Asolo, Bassano del Grappa and their environs – among verdant hills, ancient villas and… bubbles – an itinerary for art lovers who also care about their food
Asolo is a refined city with ancient traditions where we will stay overnight. This is a place where we can once again find peace, together with an appreciation of the beauty it offers. Mentioned by Pliny the Elder, the evidence of its important heritage remains: the Loggia della Ragione, the fortified walls which lead to the bastion with its unforgettable view and the elegant Renaissance villas in the surrounding area. The cathedral is enriched by Lorenzo Lotto's painting, “Madonna and Saints”, whilst the surrounding hilly landscape has been immortalised by Giorgione. Then there is the CivicMuseum with Eleonora Duse’s mementos, the Picture Gallery with works by Canaletto and Canova – in Asolo, art lovers cannot but find satisfaction.
Between Breganze, the Marca Trevigiana (the countryside around Treviso) and the Montello area, we will explore the art of wine-making and cooking, delighting the most demanding of palates. Depending upon the season, we can choose from the simple, prolific plants, such as bruscandoli (a wild asparagus), tarassaco (dandelion), raperonzolo (rampion) to enrich winter dishes, or local mushrooms, tagliolini with tastasal (a pork sausage-meat) and red-leaf chicory, or game with polenta, or the famous bigoli (a thick, spaghetti-like pasta). We obviously cannot neglect to sample the local cheeses: first among which Asiago DOP, or the now rare Morlacco and the cheeses made of both sheep's and goat's milk.
The DOC wines of the area are well worth sampling: Montello, Colli Asolani, Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Prosecco tranquillo, frizzante and spumante), Gambellara and Breganze. In the latter district, Vespaiolo, a native grape, is used to produce Breganze Vespaiolo and Breganze Vespaiolo Superiore and, after careful selection and partial drying of the grapes, the dessert wine Breganze Torcolato. And to end the meal, a good grappa is the ideal choice.
When mentioning grappa, Bassano and its environs spring to mind; their famous and ancient distilleries have been granting prestige to the Veneto region since the beginning of the 18th century. The wine-tastings in the various cellars and a visit to the museum devoted to grappa will bring the weekend to a perfect close.
At least two days should be allowed for this trip.