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Vicenza – In No Way Vanilla

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Another wonderful short train journey costing just €4.70 euros took us from Padua to the city of Vicenza.

Classy Vicenza is known for its World Heritage Listed buildings including its Basilica (of course), Towers, the Villa Rotonda and the Teatro Olimpico.

Thankfully tonight we were both staying in the SHG Hotel De La Ville on the edge of town – a clean modern crisp hotel with lovely staff, a huge room, a cracking breakfast and a decent WIFI.

Piazza Dei Castello

We dumped our bags knowing we had just an afternoon and an evening to see what Vicenza had to offer! Reception advised us that it was a ten-minute stroll to the centre – everywhere is ten minutes in Italy – it was actually twenty – maybe it’s just because we are both unfit? With the sun beating down we sought shade in a little bar with an open terrace looking out over the Piazza Dei Castello.

We both rather enjoyed being served by the young waitress. A young Italian lady with the look of Sophia Loren but with the attitude of the mosquito that had munched on my left leg last night. However, there was a twinkle in those eyes when trying to speak English so our plan was to turn that frown upside down.

As pint led to pint we broke down those barriers and before we left, having used Google, to tell her in Italian she was our favourite bar lady in Vicenza, we had her laughing and telling her mates about her two new English friends – at least that’s what we thought she was telling them!

Corso Palladio

It was time to move on and stroll along the main street, the Corso Palladio that dissects the city. As with so many Italian cities, it was packed with stylish boutiques, restaurants, cafes and smart local folk walking their very posh pooches.

We took a turn to the right and headed to one of those hotspots of Vicenza life – the beautiful Torre Bissara in the Piazza Dei Signori.

Torre Bissara, is approximately 82 meters in height, and located adjacent to the Basilica Palladiana.

The tower was built in 1174, and over the centuries, there have been numerous interventions to maintain the stability and beauty of the tower.

In 1945 was hit and destroyed by Anglo-American bombing. It was not until 2002, that the restoration began to bring the tower back to its former glory.

Classy Vicenza

Just off the Piazza Dei Signori was a high quality champagne bar, Le Meneghina. I popped in to see how the other half live and take a photo before passing a travel agent with a Beachcomber (the company I worked for, 3 years ago) poster in the window.

You can tell by those two facts alone there is a bit of money in Vicenza. Sure enough the restaurants and bars in this Piazza were on the pricey side with the locals dressed immaculately and oozing class and quality. We did not stay long.

Teatro Olympico, Vicenza

Our next stop (for oxygen) was at the Teatro Olympico which we both wanted to see. This theatre dates back from the 16th century and was the final design of famous architect Andrea Palladio – he also designed the tower Bissara we were marvelling at earlier.

Sadly our curse struck again as it was closed, so all we got to view was the green lush gardens outside.

Vicenza – Short But Sweet

With that and the sun setting, we had accomplished a whistle-stop tour of Vicenza so headed to the American-themed Bar 27 off a roundabout for a sundowner – actually it was a beer in the rain. On this occasion, the bar lady Sheila, welcomed us with open arms and some overpowering, loud rap music full of expletives – certainly not the classy 1970’s Italian Easy Listening music I had enjoyed just 48 hours ago on Venice Lido.

My attention soon turned from Sheila and the rap music to resident Pooch, Vanilla, who instantly became my best friend. I mean the poor girl must be deaf spending his afternoons in Bar 27 but hey he seems happy enough and even posed for a photo or two!

With that, our way too-fast pit stop in lovely Vicenza was over. I liked Vicenza… it was not too busy, it was beautiful and the people and dogs were super friendly – the place was definitely not Vanilla!

Tomorrow we head for the hills as we arrive at the base of the Dolomites. I am excited!

Till next time!


For more information on visiting Vicenza in Italy, contact the Italian Tourist Office or contact your local travel agent or tour operator.

All photos were taken by myself and should be credited if used to @justonefortheroad

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