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 b.D. it entered into the roman empire with the name Vicetia or Vincentia. In 889 it was destroyed by Ungari, and in 1001 it became an episcopal stronghold. In 1404 it became part of the Republic of Venice.
The XVI century was very important for Vicenza because Andrea Palladio built several villas and palaces. During the XIX century, after the fall of Napoleone, 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 is a mere 5-minute walk from the station.
The railstation 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 regionale 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 train 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.
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 could 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.
Vicenza could be reached via the following highways: A4 - from Torino, Milan, Venice or Trieste; A31 - from Schio, Asiago, and Bassano del Grappa; A22 - From Bolzano, Trento, Garda Lake, Mantova and Modena via Verona; A13 - from Bologna and Florence via Padova
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, it is 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 left 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 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 still not so 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.
There are a number of bicycle rental companies in Vicenza as well as surrounding towns and cities that service Vicenza. For a listing of these companies as well as to book a bicycle rental, inquire at the Tourism Offices in Piazza Matteoti next to the Teatro Olimpico or at the Piazza dei Signori right in front of the Basilica Palladiana.
The city is well-serviced by bus. Times and schedules are posted on their website at  (in Italian only). The most important lines are #1 to the shopping malls and #8 to the Rotonda.
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 are really no other realistic option other than to drive a car. 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. Unfortunately, the building is closed for restoration until further notice.
- 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 Matteoti Location for Teatro Olimpico and the Palazzo Chiericati and a popular meeting point for locals.
- Campo Marzo Contains a popular dog park and the town's luna park open during the first and second weeks of September.
- Giardini Salvi Sculptures and the closest green space to the old town.
- Parco Querin a pleasant park on the northern part of town and a good place to see tree blossoms in the Spring.
- Hike, bike or drive and explore the Colli Berici, discovering small towns, excellent wineries, and hidden restaurants along the way.
- Put on your Sunday best and walk down Corso Palladio to join the locals in their daily passeggiata.
- Grab lunch to go from il Ceppo or Pam and have a picnic on the base of Palazzo Chiericati's columns.
- Print a list of Palladio's more obscure villas, hire a car, and go on a treasure hunt in search of Palladio's creations littering the edge of town.
- Grab a pint in the Drunken Duck in Quinto Vicentino and know what Italian beer is all about.
- Go for a spritz before dinner either at the base of Palladio's statue in Piazza dei Signori to people watch or in Bar Pellegrino at the Piazzale della Vittoria to watch the sun set.
- Prowl around the flea market for good deals on unique finds (every second Sunday of the month).
People from Vicenza are often teased because of the recipe of the Roast Cat (Gato a la Visentina). Although it isn't prepared any more, this recipe still remains in the memory of people as a sign of the bad times when people could hardly survive. So don't be scared because of it, consider it just a joke and don't mind if they tell you that cats and rabbits taste the same.
However as a matter of fact, if you go buy a rabbit in a supermarket, it is usually sold with its head, just to re-assure you that it is really a rabbit and not a cat.
However, apart from these picturesque stories, you do not need to be afraid to be served a cat for lunch or dinner.
There are many typical dishes. For example the "Baccalà alla Vicentina": this is stockfish left to soak for days in flowing water and then cooked for hours at a very low flame. It is served usually with "polenta" prepared with maize flour. Once food of poor people is now considered a delicacy.
Or you can try the "Bigoli co l'arna". Bigoli are a kind of thick spaghetti made with flour and eggs (normal spaghetti are without eggs) while "arna" means duck.
You absolutely have to try the Spritz, a mixture of white wine, water and usualli Campari or Aperol. People usually drink it before lunch or dinner, talking with friends and eating chips. It is served in every bar or pub of the city at any time.
But do not forget that Veneto is also the land of Prosecco. Maybe it is less trendy than a Spritz, but especially with some appetizers a good glass of Prosecco is for sure worth to be considered.
- Ostello di Vicenza, V. Giuriolo, 9, ☎ 0444/540222 (fax: 0444/547762), . 17.00€ (with common bath), 20.00€ (with private bath).
- Camping Vicenza, Strada Pelosa, 239, 36100 - Vicenza (VI) (2 km south east, located at the exit of the Vicenza-East tollgate), ☎ +39 0444 582311, .
- Hotel Campo Marzio Viale Roma, 21, Vicenza. Tel +39 0444 545700 Fax.+39 0444 320495 Email [email protected] 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 protected], fax: ++39 0444 499 677), .
- Hotel Victoria, Strada Padana verso Padova, 52 - 36100 Vicenza, ☎ +39 0444 912299 ([email protected], fax: +39 0444 912570), .