Got up this morning and had the biggest breakfast we have had in weeks! Alessandro had set out all sorts of cold meats, cheeses, vegetables, pastries and then fixed us omelets, along with coffee of our choice. Wow! We were scheduled to meet Sharla our Context docent at the train station at 10:30. It certainly was easier and shorter going there this time since we knew the way and didn’t have to double back like we did when we arrived. Sharla is originally from Detroit, married to an Italian, and has been in Italy for 28 years. With us were also a mother and daughter from Canada who took the train this morning from Venice. Sharla said that this tour would not be to the normal places around Bassano but would be to places we might not find on our own. We started by going into a bookstore Libreria Roberti which was housed in a palazzo where Napoleon had once taken up residence. The gardens are lovely and there is Napoleon’s room to see up on the third floor.
We went so many places that I may leave some out but I will try to remember. First we went to a pastry shop where they not only had amazing miniature pastry, but also lovely peppers growing outside.
We walked through the oldest section of Bassano del Grappa, saw the old city walls,
window shopped a bit, passed an old mail station
and made our way to a wonderful store which had all sorts of cheeses, salumi, wines, fresh pasta and there we had a vinegar tasting. Never again will I be satisfied with Costco’s balsamic. There really is a difference in the quality as it ages. This store had an amazing wine cellar which we, of course, had to explore.
We then went to City Hall so we could see the insides of the town clock and hear it chime noon from the inside.
From what I understood, the clock maker was the same one that did the clocks in the Clock Towers of Venice and Padua
Next we went to a bread bakery where the owner took us to his baking shop, as opposed to his store front, showed us all sorts of his tricks including his yeast mother, and gave us fresh made pizza.
We then walked over the Ponte Vecchio and into another wine bar where the wines are all organic with no preservatives. After wine and bruschetta and cheese there, Sharla led us to Ristorante Birreria Ottone where we stopped for lunch! This was just in case we were still hungry. It was really excellent food and I am only sorry our two Canadian companions decided to leave us there. We had a nice, leisurely lunch to fortify us for the rest of the afternoon. By the time we were done, the town of Bassano del Grappa was emerging from its lunch closures, so we went to the Alpini museum. The Alpini were and are the branch of the service in Italy that serves in the Alps at high altitudes and in extreme weather. Both in World War I and World War II, they played a huge part in the defense of Italy and the museum is dedicated to them. There are green Alpine hats everywhere in town.
We also went to a small, local church where St. Antonio is said to have worshipped.
It was a little clearer today so we could see the mountains a little better from the bridge.
We then went to the Nardini tasting rooms for a grappa tasting. Nardini is located right next to the Ponte Vecchio and so gave us this unique view of the base of the bridge.
The grappa tasting was very interesting as is the whole procedure for making grappa (which is not done where we were but in an ultramodern facility in another town). Nardini has been making grappa since 1779 and the bar in the front of where we had the tasting is exactly as it has always been, totally unchanged since it was started. The grappa we tasted were each very different as were some of the other liquors they make. Alan loves grappa and I have to say that this was not the rotgut grappa I had had before. We really had a good time there and wish we could bring some back. Nardini does sell in the U.S. so we will try to find some. By now it was almost 5 and we had been with Sharla the entire day. What a wonderful tour this was. We certainly hope to see Sharla again as we all three felt like we had bonded as friends.
Back to the B&B for a rest (after stopping to get Alan a shirt since one of his that he brought was falling apart). After all the eating we did today, I couldn’t face dinner so around 9 Alan went out to look for something light to eat. Of course the Pizzeria was closed and he wound up back at Ottone where he had the fegato alla Veneziana with polenta. It was great, hot and tasty with a little more black pepper than what he had previously had. Tomorrow it is back to Venice for us, but I have a feeling we will be stopping in a couple of the shops we visited today. That fresh pasta is calling my name. Can’t you hear it?


Day 18–Bassano del Grappa Day 2 — 4 Comments

  1. What a great day – your tour sounded fabulous; love the Context Tour guides – they are so knowledgeable.