Today Bassano del Grappa is a medium-sized town (population 40,000) It's located in the Veneto region of northern Italy, in the province of Vicenza, at the point where the flat Veneto plains reach the hills leading up to the Alps. It takes its name from the nearby mountain, Monte Grappa, and coincidentally, for the strong grape-based liqueur for which the town has become renowned in recent centuries.
Bassano is also famous for its covered wooden bridge over the Brenta river. The design we see today originated with Andrea Palladio in 1569 but his bridge followed on many previous ones destroyed by flood. Many came after his too – and the most recent re-build took place after the bridge was blown up during World War II hostilties. Two products which bring Bassano acclaim today are the white asparagus of early spring and the locally-produced ceramics.
Like so many of the Veneto's historic towns, this is a prosperous place and is studded with smart clothes' and furnishings shops. The historic centre of Bassano is pretty and very compact. A statue of Jacopo Bassano graces the main piazza. The town's architecture reflects Bassano's location: typical Veneto-style arcaded streets and piazzas are interspersed with alpine wooden balconies, while some of the hostelries have a decidedly Austrian feel and serve delicious mountain game.
WHERE CAN YOU SEE BASSANO PAINTINGS?
The Museo Civico, the town museum, is situated in the former convent alongside the church of San Francesco in Piazza Garibaldi. A spacious gallery houses many Bassano works gathered from local churches and buildings, including by Francesco Vecchio, Jacopo's father, and by Jacopo and his sons.
There is an admission charge of €4 (or €5 for a combined ticket with Bassano's other civic sights).
Visiting churches in the region you can see many other examples: the Church of the Holy Trinity in Bassano, the Church of St Anthony in Marostica and in the parish churches of Cassola, Mussolente, Pove, Borso and Asolo.
The St Christopher fresco by Francesco il Vecchio (Jacopo's father) is on the Loggia di Piazza in the Piazza Garibaldi on the right below the town clock.
Jacopo's Virgin is on the front of the same building.
In a small square leading off the lower right of this Piazza you will find the Casa dal Corno, once frescoed over its entire façade by Jacopo. The frescoes, severely faded, have been removed and are displayed in the Museo Civico.
Also badly faded is the Jacopo Bassano fresco of Roman hero Marcus Curtius making his leap on horseback into the abyss, which can be seen on the façade of the tower of Porta Dieda, formerly one of the walled city's gates.
You will also find frescoes in the churches of Cittadella, Cartigliano, Lusiana and Enego.
HOW TO GET THERE
By train: Bassano del Grappa is connected with Venice by direct regional trains, an 80 minute journey. There are also direct rail services to Padua (varying journey times, from 45 minutes upwards) and Trento (120 minutes). The train station is a short walk to the city centre.
By bus: Bassano del Grappa has a little bus station (autostazione) in Piazzale Trento, by the town wall, just south of the tourist information office and a 5 minute walk from the railway station.
Ferrovie Tramvie Vicentine (FTV) run many bus services linking the towns such as Marostica, Asolo and Vicenza with Bassano. A number of other bus companies serve Bassano – consult the timetables at the bus station.
By air: The nearest airports to Bassano del Grappa are Treviso, served by Ryanair (as 'Venice Treviso'), Venice Marco Polo, and Verona.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Tourist Information Centre
Largo Corona d'Italia 35
Tel +39 0424.524351
Information adapted from ItalyHeaven.co.uk