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Bassano del Grappa, a vibrant cultural center in the Veneto region, boasts an antique and consolidated commercial and artisanal traditions. The city is located at the mouth of the Valbrenta, surrounded to the north by the Altopiano dei Sette Comuni and the Massif del Grappa (1775 m). Encircled by gentle hills and benefiting from a mild climate, the city adds value to the agriculture experience with quality products which are globally renowned: the asparagus, the distillation of grappa, the cultivation of olive trees and grapevines.
Besides the Palladian bridge, which is famous all over the world, the city is also known for its important museums, the villas of Veneto, the sumptuous palaces which embellish it and its historical connection with the Alpini.
Although Roman testimonies are widely present in the territory, the first official document which mentions Bassano dates back to 998 AD. The city walls which surrounded the city were three: the first was erected in the first half of the 10th century and it included only the castle; the second was built in the 13th century by the Ezzelini to defend the village which had expanded; the third, still partially in existence, was built at the end of the 14th century under Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti.
In the following centuries, the city became a cultural and artistic center: in the 16th century the talent of the painter Jacopo Dal Ponte, one of the great masters of the 1500 Veneto. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Bassano and its surroundings became one of the European capitals of ceramic and porcelain creations.
Very well-known for the manufacturing of grappa, unlike what others may think, the name of the city is derived from the famous Monte Grappa, in memory of the sad events related to the war.
Also called the Alpini Bridge or Bridge of Palladio, the Old Bridge is the symbol of the city. Originally designed by Palladio in 1569, the bridge has been destroyed and rebuilt several times (always following the original design) due to wars and “brentane” (sudden, violent floods of the Brenta River). The material used for the bridge is wood, which is more flexible than stone and therefore more resistant to the force of water. In addition to offering a splendid view of the Valsugana, the Old Bridge has always been a meeting place for Bassano’s residents – the historical “Grapperia Nardini” is located on the eastern end, while the “Taverna al Ponte”, which houses the Alpini Museum, is on the western end.
The Civic Museum of Bassano is one of the oldest civic museums in Veneto (1831) and has considerably enriched its collection over time. The museum features an archaeology section, an art gallery (paintings from the thirteenth to twentieth century) and a cloister (epigraphic section with memorial stones, coats of arms, inscriptions, tombstones and architectural fragments from the thirteenth century onwards). The art gallery has more than 500 paintings, with one of the highlights being the largest collection of works by Jacopo dal Ponte in the world, as well as numerous documents regarding his workshop’s activities. The Canova section contains 2,000 original drawings, sketches, various works in plaster and his unique series of monochromes, as well as letters and a library.
The slender yet impressive Tower of Sir Ivan serves as the entrance to the castle, which is protected by two walls. The walls, whose remaining sections date from the early twelfth century, reached their height of glory during the powerful Ezzelini Dynasty. The castle remained perfectly functional even during the subsequent rule of the Visconti and Scaligeri families. The fortification was still operational during the fifteenth century, but fell into disuse and was converted when it came under the control of Venice. The entire complex has undergone several renovations and is currently used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.