Home > Venetian Jewels: From Vicenza to Venice
Picture the perfect leisurely tour: you cycle on quiet roads drifting through peaceful expanses of green, past grand villas to cheery town centers complete with charming churches, cafés and fountains. You spend your afternoons exploring castles and your evenings sampling local food and fresh-from-the-vineyard wines. This is a reality in the Veneto, a northeastern Italian region famous for its communities and, of course, its crowning jewel, Venice. Perhaps this is why famed cycling suppliers Pinarello and Campagnolo have made the Veneto their home — what a place to test their products!
For cyclists getting to Italy by airplane, you have your choice of arrival airports; Treviso, Verona, Bergamo, and Venice Marco Polo (in Mestre) are convenient for low-cost airlines as well as intercontinental flights. Excellent train connections in the region make it easy to reach Vicenza, the starting point of this tour, which is located between Verona and Vicenza at the edge of the Dolomite mountains. The tour concludes right outside of Venice in Mestre, from which you can easily hop on a train or a plane to your next destination.
For travel and cycling tips to the Veneto, visit our "travel and cycling tips" section.
Your journey begins in the city of Vicenza, renowned as the home of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, whose magnificent churches, villas and palaces (palazzi) have inspired builders (and tourists!) for centuries. A veritable open-air museum with architectural wonders at every turn, it is no wonder Vicenza was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of Palladio’s influential edifices in Vicenza proper, don’t miss the Basilica Palladiana, the Teatro Olimpico (the Olympic Theatre), and the Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, which houses the Museo Palladio.
If you have time, we also suggest visiting the Palazzo Chiericati, home to an art gallery, and the Villa Capra, or “La Rotonda”, at the edge of downtown Vicenza. After a day of villa visits, you will be eager to relax and enjoy the local specialties such as Asiago cheese, Nanto truffles, and Breganza Cabernet wine. Prepare for tomorrow’s ride with hearty dishes like Baccala alla Vicentina (fish), Risi e Bisi (rice and peas), and the lovely Polenta e Osei, which is actually a pastry that merely looks like polenta being devoured by marzipan “osei”, or birds.
The first leg of your trip will bring you swiftly and serenely northwards to the foothills of the Dolomites, a magnificent Alpine mountain range. As you approach Marostica, you will notice the gleaming towers of the Castello Superiore, its walls encircling the hill’s greenery. In the town below, you will find the Castello Inferiore alongside the central square of Piazza Costello. The stones of the piazza are laid out like a giant chessboard, on which humans act as pieces in a life-sized, biennial chess game, the Partita a Scacchi di Marostica.
After taking in the sights and perhaps lunch, continue at your own pace to Bassano del Grappa, a city with its own unique blend of Venetian and Alpine architecture. Bassano del Grappa is best known for the Palladian-designed Ponte degli Alpini, which crosses the Brenta River, and a strong alcoholic beverage called grappa. Conveniently, the Museo della Grappa is located right near the bridge; be sure to take advantage of free admission and a free tasting. More museums devoted to local history and culture await you. You’ll find yet another castle, plenty of cafes, shops, and churches, and even some solitude along the banks of the Brenta River or in the botanical gardens. Rest up for a long and beautiful ride tomorrow!
In a region as enchanting as the Veneto, we would be hard-pressed to name one town the most beautiful of them all. Instead, we’ll let nicknames speak for themselves. Italians call Asolo the “Pearl of the province of Treviso” and the “city of a hundred horizons”. To reach those horizons will require some heavier peddling as Asolo is nestled into a castle-crowned, luscious green hillside. Its romantic reputation is derived from its illustrious former residents — queens, poets, musicians, actresses, and adventurers have called Asolo home — and the memorials they’ve left in the form of castles, theatres, and enchanting squares.
Rolling downhill through vineyard-studded landscapes, you’ll ride toward another famed Palladian creation, the Villa Barbaro, in Maser. As if you haven’t seen enough fairytale-inspiring palaces and towns, at the end of today’s trip, you’ll find yourself at the edge of a moat surrounding the walled city of Treviso. In spite of centuries-old details like working water wheels and fresco-adorned walls, Treviso’s café-dotted streets and world-class storefronts give the city a cosmopolitan feel. Enjoy a stroll through arcaded sidewalks and a sip of Prosecco in the open air before you slip away for a night’s rest and sweet dreams.
It's possible to shorten this stage by 25 km/16 miles by taking the train from Montebelluna to Treviso with a change in Castelfranco.
Rise and shine for a final day of adventure in Venice! From Treviso, you’ll follow the course of the River Sile, taking in lush countryside and classical architecture on either side. At Casale, you’ll turn south towards Mestre, riding through marsh landscape towards the Venetian Lagoon. Once in Mestre, you will secure your bikes and hop on a train to Venice proper from Venezia Mestre station. Arriving at Venezia Santa Lucia station, you will be well poised to meander through the twisting alleys and along the labyrinthine canals.
You won’t want to miss the major tourist attractions, such as the famous Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal, or the Basilica San Marco and its popular piazza. If you seek further adventure, we suggest vaporetto excursions to the brightly colored town of Murano, of glass-making fame, or taking a dip at the beach on Lido. Getting lost in Venice is an adventure in itself — just make sure you find your way back to Venezia Santa Lucia before the last train departs! Head back to Mestre for the night’s lodgings.
After breakfast, feel free to depart at your leisure.
If you’re not flying out of Venice Marco Polo airport in Mestre, you can access other airports in Italy by trains leaving from Venice Mestre station.
If, however, you’re in no rush to leave Venice or the Veneto, we are able to arrange additional hotel stays for a longer visit.
4 nights' accommodations in 3- and 4-star hotels