Vicenza is a great place for anyone who loves history, art and architecture. And touring this area to see the architectural marvels of the celebrated architect Andrea Palladio (think Palladian) on a bike is even more amazing, especially when you take the dog with you! Here’s a great route that will make you fall in love with this great city for sure!
The activities to enjoy in the company of your four-legged friend at this time of year are countless: there are those who go to the beach, those who head up into the mountains and those who make cultural trips. Vicenza is one of the most beautiful of Italian cities, with charming landscapes and the wonderful Palladian villas. Follow our route and see the best it has to offer!
Teatro Olimpico and Palazzo Chiericati
It’s time to head into the historical centre of Vicenza. The Teatro Olimpico was the world’s first brick-covered theatre, it too designed by the great Palladio. The inside echoes classic open-air theatres and its beauty will leave you breathless. On the other side of the street you will find Palazzo Chiericati, home to the great Municipal Museum of Vicenza. Inside you will find masterpieces by Tiepolo, Veronese, Montagna and many other great artists.
When you leave the museum, ride your bike down the length of Corso Palladio until you reach the majestic Basilica Palladiana on Piazza dei Signori. Its aqua-green roof is a beautiful contrast to the white walls and columns. It is home to architectural exhibitions and world class art. On its roof is a lovely terrace from which you can admire a breathtaking view!
Villa Almerico Capra “La Rotonda”
Nestled at the foot of Monte Berico, the hill that dominates the city, La Rotonda is Palladio’s most famous villa and was built between 1556 and 1557. The building is square, completely symmetrical and is graced with rotundity; the central hall of the villa is entirely round, hence the name “La Rotonda”, the facades are identical and in the middle of the house is a spherical dome that echoes the Pantheon of Rome. The rooms inside are decorated with lovely frescoes and stuccos. You can admire the surrounding landscape from the loggia, which is truly magical at any time of year. There’s a good reason why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site!
From La Rotonda, follow the cycle path to Villa Valmarana ai Nani just 5 minutes away. The word Nani means dwarves and refers to the series of statues of dwarves that face the street. Legend has it that the owner’s daughter was affected by dwarfism and to make sure she didn’t feel different from others, his staff was made up entirely of dwarves! But one day a prince came to the villa and she suddenly realized her condition. So distraught was she that she committed suicide and the dwarves turned to stone from the pain. The villa is composed of three buildings – la Palazzina, la Foresteria and la Scuderia – and is famous for the lovely frescoes depicting mythological figures painted by Tiepolo.
Your dog may not be allowed into some of these buildings, but they are well worth seeing just from the outside too, with you in the saddle and your four-legged buddy in its comfy Ferplast Atlas Bike pet carrier. You can hook it quickly and easily onto the handlebars, it is robust and equipped with all the comforts and safety devices, like protective rubber netting, a raised area for paws in the front, a soft cushion and safety belt to hook onto your dog’s collar or harness.