Italy's northernmost zone, the Veneto includes Padua, Verona, Vicenza, plus Venice itself, which once ruled the area. Some 5,000 Renaissance villas still stand, many by Palladio. A food- and wine-lover's paradise, it's also the most artistically rich region in Italy, and the most romantic, with the art of Giotto and Mantegna in Padua, the Roman ruins in Verona, the canals and palaces in Venice itself. Bellini, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian worked here. Experience their art and be part of their world, with the insights of an insider. Every detail is here about the foods, the sights, the best places to stay and eat.
Vicenza is an essential stop on the itineraries of architecture lovers and Palladio's followers, but is unfortunately bypassed by many tourists traveling through the Veneto region who don't realize what it has to offer. This well-kept secret has made remarkable cultural and economical contributions to the region and merits a visit, if only for a few hours. Vicenza is an important Renaissance city with an impressive number of buildings dating back to the 1500s, many of them attributed to Andrea Palladio. It was during this period that Andrea di Pietro della Gondola came to Vicenza as a 16-year-old stone mason and through a combination of his own talent and a fine network of mentors, grew to be the great architect who dramatically transformed Vicenza's urban image.
Palladio was commissioned to build palazzi for the city's wealthy residents, redesign several buildings which had been badly damaged by the League of Cambrai and to make the city better reflect the influence of the Republic of Venice. His finest works in the city include the Teatro Olimpico, the Basilica Palladiana, and the Palazzo Chiericati.