Headed to Castelfranco Veneto today as an Italian friend from the Veneto had given us a list of places to visit, and Castelfranco was on it. The name indicates that it is a walled fortress and has the right not to pay taxes. It was allied to Venice until the time of Napoleon.
In the 18th C, many wealthy Venetians, in order to avoid excessive taxes, built villas outside Venice, along the Brenta Canal and in the outlying towns,such as Castelfranco, Treviso and as far southwest as Padua. That's why Palladio was such a big hit way back when, and why there are so many lovely villas out here in the flat farmlands.
Castelfranco has been around since about 1000, and is a lovely small walled village surrounded by a moat.
There were originally 2 entrances with portcullis, now bridges, and 2 entrances have been made for pedestrians. The bridge entrances are the most interesting, one with a clock and one without
the town has not much to recommend itself, except the lovely walls and the gardens between the town and the moat. Most of the economy and living takes place outside the walls in the more modern part of the city. We did have a lovely lunch in the shadow of the local Duomo, originally 11th C but rebuilt in 18th C. I had an interesting 'dessert' - crema caffe - it is the cold froth of coffee laced with coffee/caramel syrup, and you eat it with a spoon. Very nice indeed.
On then to Treviso, a really pretty town and well worth a visit if you find yourself in this area. Again, a smaller walled village inside a fairly large modern town, though not as big as Padua. A small university inside. The town is exceptionally clean and attracctive, amd I suspect rather wealthy, as the shops were at the height of fashion and there were a lot of them for the size of the town. It is like Bologna in miniature.
Treviso has a very uninteresting Duomo with a lovely baptistery next door
but it has and some nice domes
What makes Treviso so attractive is the fact that it has a stream running through the (almost) centre
The shops are set under wide, marble-floored colonnades, the piazzas are wide - below is the Piazza dei Signori
and the historic buildings old and lovely - below is the Loggia dei Cavalieri where the medieval aristocracy of the town used to gather
A very nice town. And a very nice (expensive) internet cafe too.
We spent a few hours here, and had a drink at the large cafe in the main square, before heading home for fresh asparagus and poached eggs with parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. Yummm!!! Sometimes it's nice to cook!
Venice tomorrow, nice and early!!