Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prossima Fermata: Summer’s End!

We return to the final chapter of this summertime story to find Martello e Trofie Wife en route to Vicenza, which was to be the last major stop on our epic tour. Due to an unexpectedly long connection, we were able to take a quick walk around Castlefranco’s centro, seeing the outside of the famed castle and a whole passel of bunnies. While we were expecting to land directly in Vicenza, the train only went as far as Padova (a city to which we hope to return at some point) where due to some sort of track issue, we had to take a very long bus. Comedy and frustration continued to ensue as we arrived nearly at midnight at the hotel where we thought we had a reservation but in fact did not (Martello had called the number of one hotel but inadvertently told the taxi driver to take us to a different one). Luckily, there was an available room at what turned out to be a converted monastery, austere but clean and a good value (as of late the New York Times among other publications have been touting the praises of such cloistered lodging; see ).

The arcade between our monastery hotel and the duomo

Vicenza was a sort of Holy Grail for both Martello and Trofie Wife—being architectural godfather Palladio’s hometown (Martello's grail) and the place where Trofie Wife's father lived and my eldest sorella was born (my grail).

Statue of the architectural godfather. The Vicenza commune has not yet commissioned the statues for Trofie Wife's parenti, but I hear that they're working on it...

As we wandered up the hill toward the large duomo Berico, I saw a sturdy American-looking fellow jog by in an Army Ranger t-shirt and felt as though my historical duty had been performed (perhaps we could have seen the base had we taken a normal train into town, but it’s completely closed to the public, as one would expect). Unfortunately, Villa Rotunda—Palladio’s most famous work—was closed on the day we were there, so we’ll have to make it back at some point. Joined once again by i Miamese, we did, however, see some other hallmarks of local architecture including Villa Nani (with its adorable little gargoyles) as well as Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, the Pinoteca, and a lovely park with Palladian accents.  

Teatro Olimpico
Some Palladian accents in various parks

The next morning, we started our journey back to Liguria. If you’ve read all these posts related to our viaggio di agosto (or even just one or two), you can see how lucky we were to have the opportunity to see so much of this varied country—nature, art, food, and friendly people. To return to Arenzano and find that the adventure was going to continue delighted us even more, as there’s just so much more to see both near and far. We’re planning on taking as much advantage of it as possible (and have so far this fall, which in part accounts for why these dispatches are so far behind).

More musings and wanderings to come soon.

Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie

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