Vicenza is a city located in North Eastern Italy. The city and the surrounding countryside and hills are particularly famous for the many works, and particularly the Villas, by Palladio. Because of the architectonic contributions of Andrea Palladio, it was included in UNESCO's list of world heritage places in 1994.
Vicenza is an ancient city. In 157 BCE it became part of the Roman Empire under the name Vicetia or Vincentia. In 889 it was destroyed by the Hungarians, and in 1001 it became the seat of a bishop. In 1404 it became part of the Republic of Venice.
The 16th century was very important for Vicenza because Andrea Palladio built several villas and palaces. During the 19th century, after the fall of Napoleon, the city was taken by Austria, but in 1848 the citizens rebelled against the Austrian government and in 1866 it finally became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The train station is located on the southern part of the town, at the end of Viale Roma. Piazza Castello and the old town are a mere 5-minute walk from the station.
The railway station of Vicenza is on the line connecting Milan to Venice. There are also a number of trains to other major cities and destinations such as Bologna to the south, Bolzano to the north, and Trieste to the east via connections Verona, Padova, Venice, and Trento.
Trains to the towns and cities around Vicenza depart daily (times provided are for the regional trains). The most common are to Verona (1 hour), Padova (25 minutes), Venice (1 hour 15 minutes). Trains also depart for Bassano del Grappa, Treviso, Castelfranco, Rovigo, Sirmione, and Ferrara.
Taking international trains from Vicenza is possible, but it could be slower and/or more expensive since the city is not a major station for railway transit. Instead, it is highly recommended to book a train to France, Spain or Switzerland from Milan; Austria and Germany from Verona; and Eastern Europe from Venice. Book a separate (cheap) ticket to these cities and make your connection from there.
There is more info on Trenitalia. When booking overseas train tickets, make sure to ask for the "Smart" special deal, which provides up to a 50% discount. The deal is especially good for destinations in Eastern Europe such as Budapest or Belgrade, where tickets can be as low as 15 euros one-way (instead of 50 euros and above). Trenitalia requires you to buy the ticket 7-15 days in advance, so make sure you plan your trip ahead of time. The website only accepts Italian credit cards, so your best bet is to buy your ticket at the train station.
A number of strade statale (SS), strade regionale (SR) and strade provinciale (SP) criss-cross Vicenza, and they are a great way to reach many of the great small towns that surround Vicenza. The roads going south to Colli Euganei through Colli Berici, to the northeast to Recoaro Terme, and to the northwest to Treviso via Bassano del Grappa and Asolo are particularly beautiful and highly recommended for those looking for drives through groves of olive trees, vineyards, hills, hidden valleys, and remote hill towns. However, they are not recommended for going to major towns such as Verona, Padova, or Venice. These roads are almost always backlogged with traffic and marred by seriously ugly industrial areas.
Vicenza is connected to other cities with a bus servirce offered by Ferrovie Tramvie Vicentine. It is a less comfortable service than train, but it can reach several places that don't have a train station. Some long-distance destinations (such as Milan and Venice) are possible, but by and large the buses only serve the province of Vicenza and the immediate towns outside of it. The bus station is located about 100 meters to the west of the train station.
If you are up for it, it is easy to reach Vicenza via the smaller roads listed above via bicycle. Cycling is a very popular activity in Italy, and many are even brave enough to attempt the alpine crossing from countries in the north to Italy. Stay on the secondary roads however, as it is not only illegal but incredibly dangerous to ride your bicycle in the autostrada. Also, do the trip from mid-spring to late summer as Northern Italy suffers very heavy fog during autumn and winter, and snow and ice conditions could be very dangerous and unpredictable especially in the mountains.
Vicenza's city center is small enough to be comfortably explored on foot. The main road through the old town is the Corso Palladio, which contains the best of the city center's shopping as well as most of Palladio's urban palaces. The hike from the city center to Monte Berico is uphill but not too strenuous, and the road circles around to Villa Valmarana ai Nani down to the entrance to the Rotonda. Although most recommendations are to take the bus to the Rotonda and back, this walk will get you to some of the best and uncrowded parts of Vicenza.
Vicenza is home to the Campagnolo bike component maker and has long been a major hub for bicycle parts and riding. The city just paved a new bike path leading south along the Riveria Berica SS247, leading all the way to Noventa. Throughout the province there are small towns and villas to explore. The Tourism Offices in Piazza Matteoti next to the Teatro Olimpico has some bicycle route information and listings of bike rental locations. Another resource is to view  for route suggestions.
Vicenza's city center is small enough that there is no need for a car if you only want to explore the city center, Monte Berico and the Rotonda. In fact, it is also not recommended if you are only staying within these areas as the ZTL (zona trafico limitato—no-drive zones) is very strictly enforced, encompasses most if not all of the city center, and changes frequently and without notice.
However, if you are planning on driving around the surrounding country side to see the villas and go wine-tasting, there is no other realistic option other than to drive. The car rental companies Avis and Hertz are both located within a two-minute walk from the train station.
Basilica Palladiana or "Palazzo della Ragione" (1549-1617) is a massive structure on the city's main square (Piazza dei Signori), designed by the architect Palladio. Built early in Palladio's career, the building sports a look closer to the Venetian Gothic style than the neoclassical style he would later revolutionize. It still has the old and leaning clock tower from a previous building on that site. The building reopened recently after lengthy restoration works and now houses temporary art exhibitions and a fashionable bar on the rooftop terrace with nice views over the city.
Loggia del Capitanio right in front of Basilica Palladiana on Piazza dei Signori. Also made by Palladio around 1571, but in red brick without any stucco. Built later in Palladio's career, this building's Neoclassical style stands in great juxtaposition to the Basilica across it and is a testament to Palladio's artistic development. Closed to the public except during exhibitions.
Teatro Olimpico anchors one end of Corso Palladio and is arguably one of Palladio's two great masterpieces. Teatro Olimpico is the oldest enclosed theater in the world, and is most noteworthy for its use of Renaissance perspective in a three-dimensional space. The facade is decorated with stone carvings, wooden statues, and painted tromp l'oeil to make it look like a busy street scene. The theater is open Tuesdays-Sundays 0900-1700. There are two possible combined tickets that include entrance to the theater: the Palladio Card  which includes entrance to many other Palladio buildings around town, or the Vicenza Card which includes entrances to civic museums in the city center. It is also possible to attend performances in the theater, especially during the months of July (during the city's Jazz Festival) and October (during the Classical Theater cycle).
Chiesa di Santa Corona was built in 1261 to house relics from Christ's crown of thorns. Nowadays, it's most important possession are a chapel designed by Palladio, Veronese's Adoration of the Magi and Bellini's Baptism of Christ.
Palazzo Leoni Montanari is located further down the street from Chiesa di Santa Corona. A beautifully decorated palace, the building houses a decent collection of Russian icons as well as a collection of capricci and paintings by Pietro Longhi.
Palazzo Valmarana Braga is a monumental palace built by Palladio, and the first in Palladio's career to include columns running along the entire length of the building's facade. Open Wednesdays 1000-1800.
Palazzo Barbaran is the only palace started and completed by Palladio in the city center. The interior of the palace is decorated with frescoes, most noteworthy of which are the ones done by Zelotti. Open Wednesdays 1000-1800.
Palazzo Thiene is a beautiful palace designed by Palladio. Sadly, it is the headquarters of a bank, so much of the interior has been changed to accomodate its present purpose. The owners, however, own a great number of works of art. These are typically put on display from time to time. Open Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays 0900-1700. Closed July and August.
Criptoportico Romano One of the few remaining traces of roman Vicenza, these tunnels were formerly used as walkways between villas to protect the walker from the elements. Located in an obscure corner of Piazza Duomo. Open Saturdays 1000-1130 and every second Sunday of the month from 1000-1200 and 1430-1600. Entrance is free.
Basilica dei SS. Felice and Fortunato is one of the oldest structures in Vicenza. Built in AD 300, the church is one of the most important examples of paleo-Christian architecture in Northern Italy. Inside, mosaic floors and frescoes are lit by a singular rose window.
Il Santuario di Monte Berico located on top of Monte Berico and visible from every part of the city center, this church was built in the 19th century to replace a Gothic structure built to honor a promise the city made to the Virgin Mary to build a church after a devastating plague ended. An apparition was purported to have occurred here, and every 8th of September flocks of devotees walk from the base of the hill up to the church. The walk from the town to the church is lined with beautiful porticoes. The interior of the church is the mostly richly decorated in the city, with an overabundant use of gold, marble and fresco work. In the old convent is a huge painting by Veronese the "Supper of St. Gregory the Great." Torn apart into 32 pieces during the Austrian invasion, the painting was miraculously pieced together and later restored to its original location.
Villa Valmarana ai Nani is located just a kilometer or so west of Monte Berico. The Villa compound consists of three buildings - the owner's residence, a guest house, and stables constructed between 1669 and 1720. As pretty and serene the villa's setting is, the reason to visit this villa is its interiors. All three buildings are extensively covered with frescoes by Giamattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, who were hired by the Valamrana family in 1757. Light, airy, and decidedly Rococo, the villa is the Tiepolos' masterpiece and one of the pinnacles of Rococo art in Europe. Open Tuesdays to Sundays 1000-1200 and 1500-1800. Closed from November to March.
Villa Capra or the Rotonda is the highlight--and sometimes, main and only reason--of anyone's trip to Vicenza. Designed by Palladio in 1591, it is the architect's thesis project, containing all of his revolutionary ideas into one perfect and harmonious building. It is hard sometimes to see the building for what it is, especially for american and British tourists, because it has been copied so many times and inspired other great buildings all over the world. As harmonious as the exterior is, the interior is also breathtaking, being completely frescoed with tromp l'oeil scenes from the villa's ideal everyday life. The grounds are open on Tuesdays to Sundays, 1000-1200 and 1500-1800. the interior is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The entire villa is closed from November to February. The best time to visit is in late Spring, when the surrounding hills are covered with fiery-red poppies. Even if the villa is closed, it is often enough just to admire the villa from the gate and from the road, the way it is intended to be seen by non-residents.
Palazzo Chiericati is possibly the most magnificent urban palazzo in Vicenza. Located right across the street from Teatro Olimpico, the palazzo's facade is strikingly decorated with a columnade and a series of statues lining its cornice. The interiors are not as magnificent, but it houses the city's picture gallery with works from the Tiepolos, Veronese, Bellini, Titian, and local Vicentine artists. In the palazzo's main foyer, there is an amusingly unusual ceiling fresco - people and animals are painted from the 'natural' perspective. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 0900-1700.
Natural History and Archeological Museum holds a small natural exhibit and archaeological finds tracing Vicenza's history from the prehistoric period up to the Lombard invasion. Open Tuesdays to Sundays 0900-1700.
Risorgimento and Resistance Museum Located about a kilometer from the Monte Berico church, this museum traces Vicenza's involvement in Italy's unification in the 19th century. Open Tuesdays to Sundays 0900-1300 and 1415-1700.
Museo Diocesano contains artifacts and treasures from the nearby Duomo, archaeological finds chronicling the long history of Catholicism in Vicenza and oddly enough, a very big display of marble balls. Open Tuesdays to Fridays 1530-1900.
Piazza dei Signori The city's main square and its love letter to Palladio.
Piazza Castello The main entrance to the city and the main terminal for bus within the city walls. Also contains Palladio's incomplete Palazzo Porto.
Piazzale della Vittoria Right outside il Santuario di Monte Berico, affording the best panoramic view of the city. Especially pretty on a clear day with views of the surrounding prealpine and alpine mountains protecting the city from the north. The best place in town to grab a spritz and watch the sunset.
Piazza delle Erbe & Piazza delle Poste The area right behind the Basilica Palladiana and the center of the city's meager nightlife.
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza Matteoti Location for Teatro Olimpico and the Palazzo Chiericati and a popular meeting point for locals.
Unlike the nearby towns of Padova and Verona, Vicenza does not have university and thus, no significant student population. However, you can always do what the locals do and commute weekly and sometimes daily to nearby universities if you want to attend.
There are numerous language schools in Vicenza, such as Interlingua .
Although Vicenza was one of the top performers during the Italian economic miracle  of the 50s and 60s, and still one of the richest towns in Italy, jobs for foreigners are few and far between. Although leather and gold are top exports and computer manufacturing is big business, foreigners especially from outside of the EU Economic Zone have much difficulty finding a job in the private sector. The most viable form of employment is teaching English, which brings in foreigners from the UK, USA, and Canada. Nevertheless, opportunities are more likely in the bigger towns of Padova and Verona.
For Americans, one option would be to be employed through the Department of Defense either as a government employee or contractor working for the Army base located in the outskirts of Vicenza.
Although "cucina povera" seems to be more associated with Tuscany and the south than the Veneto, Vicenza's cuisine is deeply defined by the foods people prepared generations ago when Vicenza, along with the Veneto, experienced crippling poverty as a result of droughts, plagues, famines and wars caused by political machinations. For example, the local nickname "magnagatti" (literally cat-eaters) originated from a time when rumors started to circulate that the people of Vicenza, out of poverty and desperation, started eating cats. Although the truth behind the rumor is debatable, the locals' full acceptance of the nickname and pride in being called cat-eaters attest to the resilience of Vicenza's people as well as its culinary traditions. Although Vicenza now enjoys one of the highest standard of living in Italy, its cuisine is still rooted in basic preparations of what is typically considered lowly ingredients to make excellent dishes.
Some local dishes and specialties include:
Baccala alla vicentina - rehydrated stockfish cooked in milk and served with polenta. This dish is so legendary in Vicenza and Italy in general that there is even an official organization dedicated to its preservation. 
Trippa vicentina - stewed tripe, similar to trippa alla parmigiana
Bigoli co 'larna - thick pasta cooked in a duck meat sauce
Risi e bisi - risotto made with peas from Lumignano
Risotto con asparagi bianchi - risotto made with the famous white asparagus from Bassano del Grappa
Torresano allo spiedo - doves cooked in spitfire and served with polenta
Other specialties include: sopressa (a type of salami) from Val di Pasubio, Asiago cheese from Altopiano di Asiago, truffles from Nanto, cherries from Marostica, and chestnuts and wine from Colli Berici. Although there are a number of good restaurants in the city center, the best way to enjoy local specialties is by finding locally-renowned but little-known restaurants in the Colli Berici area. The best way to start your search is through the group "Le Buone Tavole dei Colli Berici" .
Righetti A good and inexpensive self-service restaurant located in Piazza del Duomo. Mondays to Fridays, 1200-1500 and 2100-2200.
Spaghetteria al Fiore Via Borgo Berga, 15. Small, unfussy restaurant serving big plates of pasta for 5-7 euros. The atmosphere is not sophisticated, but comfy. Closed Wednesdays.
Pizzeria da Vittorio Via Borgo Berga, 52. Purportedly the best pizza in town. Very limited seating and erratic hours. Located about 100 meters from Palladio's Arco delle Scalette.
Tutto Gelato Contra del Gambero, 26. Normally open until midnight on Summers, closed on Mondays. The best gelato in Vicenza with a very friendly price tag to boot.
Ristorante Jin Gu Viale Riviera Berica, 447. Frankly, there are no good Chinese restaurants in Vicenza. Except for this one place, which is fairly decent. An almost 10-minute drive from Vicenza, don't expect much if you're from Asia, New York, or the UK, but expect a whole lot more if you've been searching for good Chinese around town and about to give up.
Bar Pizzeria Vesuvio Corso Palladio, 204. Cheap, decent, and open when other restaurants are not. Try the fruit pizzas with apple or pear. Also features cheap Vicenza cuisine. Closed Mondays.
Pizzeria Italy Da Dado Corso Fogazzaro 116. Great oven-fired pizza at a great price, served up by the friendly owner, Dado. Try the "Dado" or the "Bepi" pizzas.
Pizzeria al Vecio Portego The best pizzeria within the city center and very popular with the locals.
Venchi Corso Andrea Palladio, 54. Cioccolatiero in the city center also serving ice cream. A chain gelateria, so if you missed it in another city in Italy you can always expect the same high quality from this one.
La Conchiglia d'Oro Via Bassano, 7. Close to the soccer stadium, this local landmark serves up good pasta and seafood for a good price. Try the penne pasta with shrimp and a big plate of fish, shellfish and squid and die happy of seafood overload.
Antico Guelfo Contra' Pedemuro San Biagio, 90. A small intimate dining room with constantly rotating seasonal menus.
Mamma Mia Via Medici 74. North side of town past the Hospital. A friendly, medium sized restaurant that has good pasta and pizza. Popular with the locals.
Pretto Gelato Arte Italiana Piazza delle erbe, 7. A newly-opened store with gelato flavors designed by Michelin-starred chefs. Their "classic" flavors are good, but for the price does not compare to Tutto Gelato. Instead, go for their more adventurous flavors featuring ingredients such as ginger, licorice and peanuts.
Ristorante agli Schioppi Contra' Piazza Castello, 24. This is the restaurant many locals take out-of-towners to show them classic vicentino cuisine. Good food, hefty price tag.
Ristorante Ponte delle Bele Contra' Ponte delle Bele, 5.
Like other places in the Veneto--and increasingly, the rest of Italy--Vicenza's drinks of choice are the spritz and the prosecco. Spritz is originally an Austrian invention, owing to the region's former status as a part of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire. Although there are as many versions of the drink as there are bars in the Veneto, the most common versions in Vicenza are made with prosecco, a splash of soda, Aperol or Campari, and a slice of orange. Spritz Aperol tends to be sweeter, while Spritz Campari tends to be more bitter. Prosecco, Italy's version of sparkling white wine, is cheap and common in the city due to its close proximity to the prosecco-producing areas in the northeast namely Asolo, Conegliano and Valdobiaddene. Much like champagne (just don't call it "Italian champagne"!) the best prosecco tend to be smooth, producing smaller and more refined bubbles. Unlike champagne, prosecco tends to be cheap regardless of quality. Both drinks are usually consumed as aperitivi, but it isn't uncommon to drink only spritz or prosecco on a night out.
Grappa is also a local product, with production concentrated in the northern hills close to Bassano del Grappa or in the Colli Berici. It is usually consumed as a digestif or as a coffee-fortifier ("caffe corretto"). It is a strong liquor, but there tends to be little binge-drinking associated with it amongst the Italians. Every fall, the city hosts Distillerie Aperte , conducting tours and tastings of the best distilleries in the area.
Although not as big as say production in Piemonte or Toscana, wine is still a major produce in the region. The two most important variants are the Recioto from Gambellara and the Tai Rosso from the Colli Berici. Both are labelled DOC, the Recioto receiving the highest and prestigious appelation DOCG. For those who want to know more about these wines, the Strada del Vino Colli Berici  and the Strada del Recioto  link many of the province's best producers and provides opportunities to taste local wines alongside local produce and local countrysides.
There isn't much in terms of night life in Vicenza per se, but the city is hardly dead on Friday nights and weekends. Although the city can get downright depressing on winter nights, spring and summer signal an explosion of merriment, when young people come out again and fill the city's bars and clubs.
In the historic center, the Piazza dei Signori, Piazza delle Erbe and Contra Pescheria Vecchia are the liveliest, with big groups of young people hanging around until late hours on weekends. Clubbing is an unknown activity in the center, instead concentrated in the SR 11/SS 46 intersection (about ten minutes from the historic center). Although a great place for a night out, featuring lively and sometimes packed clubs and live music, caution in this part of town should be exercised due to a moderate rate of crime associated with drugs, prostitution, illegal cabs, as well as general disturbance caused by public intoxication. Nevertheless, it is a relatively safe place for a night out.
For English-speaking guests looking to make friends with local Italians, there is an English Speaking Hour every Thursday from 9PM until closing. The location changes frequently, so check out the group's Facebook page  for current information. It is not unusual to make friends on a Thursday and find yourself on a hike or excursion with your new-found friends two days later.
Hotel Campo Marzio Viale Roma, 21, Vicenza. Tel +39 0444 545700 Fax.+39 0444 320495 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Special Offers and direct Booking. The Hotel Campo Marzio, located just 20 meters from the pedestrian zone and 200 meters from the railway station, easy to reach, is the most central 4-star hotel in Vicenza with free parking. The Campo Marzio's position will allow you to discover the main attractions of the city. Monuments, museums, shops and restaurants are all within easy reach, including Piazza dei Signori with the Basilica Palladiana (500 metres). Hotel Campo Marzio offers an Internet Point in the hall, and ADSL high-speed WiFi in all rooms. The reception, open 24 hours, is serviced by a multilingual staff, always available to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
NH Jolly Tiepolo, Viale S. Lazzaro, 110, +39 0444 954011 . The NH Jolly Tiepolo is a modern and elegant structure, built in 2000. The location between the exhibition centre, shopping district and the historical district, makes the hotel the perfect place whether you are travelling for business or leisure purposes.
Hotel Castagna, Via Archimede,2 - 36041 Alte di Montecchio Maggiore - Vicenza, ☎ ++39 0444 490 540 (email@example.com, fax: ++39 0444 499 677), . edit
The agriturismo (or operating farms with a functioning B&B) movement is as popular in Vicenza as it is in the rest of Italy. The idea is that instead of a holiday rental in an urban area, vacationers stay and enjoy the Italian countryside as guests in these farms, which provide rooms as well as meals and tours to the surrounding countrysides. Accomodations range from simple rooms in converted farmhouses to grand rooms in ancient villas that dot the surrounding landscape. In addition to enjoying accommodations with friendly locals in a relatively bucolic setting, guests also get an opportunity to try local specialties with ingredients grown by the farm or by farmers in the surrounding area. For more information on agriturismo and to book a stay, click on this  link.