Venice can be overpowering and over crowded with tourists, particularly in the hot summer months , so here are four suggestions on day trip getaways where you can escape the crowds.
- Lagoon Islands : Torcello & other Islands
To really get away from the crowds head to some of Venice’s outlying islands that are practically deserted. Torcello was where the original Venetians settled from the mainland, before inhabiting the 170 interlocking islands that make up Venice today. It is now most famous for its church with beguiling mosaics. Le Vignole island is known as Venice’s garden.
- Palladian Villas
In the 16th to 18th centuries, Venice’s wealthiest families would escape the oppressive heat of the city and decamp to their summer residences on the mainland. They could be gone from June to Mid-November, so these second residences were as opulent as their Grand Canal palazzos. Some 100 villas are left standing and follow the line of the Brenta River.
Many of the villas now lie derelict, but a few are open to the public, the most outstanding being the Villa Foscari and the Villa Pisani.
The Villa Foscari overlooks the River Brenta at Malcontenta. Designed by Palladio, its façade of ionic columns gives it an elegant and classical air. The villa also goes by the nickname of the ‘Malcontenta’ (unhappy woman) after a female member of the Foscari family was exiled there for being unfaithful to her husband.
The Villa Pisani at Stra’ is even more magnificent, with its extensive gardens designed for Doge Alvise Pisani. When Napolean took rule of Venice in the 19thcentury, he used the villa as a temporary residence, and the villa was also the setting for the first meeting between Hitler and Mussolini.
- Bassona del Grappa
Breathtaking views of the town of Bassano del Grappa are afforded from the town’s most famous structure, the Ponte deli Alpini bridge that spans the River Brenta. From the wooden bridge (originally designed by Palladio in the 16th century) the river can be seen to cascade against a backdrop of the town and the Dolomites beyond. At one end of the bridge lies the famous makers of grappa (an Italian firewater.
Cremona claims to be the birthplace of the violin, and still today is a centre of excellence in the art of violinmaking. It is claimed that the violin was invented by Andrea Amati in the first half of the 16th century. The most famous violin maker of all, Stradivari, was based in the city in the second half of the 17th century. He refined the sound and design of the violin, himself making over 1,000 of the instruments.
Destination – Italy