Since it's that time of the year again, I want to share a little Christmas post, a photo diary of our visit to Italian town of Vicenza. When it comes to Christmas markets, decorations, twinkly lights and festive spirit, first thing that crosses my mind is Vienna, second thing giant gingerbreads and mulled wine on German markets. It turns out that Italy as well have some magic to offer in December. We visited Vicenza, situated in the Veneto region, as a day trip or rather an afternoon trip from Padua, without any specific plan. We just wandered around the center, from one of Andrea Palladio's renaissance buildings to another, approving of Italian style decorations, wandering at Italian style Christmas markets (you can buy both sweets and plastic kitchen utensils there), and when it got too cold, we found a cozy caffe whose name I can't remember, where we had muffins with hot chocolate and a spremuta (freshly pressed orange juice). Here are some photos we made that afternoon, I hope they'll add a bit of sparkle to your festive mood.
Gardens aren't usually highly ranked on a traveler’s to Italy bucket list- but they should be, and this post might just change your plans on the northern Italy trip! :)
We visited two of them, on a lovely spring day in the outskirts of the city of Padua.
Villa Pisani and its garden are easily accessible by car both from Padua (30 minutes’ drive) and Venice (40 minutes’ drive from the mainland of Venice- Mestre).
It is one of a series of villas built by Venetian noble families on the shore of the river Brenta canal which connects Padua and Venice.
The villa and the garden were built in the 18th century, and some of the gardens most prominent features still exist today.
We had a lot of fun finding our way to the center of the maze, which was not as easy as we expected it to be (we learned that the "right-hand rule" does not work!). We took a walk through the beautiful wisteria-passage, had a picnic on top of the artificial hill, smelled the most beautiful scent of orange blossoms in the greenhouse called Limonaio and admired the view of the villa and its reflection in the long basin that runs through the park.
If you're interested in visiting it, this might help.
Villa Barbarigo and its garden are situated in Valsanzibio, near Galsignano terme, 30 minutes’ car drive from Padua, and 50 minutes’ drive from Venice.
The surroundings of blossoming Euganean hills make perfect scenery for this little jewel of Italian gardens.
Once you enter this garden, you feel enchanted and amused by everything you see:
There is a large maze (quite more serious than the one in the Villa Pisani garden- we found ourselves truly lost between its high green walls), a rabbit island (the name speaks for itself!), a line of fountains and cascades with lovely black swans, the so-called giocchi di aqua or water jokes (the Italian noble men loved to surprise their guests with unexpected water splashes, a feature that still works today and makes the visitors laugh), a literally hidden picnic area, a lovely villa, and amazing vistas everywhere you look.
For more info on Villa Barbarigo click here.
After the visit, we went for a gelato in a little nearby shop, where we had to ring a bell for the old lady to open (like in an Italian movie!), and it was honestly one of the best day trips I've ever had.