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Vicenza is located in Northern Italy in the Veneto region. The city itself and the surrounding hills and countryside are famous for their natural beauty and especially for the beautiful villas which had been made by Palladio. Andrea Palladio had been a noted architect in his time and because of his contributions, the city had been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1994.
Vicenza is quite an ancient city and it had been a part of the Roman Empire and had been called Vincentia or Vicetia. In 889 it had been greatly destroyed by the Ungari and later it became a very important part of the region. Andrea Palladio had built several palaces and villas in and around the city in the 16th century.
Getting to Vicenza
Vicenza is a very important tourist destination in the region because of which it is very well connected to the other cities in the region. There is a train station in the city on the line which connects Venice to Milan. All the trains that pass on this route have a stop in Vicenza. Those who are planning to drive down to the city can take the A4 highway that connects Torino-Milan-Venice-Trieste or the A31 highway that connects Vicenza to Piovene Rocchette. The city is also very well connected to many other locations in Italy through buses which are operated by Ferrovie Tramvie Vicentine.
Moving Around the City
Vicenza is spread over an area of 80 sq km so it is not a very large city. The best way to explore the city is on foot since the city center is very compact and very pleasant for walking. The streets are cobblestoned and are surrounded by beautiful buildings and dotted here and there with many outdoor cafes. Those who have their own cars can also drive around to the neighboring regions for visiting some of the villas. There are also plenty of shops in the city where visitors would be able to rent bicycles for travelling within the city.
Attractions in Vicenza
The Basilica Palladiana or the Palazzo della Ragione had been built in the 16th century designed by the famous architect Andrea Palladio. The massive structure is located on Piazza dei Signori which is the main square of Vicenza. Palladio had been a noted architect from his era and had built many famous buildings, villas and palaces in the city and in the surrounding region. There had been an ancient clock tower from the earlier building which can still be seen today.
Loggia del Capitano
The Loggia is located in front of the basilica in Piazza dei Signori. This building had also been designed by Palladio in 1571. The building has been made in red bricks without any stuccos.
Teatro Olimpico is one of the most important sites in the city and had also been designed by Palladio in the 1580s. Unfortunately, Palladio had died before the work had been completed. The theater has been built in a Roman style wooden theater. The sitting arrangement for the audience has been in a very compact half circle and has been noted for its unique use of perspective in order to give an impression of a deep stage. Even today, the theater is used for many performances.
Palazzo Chiericati is a renaissance style palace which had also been designed by Andrea Palladio. The main façade of the palace has three bays and the central bay is slightly projecting. The two bays have logge at the level of piano nobile and the central bay is closed. There are two orders of columns on the façade. The roofline of the palace has been decorated with statuary. The palace is located in Piazza Matteotti which had earlier been called Piazza dell'Isola. In earlier times there used to be a cattle and a wood market in the location. The entrance had been designed in a way that it could be accessed through a classic style triple staircase.
It is located right opposite Teatro Olimpico and is home today to the Civic Museum of Vicenza. It has a large collection of paintings from northern part of Italy. Some of the rooms are free for visiting but tickets would be required for the main collection.
Stay and Accommodation
Vicenza is a very important tourist destination and it attracts thousands of visitors each year that come to the city to marvel at the beautiful villas and palaces. Due to this, there are plenty of good accommodation options available in the city. There are a few hostels as well as camping facilities available in the city for those who are looking for budget accommodation. There are also many good bed & breakfasts in the city where visitors would be able to find inexpensive rooms. However, during peak tourist seasons it would be necessary to get bookings done in advance. Camping Vicenza and Ostello di Vicenza provide budget living options. Other good hotels in the city are hotel Campo Marzio and NH Jolly Tiepolo Hotel.
Eating in Vicenza
Vicenza has plenty of traditional dishes and some typical specialties which visitors would be able to sample in many small traditional restaurants. Baccala alla Vicentina is a typical dish of stockfish which is served with polenta. Bigoli co l'arna is also a famous dish. It is thick spaghetti which is served with duck. A famous drink which is available in all the bars is Spritz which is made with white wine, Campari and water. Prosecco is also available everywhere since it is made in the region.
Shopping in Vicenza
Vicenza is not a very large city but it is definitely a very popular tourist destination. There are several good places in the city where visitors would be able to find good clothing, Italian labels, shoes, bags and accessories. Handicraft and souvenir shops are located everywhere. The best thing to purchase in the city is Prosecco since it is a regional specialty.