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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