visiting it enough! 🙂
Every time we told an Italian that we were going to or had just been to Bassano del Grappa, every single person immediately said “Why?!” It’s not well known outside of Italy and people said there isn’t anything to do there, so no one understood why we were going. But it’s so much more fascinating and beautiful than people were giving it credit for! We researched a bit about Bassano del Grappa before we went, but we learned an incredible amount of history and information about the town while we were there. It was instrumental in both world wars, and Ernest Hemingway spent time there as an ambulance driver during WWI and included it in “A Farewell to Arms,” which I want to reread to learn more about his experience there.
One of my favorite things about Bassano del Grappa was how relaxed it was, and there were very few tourists (apparently the only tourists they get there are German). We got a LOT of stares from locals because four American girls (three of them giants with blonde hair) stood out like a sore thumb! Everyone was so friendly and nice though, even when we were struggling to communicate. It was the perfect place to get a true local experience- so authentic in fact, that one of the restaurants we went to had a bathroom with just a hole in the floor, true story. That was the ONLY thing I didn’t like about Bassano del Grappa!
We left Venice early in the morning to catch our train to Bassano del Grappa, and after many mishaps at the train station (I’m going to have an entire post on how to do Italy by train and avoid all the mistakes we made), we made it to Bassano del Grappa. Unlike Venice, the weather was absolutely beautiful with blue skies the entire time, and it was so nice stepping off the train and taking in some fresh, mountain air. We stayed at B&B Ca’ Garibaldi, and it was right in the center of town and only a short walk from the train station. Our apartment was beautiful with tons of rooms and space (including a dining room!), and it was actually one of the cheapest places we stayed the whole trip! My only complaint is that the Wifi was very weak and I couldn’t even get on it, and it was a little frustrating since most of us were completely relying on Wifi to use our phones (I did manage to tell my mom I arrived in one piece though, and thankfully there were no emergencies where we would had definitely needed Wifi). Other than that, the apartment was great! They were very flexible about our arrival time, and there were even water bottles in the fridge.
The balcony was probably my favorite part!
The views from the balcony were incredible!
After we got settled, we decided to meander around town. There isn’t all that much to do in Bassano del Grappa because there aren’t any major sites like in Florence or Rome, but it was a great town to see historical buildings and just relax. Plus, the views with the river and mountains were so beautiful to take in! We were only in Bassano del Grappa for a day, but I took so many photos that they will be split up into two posts, if that shows you how much I loved it there! 🙂
Later, we learned about the history of the lion statues in Italy. There’s actually a very detailed history on the position of the book and if there’s a sword or not, and since Bassano del Grappa’s had an open book with no sword, it meant that Bassano del Grappa paid its taxes and was loyal to the Republic Venice. If you’ve seen other lion statues around Italy, I would love to hear about them!
We couldn’t pass up a bakery, and the pastries were delicious!
The red pontoon bridge, Ponte Vecchio, is the symbol of Bassano del Grappa. It was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1569, and it was destroyed a few times during wars, most recently during WWII, but it was always rebuilt with the same design. Because Bassano del Grappa meant so much to the Alpini soldiers (I’ll go into their history in the next post!), they had it rebuilt, so the bridge is also referred as Ponte degli Alpini. It is currently being repaired, but you are still able to cross it. We spent a lot of time in this spot taking pictures of Ponte Vecchio and the mountains because it is just so beautiful! These are definitely my favorite pictures from Bassano del Grappa 🙂
After hanging out by the river for a while, we kept meandering and soaking in the sun until lunchtime.
We got lunch at Al Saiso, which was a cute little restaurant with lots of outdoor seating. They had a HUGE selection of bruschettas, so we all got different ones and they were delicious! They did not skimp on the cheese, so I can’t sing their praises enough! Bassano del Grappa is known for its white asparagus, so we had to try some while we were there and it was great (plus, I really needed some vegetables in my diet after piling on so many carbs since we had arrived in Italy).
Bassano del Grappa is also known for its ceramics, so we did a little souvenir shopping while we were there! I love getting souvenirs that I can actually use, so I got a pretty spoon holder and I use it all the time (it was also a miracle that all the fragile souvenirs made it back home in one piece!).
We crossed the Ponte Vecchio to explore the other side of Bassano del Grappa, and the views from the bridge were so beautiful! I would buy a house on the river there in a heartbeat if I had the money!
We made a new friend!
We dipped our toes in and the water was pretty cold!
Recognize this photo from my recent post about quitting my job? 🙂
Stay tuned for next week’s post with tons more photos of beautiful Bassano del Grappa and the serendipitous story about how we befriended an American who has lived in Bassano del Grappa for 30 years and took us to the best local spots! 🙂
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Blog, Europe, Italy, Photography, Travel
What a beautiful place. Awesome friend too. 🙂
This post makes me wanna book a flight to Italy ASAP. T_T
Thank you! 🙂
you really captured the hidden gem aspect of this town! nice pictures and your accommodation looks amazing. this is one of those serene getaways in the Mediterranean
Thank you! 🙂
We often find small town exploring to be the most laid back, yet exciting. It’s great that you’re enjoying travel to underrepresented destinations. Those pastries make me want to go there… Now!
Yes I agree! It’s inspired me to try to find more of these small towns!
Wow, what a beautiful little town! I’d never heard about Bassano del Grappa, but I’m not surprised you loved it there – Italy is full of little gems like that where nobody goes because it’s not as famous and full of landmarks as cities like Rome, Florence of Venice. Spending a day relaxing in an authentic environment is always nice, it shows you another side of the country you’re visiting!
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Yes I love these little towns! It’s inspired me to try to find more gems in Italy!
Bright colors, beautiful photography, and those reflection shots are out of this world!
So, when I visit Italy, I’m going to need an entire month because this just got added to the list of destinations.
Thank you! 🙂 Yes there are so many amazing destinations in Italy to see!
Loving your photos! This Italian town seems divine! Adding to my bucketlist!
Thank you! 🙂
Oh my gosh, how beautiful is this place! I’ve actually never heard of Bassano del Grappa but your photos have now made me want to visit 🙂 Seems like such a charming little town. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! 🙂
This place looks so cute! I lived in Italy for four months, and I’ve never heard of Bassano del Grappa, but clearly I need to check it out. I love all the ceramics, I need a new spoon holder for my kitchen.
You should definitely visit and stock up on ceramics if you get the chance!
My goodness! What a number of great photos! I can see how easily a visitor would fall in love with this place. I like to see big cities but make an effort to look for smaller places like this. Sometimes, I enjoy them more than the big cities. #blogpostsaturday
Yes I definitely enjoy places like this more than big cities!
Small-town Italy is the best! The setting in the hills and along the river looks absolutely stunning. I feel this way about Mantova — no major sights, but also no tourists and a very laid-back vibe (plus everything is cheaper).
I’ll have to check out Mantova! I love visiting small towns!
Ok so I have to admit that I had never heard of this place, but it looks so beautiful and charming! A true hidden gem indeed. Love these beautiful photos! Definitely going to have to make a stop here sometime
Thank you! You should definitely visit if you get the chance!
What a quaint town! We also love staying in small towns in Italy. There’s so much more to see than Florence, Rome and Venice! It definitely sounds like you had a unique and authentic experience with an opportunity to live like a local.
Yes it has definitely inspired me to try to find more small towns in Italy!
Holy cow, these photos are amazing! I have never heard of this place in Italy – but I’m sold! The photos – I can’t get enough of! I’m def adding this to the list when I go back to Italy!
Thank you! 🙂 It’s such a beautiful place to visit!
Wow. Your photos are seriously incredible! I’ve just been to Venice and Rome and would love to focus on small towns whenever I get back to Italy (hopefully very soon!)
Thank you! 🙂 You should definitely go when you get the chance!
I love these kind of off-the-tourist-track places that give you a peek into what local life is really like. Bassano del Grappa looks like a cute place to spend some time and enjoy the slow pace of life in a small Italian town.
Your photos are awesome! The ones of the pasticceria are making me salivate and the others of the town are making me miss Italia! lol (I miss all of the colors!!)
Re: the hole in the floor toilet – I also experienced this in Greece at a bus station! It’s a very strange thing and your squat game has to be on point! LOL 😛
Thank you! 🙂 I definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance, especially if you’re a hole in the ground pro now!
What a beautiful town! And that B&B looks adorable!
Yes I loved our B&B!
Oh wow, what a comprehensive post! Your photos are totally stunning as well. i do love Italy, it is such an amazing place. xx
Thank you! 🙂
My sister who lives in Milan goes often to Bassano del Grappa and loves it just like you do! She says it’s a beautiful and relaxing place where she goes to recharge her batteries from time to time! I love the photos you took there!
Thank you! 🙂 It is such a great spot to relax!
This looks like a lovely spot. Sometimes, it’s great to just get off the tourist trail and experience a real town, and have an authentic cultural experience. Which looks like exactly what you did!
Yes it’s a great place to have an authentic experience!
Your photos are beautiful. It was surprising to hear they only get German tourists. The town looks like a dream place and I hope to one day visit. I love the pink chandelier.
Thank you! 🙂
It really looks like a lovely town and looks like you found a great place to stay. I love the architecture and the food looks delicious too. Pinning so I can check it out the next time I am in Italy (which I hope will be soon!)
You should definitely go if you get the chance!