La Bella Italia!
Yes, indeed, Italy is carrying it’s fame with pride and dignity. Everybody, from all over the world is interested in seeing this little jewel, hidden in the Mediteranean Sea. Italy is full of history and every single piece of stone has a story to tell. I love it for its authenticity, elegance, and an overall traditional romanticism that is spoken through its flowers, tiny streets, breathtaking lakes, delicious food, tasty wine, and of course fashion.
I have seen Italy from North to South and East to West, and still I cannot say I’ve seen everything. I just cannot say:”mmm, ok, next”. You simply cannot. For example, I have visited Venice 4 times, and still…every time I go to Italy, I must go to see that beautiful place again and again. It’s like I am coming home. But, I don’t want to talk about Venice in this post. I will tell you a few words and impressions about another legendary city that I love and am very fond of. It’s Vicenza!!! Vicenza is a historic city and a fashion centre, whose artistic fame is tied to Signor Palladio. Andrea Palladio was a famous architect that introduced his own style in architecture, known as “Palladianesimo”. His designs are characterized by a rigurous classicism, expressed through an acute sense of proportion and exquisite elegance, that for centuries represented an inspiring model for the architects from all over the world. Along Veneto, which is one of the 20 geographical regions of Italy, one will find a unique resemblance among the huge villas that define the italian style and which attracts millions of visitors. Almost all those imposing villas were designed by Andrea Palladio and they perfectly describe the lavish life of italian nobility.
But, enough on history. I love Vicenza because of my family ties there and because that’s the city where I spent a lot of unforgettable moments with my beloved family. Besides beautiful, old buildings, cheerful pedestrian streets with little trattorias, fashion stores, green, peaceful parks, Vicenza is like my hometown. I believe that people make a place important or not and in my case, my family and all the time spent with them in this little city, is what makes it beautiful and nostalgic. We usually would go there on Sundays and enjoy the vibrations and good humour brought by the flea market, that usually is installed in Piazza dei Signori. I love to stroll along the traditional kiosks and just admire the local cloths, handmade jewelry, scarfs, furniture, paintings, kitchen gadgets, flowers, etc. Oh, and the food section!!! It’s so painfully addictive and appealing. I particularly enjoy the Sycilian pastries (who can say “no” to those???!!!) like cannoli (a huge thanks to those who invented this heavenly delight), Paste di Mandorle (almonds are big in Sicily, and this is almond paste mixed with candied citrus fruit and whole almonds, then wrapped in a layer of white chocolate, yum-yum), Bacione di Taormina ( a pistachio coating with a soft, cocoa-and-almond filling), Biscotti con Mandorla (almond cookies) Marzipan, dried sugar coated fruits, and many more sweets that simply make one’s life more colourful and youthful. They just make you appreciate life as it is and live it fully in the moment. Carpe diem!
There are other places in Vicenza where the flea markets are held: Piazza Biade, Piazzetta Palladio, Viale Roma, Contrà Garibaldi, Piazza Duomo. Agricultural producers sell fruits and vegetables in Piazza delle Erbe – beside the Basilica.
The city has much more to offer though. It is small enough to get around easily on foot and is a very comfortable and cozy place to spend some quality time. It’s also, large enough to include some good shopping, restaurants, and the city’s location on the main Northern Italy train line (between Padova/Padua and Verona) makes it a convenient stop for train travellers, with whom I identify.
The stores in Vicenza are elegant and mostly high end. The locals come down here to shop for those items. These little “stradellas” remind me of the vogue streets of Paris for shopping. I have never been to Paris, but from what I have seen in pictures, there seems to be a great similarity. Every time I am in this city, I make sure not to miss my favourite stores like: ZARA, H&M, SWATCH, INTIMISSIMI, CALZEDONIA, TEZENIS, UNITED COLOURS OF BENNETON, VOLPATO, etc.
Like just about every town in Italy, Vicenza dresses itself up for the Holidays. The lights pouring from bell tower of the Basilica has a mesmerizing and glamorous effect on the main Piazza.
For those who want to visit this precious place, The Piazza Dei Signori and Basilica make a nice starting point. The main sites one must see are as follow:
Corso Andrea Palladio – a very elegant and not too long pedestrian strip
Santa Corono – Impresive church built in 1261 to house a thorn from Christs crown thorn, embellished with paintings by Bellini and Veronese, and beautiful marble mosaics
Teatro Olimpico – A must, Palladios final and perhaps most impressive work
Monte Berico – where one can find The Sanctuary of Monte Berico, one of the most famous sanctuary in Veneto. Also, up on the hill, one can be rewarded with some breathtaking views. If you are lucky to go there on a sunny day, you will definitely immerse in the perfection of Mother nature. Monte Berico, deserves a post for itself, that’s why I will not insist on that beauty right now.
Hope you guys enjoyed this post. It’s pretty long and I would love to tell you even more about this gorgeous city and its surroundings. It will happen probably in another post. Until then, bye bye and don’t forget: CARPE DIEM! It’s all we have and can be sure of!
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