Bassano del Grappa, Italy: An Expert Travel Guide!
The charming town of Bassano del Grappa is a real gem in Northern Italy. Situated on the banks of the Brenta River, with breathtaking views of the mountains, this town offers a picturesque setting. During a tour of the old town you will be amazed by the abundance of historical attractions, the many interesting museums and the really nice markets. The landmark is the Ponte Vecchio, a red wooden bridge from the 13th century that leads over the Brenta River. Bassano del Grappa is also famous for its Grappa distillery, where the popular Italian brandy has been produced since generations. But also the surrounding area with its mountains and opportunities for excursions is very attractive and invites you to stay longer. But what are the best things to do in Bassano del Grappa, what are the insider tips, and what are the highlights not to be missed?
In this travel guide, you will find all the important information and tips about Bassano del Grappa in Italy. We show you great pictures, the best sights and activities, insider tips and where to stay!
General Information about Bassano del Grappa
The city of Bassano del Grappa, with about 42,000 inhabitants, is located in northern Italy, in the Veneto region, not far from Vicenza, Padua and Treviso, and is a popular stop on round trips. The city is famous for several things. Absolutely unique is its location on the Brenta River on the southern edge of the Alps, which gives the historic center an impressive backdrop. But it is the red wooden Ponte Vecchio, dating back to the 13th century and designed by Andrea Palladio, that has made Bassano del Grappo internationally famous. Every year, countless tourists from all over the world come to admire the beauty of this iconic bridge.
Besides tourism, the ceramics industry and the production of grappa are important industries. Strolling through the charming old town, in addition to the many attractions and monuments, you will find many cute shops selling handmade ceramics and porcelain. In the delicatessen shops it is also possible to buy the traditional grappa and to taste other typical products of the region. Bassano del Grappa is also a popular starting point for excursions and outdoor activities. The surrounding area, including Mount Grappa, offers many opportunities for hiking, biking and even paragliding.
Best Things to Do in Bassano del Grappa
During a visit to Bassano del Grappa, you can look forward to a number of attractions worth seeing. Most of them are located in the old town center and can be visited by yourself while walking around the town. To help you keep track, we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Bassano del Grappa:
The Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Ponte degli Alpini, is an architecturally impressive red wooden bridge and probably the most important attraction in Bassano del Grappa. Its history dates back to the 13th century, and over the years it has been the victim of floods and wars, and has undergone many reconstructions. It owes its current appearance to the plans of the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569. A walk over this red bridge is a must for anyone who wants to visit Bassano del Grappa. From the viewpoints of the wooden bridge you can also enjoy a unique panorama of the Brenta river with the beautiful colorful houses of the old town and the surrounding landscape with its high mountains.
Tip: At the entrance of the Ponte Vecchio is the Grapperia Nardin. It is the most famous distillery in the town and a popular place to enjoy a grappa tasting.
Piazza della Libertà
The Piazza della Libertà is the beautiful main square of Bassano del Grappa and at the same time the tourist center of the old town. Here you can find some very interesting buildings and attractions, including the late baroque church of San Giovanni Battista and the loggia of the 15th century town hall. The western side of the main square is adorned with the statue of the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venetian rule, and the statue of the city’s patron saint, San Bassiano. Absolutely charming is also the romantic arcade of shops and cafés that gives this neat town square that certain something. In addition, the Piazza delle Liberta is a regular venue for markets and other events.
Castello degli Ezzelini
The Castello degli Ezzelini is an impressive medieval castle and one of the most important historical attractions in the center of Bassano del Grappa. This fortress was built in the 12th century by the Ezzelini family and served as a military base as well as a residence for the noble family. Later on, the castle complex was also used under the rule of the Scaligeri family, the Visconti family and finally the Republic of Venice. Today, it is only possible to visit the square of the castle, where the entrance to the cathedral is located. In the future, however, when the restoration is finished, the whole area will open for temporary exhibitions and concerts.
A visit to the Grapperia Nardin is definately one of the best things to do in Bassano del Grappa. Founded in 1779, it is the oldest Grappa-distillery in Italy and is certainly one of the highlights of the old town. It is located right at the entrance to the historic wooden bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, and every day locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy a delicious apéritif at the Grapperia Nardin. On weekends, the crowds are so large that people often stand in front of the bar having their drinks. If you like, you can just come to try the different types of grappa at the bar and admire the rustic interior with its copper stills. Whole bottles are also sold as souvenirs for taking home.
Tip: Don’t miss the Mezze e Mezzo, an unusual liqueur created by combining red vermouth with rhubarb liqueur and soda water.
Chiesa di San Francesco
The church Chiesa di San Francesco is an impressive building in the historical center of Bassano del Grappa. It is located in the romantic square of Piazza Garibaldi and it fascinates with an exceptionally imposing architecture. This place of worship dates back to the 12th century, giving the square a wonderful medieval flair. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with rich frescoes dating back to the 15th century, painted vaults and an atmosphere of peace and spirituality. The Chiesa di San Francesco can be visited free of charge during opening hours.
Museo Civico di Bassano
One of the most important museums in Bassano del Grappa is the Museo Civico di Bassano. Located in the heart of the old town, in a former monastery, it offers visitors an insight into the rich history and culture of the region. This interesting city museum houses an extensive collection of more than 700 paintings, a large number of sculptures and archaeological finds from a wide range of historical periods. You can admire works from the 13th to the 20th centuries, including famous artists such as Jacopo Bassano and Giorgione. In addition, there are handicraft objects, historical documents and photographs on exhibit that give a glimpse of the daily life of the past.
Grappa Museum (Poli Museo della Grappa)
The Grappa Museum, also known as the Poli Museo della Grappa, is a small but interesting museum dedicated to the history and production of grappa. It was founded in 1993 by the Poli family, and today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bassano del Grappa. In five rooms, a tour allows visitors to learn more about the history of grappa production, from traditional distillation methods to modern techniques. There is also a collection of rare grappa bottles from the twentieth century and a room where you can taste and buy grappa from the Poli distillery.
Tip: The Bassano del Grappa Grappa Museum can be visited free of charge.
The Palazzo Sturm is definitely worth a visit, an impressive 18th century villa that is also home to a museum. It is located in a picturesque setting on the banks of the Brenta River and offers one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the city from its terrace. The building, designed by the architect Daniello Bernardi, has seventy rooms spread over seven floors. Inside you can visit the Museo Civico Giuseppe Roi, which houses ancient pottery, and the Museo dell’Artigianato Remondini, dedicated to the typography and calligraphy of the famous printing family. The most famous symbol and a real eye-catcher is also the shiny silver rhinoceros made of stainless steel, which is located right in front of the museum.
Libreria Palazzo Roberti
The Libreria Palazzo Roberti is a beautiful bookstore and a real insider’s tip for a visit to Bassano del Grappa. It is located in a breathtaking 17th-century town palace that has hosted celebrities such as Napoleon Bonaparte. Walk around, and you will be amazed not only by the huge selection of books, but also by the unique atmosphere of this one-of-a-kind bookstore. There is even a garden that is a great place for a rest and relaxation. Also worth a visit are the rooms on the upper floor, which are decorated with many fascinating frescoes and are regularly used for events.
The Ossuary Temple, called Tempio Ossuario, is an interesting attraction in Bassona del Grappa. It is a monumental church built in 1934, originally planned as a new cathedral for the city, but later it became a military memorial where the remains of soldiers who died in the First World War were kept. More than 5,000 victims from all over Italy are buried here. Also interesting is the photo tour with various historical records of the life of Italian soldiers in the First World War.
Palace of Mixtures
The Palace of Mixtures cocktail bar is a real insider tip in Bassano del Grappa, especially for those looking for a cool location to go out. This hip place is a trendy cocktail bar in the center of the old town, housed in a former city palace. At an excellent value for money, you can enjoy a wide selection of extremely creative drinks, including original grappa concoctions and local bitters. Plenty of locals, as well as some tourists, gather here to enjoy the probably best cocktail in the city, if not in all of Italy.
The Ernest Hemingway Museum in Bassano del Grappa is a very special attraction dedicated to the famous writer. Located in a charming palazzo just outside the old town, this interesting museum is a real highlight for literature and Hemingway fans from all over the world. It offers a fascinating insight into the life of Ernest Hemingway at the time of the First World War. The museum also houses an impressive collection of personal items, including photographs, manuscripts, letters and first editions of his works.
Where to Stay in Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa offers its visitors a wide range of fabulous accommodations, both in the old town and just outside. From charming B&Bs to apartments and hotels, there is something for everyone. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Bassano del Grappa…It’s worth a look!
- Charming Guesthouse: The Le 33 is a real insider’s tip in Bassano del Grappa. It is located directly on the river, overlooking the historic bridge, and the rooms are just lovely.
- Apartment at the Riverside: The Appartamenti Ponte Vecchio is a beautiful, large apartment in an unbeatable location with a view of the Ponte Vecchio!
- Apartments in the Center: The Aparta & Suite – Automatized Apartment offers luxurious, modern apartments right in the historic center of Bassano.
- Affordable Hotel: The Hotel Brennero is a budget, clean 3-star hotel just a few steps from the center. The free parking is also a big advantage.
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