Known as the “the city of Palladio", who was not born here but created several architectural works in the late Renaissance, Vicenza is a very important art city in the Veneto region. Masterpieces such as the Palladian Basilica and the Olympic Theatre (the only sixteenth century theater made with wood still existing in the world), attract lot of visitors from around the world. In addition to the works of Palladio, however Vicenza is also home to dozens of masterpieces by great artists such as Tiepolo, Veronese, Maganza, Zelotti and other exponents of the Italian art.
The numerous churches and buildings of classic beauty and pure lines are a sort of open-air museum, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994 (which includes since 1996 the Palladian Villas of the province too). The many cultural events and exhibitions demonstrate the cultural vitality of the citizens.
Small and livable, the city is situated at the confluence of the winding river Bacchiglione with its tributary Retrone, in a green plain at the foot of the Monte Berico.
In addition to being artistic and cultural point of reference, Vicenza is also an important industrial and economic center. It is located in the middle of an area dotted with small and medium-sized enterprises whose production is among the first in Italy in terms of turnover in exports, mainly driven by the engineering industry, textile manufacturing and jewelery: the latter has reached more than a third of the total exports of gold in the country, making Vicenza the Italian capital for gold processing.
Surroundings, from Asiago's Plateau to the neighboring towns of Bassano del Grappa, Marostica and Recoaro Terme, as well as the area of the Berici Hills, make the Vicenza province really extraordinary for landscape lovers too.
Typical food in Vicenza is characterized by a number of dishes derived from the popular strong flavor: from the famous Baccalà alla Vicentina (cod) to the Bassano asparagus just to name a few, to be tasted with the good D.O.C. wines of the area, very high in quality.
GETTING AROUND IN Vicenza
Vicenza's city center is small enough to be comfortably explored on foot. The main road through the old town is the 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 not too 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.
Vicenza is home to the Campagnolo bike component maker and has long been a major hub for bicycle parts and riding. The city just paved a new bike path leading south along the Riviera Berica SS247, leading all the way to Noventa. Throughout the province there are small towns and villas to explore. The Tourism Offices in Piazza Matteotti next to the Teatro Olimpico has some bicycle route information and listings of bike rental locations.
The city is well-served by bus. Times and schedules are posted on the website (http://www.aim-mobilita.it/ - 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 Traffico Limitato = no-drive zone) 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 is no other realistic option other than to drive. The car rental companies are both located within a two-minute walk from the train station.