More people would know about--and visit--Treviso if it wasn't for everyone wanting to go to see it's bigger sister, Venice. Treviso lies about 25 miles north-east of Venice with it's own watery world of canals and moats that surround the towns medieval walls and meander throughout, giving it a very different experience than Venice. There are no gondolas here, mainly because the canals here have fast moving water fed from the mountains just to the north. Many think of Treviso as being worthy of just a day trip, but it would serve well for a longer stay as a hub to explore the Veneto and its wonderful towns and cities like Padua, Vicenza, Verona and Mantova. The town has its own treasures and curiosities that any traveler will enjoy, and with waterways at every turn, it gives one a feeling more akin to Amsterdam than Venice.
The amazing thing about the town is that it was terribly bombed during World War II but wonderfully restored. I experienced towns like this in France years ago, where the locals loved their history so much that they put back the towns exactly as they stood before, stone by stone. Now that's love.
This is a walking or cycling town, with a maze of streets and covered porticoes to walk, shop and dine under--perfect even on rainy days. Walking around the town you'll find fragments of frescoes which used to be on every home but now are preserved as one of the towns treasures of the past. The old defensive walls, portals and moat circle the historic center along with its canals and fiumes, with the River Sile running just to the south of the town center. The canals are wonderful places to walk or cycle, lined with paths, grassy areas, weeping willows, mill wheels and stylish houses.
This is a well-off town that doesn't rely on tourism, so you won't find the touristy fare here--no souvenir shops. It has wealth from its famed businesses, like clothing retailer Benetton, Lotto Sport Italia, appliance maker De'Longhi, and bicycle maker Pinarello--among others.
But this doesn't mean there is nothing worthy of a traveler to see here... there's a wealth of beauty, restaurants, shops, churches, towers and art. The town's center is certainly the Piazza dei Signori, with its covered arcades. There is something cozy and very Old World about sitting in an outdoor cafe having your espresso or a lunch with a friend under the vaulted protection of an arcade--a great option on a rainy day (in case you are an off season voyager). The Palazzo dei Trecento is Treviso's town hall also sits on the Piazza. Treviso is a great place to just take walks and be surprised by the sudden appearance of yet another canal around the next corner or by the contrast of some world class modern architecture mixed wonderfully into the old matrix of the place. There are many chic bars, cafés, and restaurants to try out the local cuisine and wines. And don't forget, Treviso is the birthplace of that sparkling dream of a wine called Prosecco. Have a glass with some little pastries for me!
So, as a hub to explore the Veneto, as a weekend getaway (away from cruise ship throngs) or as an alternative base for making late day sojourns into Venice (when most of the tourists have gone), consider Treviso. With it's own airport and train station, it's easy to get to and enjoy...
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