Not Venice, the Veneto: Hiking, Villas, Asolo, Conegliano, Valdobbiadene, etc.

Even though most people focus on Venice and Verona, there is so much more to the Veneto.
Here are just a few ideas that begin to scratch the surface…

After lunch at the Osteria Jodo, I visited the Villa Barbaro di Maser built by Andrea Palladio, whose architectural style (mid-1500s) helped define Western architecture for hundreds of years.

The UNESCO World Heritage site has been lovingly restored and preserved by the family that still lives there. Inside are spectacular frescoes by Paolo Veronese including a trompe d’oeil of a life-size boy opening a door as if to enter the room.

Behind the villa are gardens and the Ninfaeum, a stuccoed structure with niches for sculpture.

The long, rectangular façade is very different from Palladio’s compact Villa Capra (La Rotonda), a short distance away. Country homes for wealthy Venetians in the 16th century, Palladian villas pop up all around the Veneto.

While staying at the Agriturismo Due Carpini in the village of Santo Stefano (Valdobbiadene), I hiked through vineyards heavy with grapes…

To views of the Prosecco hills of Cartizze…

And the whole surrounding area…

The town of Asolo is magical, a hidden jewel in the Prosecco hills. It was home to the actress Eleonora Duse and to Freya Stark (1893-1993), the British adventurer who learned Persian and Arabic and traveled widely in the Middle East where no Western women had gone alone. By reserving in advance, private visits to the garden behind her villa can be arranged through the town tourist office or it is open the first three Saturdays of the month. Visits can be made to the castle, the fortress at the top of the hill above town, the Civic Museum and so on.

There are many restaurants. On a warm, late summer day, I ate at Porchetta a Manetta, a little shop/cafe/beer and wine garden at the top of the main square that serves sandwiches, salads, luscious plates of local salami and cheese with polenta, beer and wine.
lunch at Porchetta

For a chic dinner/stay in Conegliano:
Locanda e Bistrot Mezzosale

For dinner/stay in the countryside:
Da Tullio
Most famous for traditional meat on the spit (in the middle of the restaurant).

Or for a more modern menu in the country village of Follina:
Osteria Mazzeri
Osteria Mazzeri

Beef Tartar

Ravioli with Bacon

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