Vicenza, Italy: An Expert Travel Guide!
The beautiful city of Vicenza in Italy is a real insider tip in the north of the country. Especially fascinating is the old town, known as a jewel of Venetian architecture, with many attractions and historical monuments. The charm of the city center is truly unique, and the Italian flair with its picturesque street alleys and squares is hard to beat. Particularly noteworthy are the many villas and palaces by architect Palladio that characterize the cityscape and are even UNESCO World Heritage sites. Other highlights include the Teatro Olimpico, the world’s first indoor theater, which attracts visitors from all over the world! But what are the most beautiful things to do in Vicenza, what are the real insider tips, and what are the must-see places?
In this travel guide, you will find all the important information and tips about Vicenza, Italy. We also show you stunning pictures, the best things to see and do, the most beautiful places in the old town, and where to find the best accommodation for your vacation in Vicenza.
General Information about Vicenza
The city of Vicenza, with a population of 110,000, is located in the Veneto region of northern Italy and is one of the country’s most wealthy cities. No less worth seeing than its neighboring metropolises of Verona, Padua and Venice, Vicenza is considered a real insider tip for a trip to Italy. Its historic center is particularly impressive, combining Venetian architecture, rich history, and trendy lifestyle. In addition, travelers can look forward to a great culinary experience with many excellent restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy specialties such as Baccalà alla Vicentina and soak up the magical atmosphere. For shopping, head to Corso Palladio, the long boulevard in the city center, where Italian and international boutiques line up.
Vicenza is an incredibly worth seeing city, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the Veneto region, with many imposing attractions. It became well-known thanks to the Renaissance architecture of the famous architect Andrea Palladio, whose buildings are still among the most important attractions of Vicenza. Together with the historic center, they are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among them is the Basilica Palladiana, the landmark of the city, located in the fascinating Piazza dei Signori. In addition, the city center offers many other highlights, such as museums, imposing churches and beautiful parks.
Best Things to Do in Vicenza
When traveling to Vicenza, you can look forward to a number of attractions worth seeing. Many of them are located in the old city center and can be explored on foot. To help you get the most out of your visit, we’ve summarized the best things to do in Vicenza:
The Basilica Palladiana, also known as Palazzo della Ragione, is one of the most beautiful attractions in Vicenza, and a visit to this architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance is almost a must on any sightseeing tour of the city. The imposing building is not a basilica in the true sense of the word, but once served as a government building with market and court halls. It was built and designed by the famous architect Andrea Palladio between 1546 and 1549. Impressive are the marble arches, whose arcades offer a breathtaking panoramic view of the Piazza dei Signori and the surrounding buildings. The interior is also worth a visit, with its 15th-century marble staircase and the large hall where temporary exhibitions are held.
Piazza dei Signori
The wonderful Piazza dei Signori is a real jewel of Vicenza and is considered by connoisseurs to be one of the most charming squares in Italy. Located in the middle of the historic center, it is the heart of the city and a visit to this attraction is one of the best things to do in Vicenza. With a history dating back to the Middle Ages, this magnificent piazza boasts a wealth of attractions, including imposing buildings such as the Basilica Palladiana, the 82-meter Torre Bissara, the Palazzo degli Uffici and the Loggia del Capitaniato. In addition, Piazza dei Signori has many cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy the magical atmosphere. During the summer months there are also regular cultural events, concerts and festivals.
Tip: Every Tuesday and Thursday, Piazza dei Signori hosts Vicenza’s large market. It is a true shopping paradise and very popular with the locals.
A real highlight in Vicenza is the Teatro Olimpico. Built in the 16th century to plans by the famous architect Palladio, it is considered one of the oldest covered theaters in the world. The fascinating interior of this ancient structure, designed in the style of a Roman theater, is particularly worth seeing and can be visited for a fee. During a tour, you can take a seat on one of the fourteen tiered rows and admire the unique set designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. It was created in the shape of an ancient Roman street and provides a truly impressive backdrop. The Teatro Olimpico is still used today for events such as the Vicenza Jazz Festival.
Corso Andrea Palladio
The Corso Andrea Palladio, the magnificent shopping street in the center, is probably one of the most important attractions in Vicenza and the heart of the old town. This boulevard crosses the city center from Piazza Castello in the west to Piazza Matteotti in the east, offering a unique Italian atmosphere. The magnificent, colorful facades of the many historic buildings give this boulevard a unique charm. The motto here is: See and be seen! Corso Andrea Palladio is a popular meeting place for tourists and locals to do some shopping, but most of all to enjoy the lively atmosphere in one of the many cafés.
Monte Berico & Basilica di Santa Maria
A real insider’s tip in Vicenza is Monte Berico, a remarkable hill that rises majestically above the city and offers a breathtaking view of the metropolis. One of the highlights is the view from the panoramic terrace, which is located right next to the parking lot. Furthermore, at the top of the hill stands the Basilica di Santa Maria di Monte Berico, an impressive 15th century Roman Catholic pilgrimage church. The interior, with its frescoes, numerous works of art and the 15th century statue of the Virgin Mary, is also well worth a visit. Inside the church, there is also a small museum that is free of charge.
Tip: A true recommendation just next to the church is the Al Pellegrino, a charming restaurant that serves excellent coffee and delicious desserts at reasonable prices.
Villa La Rotonda
The Villa La Rotonda, also known as Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana or Villa Capra for short, is a beautiful gem just outside of Vicenza. This attraction was also designed by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, along with the historic center of Vicenza and other Palladian villas. For those interested in culture and architecture as well as history, a visit to this attraction is definitely one of the best things to do in Vicenza. Built between 1567 and 1571, the Rotonda stands out for its unusual symmetrical design. It consists of a central rotunda topped by a dome. It is surrounded by a splendid portico, and the well-kept garden is also worth a walk.
Church of Santa Corona
The Chiesa di Santo Corona is one of the exceptionally beautiful churches in Vicenza. It is located near Piazza Matteotti and, like most of the sights in Vicenza, can be easily reached on a walking tour of the city. This church was built in 1261 to house a thorn from the crown of Christ given to the Bishop of Vicenza by King Louis IX of France. Visiting the church, one can admire numerous frescoes and precious paintings. The crypt of Lorenzo da Bologna is also worth a visit, as are the magnificent chapels, including the Valmarana Chapel by Palladio.
The Torre Bissara, also known as the Torre di Piazza, is one of Vicenza’s landmarks. This magnificent Gothic tower is 82 meters high, making it the tallest building in the historic center. It is built in brick and decorated with numerous Gothic elements. The tower was built in the 12th century and in the past it served as a watchtower as well as a defensive structure. The tower owes its name “Torre Bissara” to the Bissari family, who lived in the adjacent Palazzo Bissari in the 14th century. At the moment, it is not possible to climb the tower. However, a beautiful view can be enjoyed from the terrace of the Basilica Palladiana, which is open during the summer months.
The Cathedral of Vicenza, also known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunciata, is one of the most important monuments in the city. This fascinating place of worship is located in the beautiful Piazza del Duomo. The Duomo was built between 1482 and 1560 to the plans of Lorenzo of Bologna. Today, the Vicenza Cathedral impresses with its picturesque Gothic façade, the freestanding bell tower and the dome designed by Palladio. The imposing interior of the Cathedral is also worth a visit. It contains numerous works of art, like the “Madonna col bambino tra le Santa Maddalena e Lucia” by Bartolomeo Montagna. In addition, there is an archaeological site located under the sacristy.
Villa Valmarana ai Nani
The famous Villa Valmarana ai Nani is located on a hill in the south of Vicenza and is a popular attraction for art and architecture lovers. It is famous for the frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and his son, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, which can be admired during a visit. This beautiful mansion was built in 1669 for the lawyer and man of letters Gian Maria Bertolo. Later, at the beginning of the 18th century, it became the property of the Valmarana family of counts, who had the estate further extended. A special attraction of Villa Valmarana ai Nani are the 17 small statues, the so-called “Nani” which can be found on the garden wall of the villa.
Palazzo Chiericati (Civic Museum)
A true highlight of Vicenza is the Palazzo Chiericati, which also houses the Civic Museum of the Palazzo Chiericati. This magnificent building was designed in 1550 by the star architect Andrea Palladio for Girolamo Chiericati, but was not completed until the end of the 17th century. It has a beautiful façade, columns and Greek statuary on top. Since 1855, Palazzo Chiericati has been the seat of the Civic Museum, which houses and exhibits more than 35,000 works. On display is an overwhelming collection of spectacular paintings, sculptures and applied arts from the 13th to the 20th century.
The Giardino Salvi, or Salvi Garden, is one of the most magnificent parks in Vicenza. It is located at the gates of the historical center, in Piazzale De Gasperi, and delights visitors with its extremely romantic setting. The garden was inaugurated in 1592 by Leonardo Valmarana, but was closed a short time later. Opened to the public only in 1909, today the garden is a popular meeting place for people searching for tranquility and for families with children. There is a small duck pond and a rose garden with a Palladian terrace, which gives the Giardino Salvi a special appearance.
A visit to the Palladio Museum in Palazzo Barbaran da Porto is a real insider’s tip for anyone who is keen to learn more about the work and life of the famous architect Andrea Palladio. This magnificent residence was built between 1570 and 1575 for the Vicentine nobleman Montano Barbarano and today, after 20 years of restoration, it serves as a museum. During a sightseeing tour, you can admire, among other things, the elaborate ceiling frescoes. The models of Palladian villas on display are also very interesting!
Where to Stay in Vicenza
Vicenza offers its visitors a wide range of fabulous accommodations, both in the old town and just outside. From nice guesthouses to apartments, from agriturismo to chic hotels, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Vicenza…It’s worth a look!
- Chic Boutique Hotel: The Glam Boutique Hotel is a great choice for a city break in Vicenza. Guests love the design, the location and the delicious breakfast.
- Cheap City Hotel: The SHG Hotel De La Ville is a good and affordable city hotel with free parking. The old town can be reached on foot or by bus.
- Beautiful B&B: The lovely Relais Santa Corona is located in an 18th century building and scores has a great central location as well as nice rooms.
- Charming Agriturismo: The Relais Maddalene101 Agriturismo is a real insider tip if you’re looking for a wonderful agriturismo near Vicenza.
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