Saturday, August 30, 2008

Something New

A strange phenomena seems to overtake people when they learn my husband is Italian. As in FROM Italy. All of the sudden, they come running to me looking for advice on where to go and what to do in Italy. It's flattering really, others thinking you an expert on something. HA little do they know.

That being said, I do LOVE to talk about Italy and have fallen in love with it since meeting my husband. It's a place I never gave much thought to until I met him. And now, I can really get passionate about the subject. Besides, I totally have an edge with my own live-in tour guide/historian who gives me a "local" point of view and knowledge. I am infinitely grateful for that! I haven't seen one-one-hundreth of the places in this beautiful country but I have been on the "roads less traveled" and I think, seen a very different Italy then many of my fellow travelers.

I've come to realize there are two types of travelers. Those who want to cram in as much as they can, hitting only the "hot spots" and spending little time in any one place. And those who want a slower paced trip, maybe seeing a few of the highlights but also spending time trying to experience the place and culture of the people. Both kinds of travelers are fine - it just depends on what you want to get out of the trip. I like to be the second kind of traveler though, preferring the side road trips to the small villages and towns that aren't overrun with tourists. It's with this in mind that I've decided to periodically post little featurettes about lesser known places in Italy which are interesting and worth a look if you have or care to take the time. (is "lesser known" correct grammar?)

Since I've rambled on and on, this first one will be short. It's a beautiful town at the beginnings of the Alps, not well known, no history of too much significance (that I know of) and utterly charming just as it is.

Region: Veneto (Northern Italy)
Province: Treviso
City: Asolo
Asolo is a ancient pre-Roman town known for its glorious sunsets and beautiful setting. It's a very "medieval" town with walls that date back to the 14th century. It has a slow, relaxing pace which is conducive to nice meandering walks thru narrow streets, under porticoes and arcades.

It was inhabited by and/or inspired such literary figures and artists as Robert Browning (his last volume of poems - Asolando - named for the town); his wife Elizabeth Barret Browning; Henry James; Ernest Hemingway; Igor Stravinsky (composer) and Carlo Scarpa (architect).

Things to do here:
  • Climb the 1,000+ steps up to "La Rocca" (the ancient wall in the pic below)
  • Visit the castle of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus born of a powerful Venetian family and a well known historical woman
  • See the Roman amphitheater ruins
  • Meander thru the open markets and shops
  • Sit at a cafe or in the square, sipping Prosecco (wine made in this region), soaking up the atmosphere, watching the day go by

It's not big, but it is enchanting and evocative of days gone by as well as the affluence of today.

Oh I forgot. One interesting and a little bizarre fact - The Asolo Theater was taken apart by the Ringlings (of circus fame) and rebuilt in Sarasota, FL. Kind of along the same lines as the original London Bridge being in Arizona. huh interessttinngggggg

More later...


Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

oooh, LOVE that you are going to do this. Love it. Love it.

I'm both kinds of travelers, actually. I like to cram in as much as I can, but see "off road" places.

Valerie said...

I visited Asolo once and thought it a very charming place. I couldn't figure out why all the shops had fancifuls bottles of grappa though, until we drove out of town and ended up right in the heart of grappa distilleries!