Asolando

Everybody has a favorite place for spring, somewhere special to relish the season and its scented, vivid, soft air. Not too noisy but yet nor desolated; simply a quiet corner. To me, the place that entirely expresses these feeling is Asolo. And I can’t wait, when spring comes, to go back to visit it, spending entire afternoons walking in its streets, inebriated by its beauty. Asolo stands on a landscape shaped by gentle hills, most of them still wooded and some cultivated in vineyards and olive trees.

I’ve often talked about “I borghi più belli d’Italia“. To me, Asolo is the most beautiful amongst them all; a real gem which, not surprisingly, has been the favorite place for artists, men of letters and writers since the Renaissance period, reaching the peak of fame especially in the 19th century.

Its reputation of being a “locus amoenus was certainly encouraged by the arriving of Caterina Cornaro, queen of Cyprus. The Venetian noblewoman had been given in marriage to the king of Cyprus where reigned until 1489, when the island was claimed by the Serenissima. In exchange, the Republic gave her Asolo and its domain, unconsciously giving a start to a court that soon became the epicenter of a prominent cultural circle which marked the 16th century culture. The famous Pietro Bembo – Venetian humanist and scholar of Petrarch and Boccaccio – composed, inspired by his visit at Caterina’s court in 1498, one of his most important work, “Gli Asolani“, the three books dialogue about love and beauty. The medieval castle was the queen’s royal palace but also the place where a rich group of artists and literati used to gather in homage to her, protector of the Arts. Suffice to say the famous painters Giorgione and Lorenzo Lotto were court attendants.

The victorian poet and writer Robert Browning came several times to visit Asolo and literally fell in love with the town. Trying to portray the place in a letter he failed, calling it “indescribable”. “Asolando” is the name of his very last collection of poems, published in 1889.

But Asolo was also the place to live chosen by one of the most famous Italian theatrical actresses between 19th and 20th century: Eleonora Duse. Her 16th-century house is today remembered with an inscription that can be seen at Santa Caterina gate and a specific section of the Civic Museo is dedicated to her. Eleonora was an example of a talented and independent woman of her Age. She had a brilliant theatrical career, spacing from Shakespeare to Emile Zola and Dumas, that was strictly intertwined with her personal life. After obtaining the divorce she had important love affairs with the poets Arrigo Boito and Gabriele D’Annunzio, giving the second one the inspiration to start his theatrical production, influencing the birth of a chapter of the Italian Literature.

Asolo is also the place where the famous explorer, cartographer and writer Freya Stark spent most of her childhood. After an entire life of touring and after her very last travel, at the age of 88, in Nepal, she retired in Asolo where she died 100 years old. Villa Stark and its archaeological park are still open for visit.

Last but not least Asolo was the place chosen by the musician Gianfrancesco Malipiero to live from circa 1920 to his death, in 1973, when he was buried in the garden of his house in via Foresto Vecchio. Asolo inspired one of his piano works, “Poemi asolani“, composed in 1916.

As you can see, many are the figures connected to this ravishing little town. Its natural beauty and the sweetness of the environment surrounding it make Asolo the proper place where retire and linger in search of the Roman otium, to achieve art, music and poetry. All these characteristics also explain its natural vocation to slow tourism and cycle tourism. Personally, Asolo is my favorite destination when I go for a ride with my bike during the summertime.

The best way to visit Asolo is a walking tour. The historic centre is small and only this way you’ll be able to wholly appreciate the richness of the landscape and the romantic atmosphere of the place. The Italian poet Carducci once called Asolo “the city with one hundred horizons”, because of the variety of views that can be experienced from each and every spot of the town.

So, let’s take a walk together.

Girl in pink vintage dress standing in front of a decorated house

The so-called “casa longobarda” on the way to the center of Asolo; actually the 16th-century house of the architect Francesco Graziolo, whose eccentric taste is well expressed in the choice of the symbolic and original decorations of the architecture

Girl in pink vintage dress in front of a decoraded house

The so-called “casa longobarda

Girl in pink vintage dress standing in front of the entrance of a villa

Stunning entrance of a garden in via Santa Caterina

Portrait of a redhead girl, wearing a vintage pink dress

Un giardino all'italiana in collina

A “giardino all’italiana” in via Santa Caterina

A giardino all'italiana in the hills

giardino all'italiana in the hills

Lemon greenhouse in the garden

The lemon greenhouse

Entrance of an historical house

Just one of the beautiful historical houses on the street leading to the center of Asolo

Fountain in

The fountain in front of Santa Caterina’s church

Cipriani Hotel entrance in Asolo

Entrance of the luxurious Hotel Cipriani

Gate leading to an historica center

Santa Caterina gate

Inscription lapidea on the wall of an historical buinlding

Inscription lapidea paying homage to Eleonora Duse’s house in Via Canova

Girl wearing a cintage pink dress standing on a wall of an historical centre

Santa Caterina gate

Girl wearing sixties pink dress in an hisorical center

Via Canova

Vintage entrance of a shop in Asolo

An old shop in via Canova

Historical buildings in Asolo

Piazza Gabriele D’Annunzio

Girl wearing vintage pink outfit in front of stone wall

The foundations of Queen Cornaro’s castle

Alley with historical buildings

Via Canova

Portrait of a redhead girl wearing pink vintage dress and accessories

Stone walls of a medieval building with sculptures

The foundations of Queen Cornaro’s castle

Girl wearing vintage pink outfit in front of a castle

North side of the castle

Gate to an historical centre

The Sottocastella gate

Portatit of a redhead girl wearing a sixties pink dress with a hill landscape in the background

Charming view of the hills

View of an historical centre with stylish buidings

View towards Piazza Garibaldi

Alley with arcade

An alley behind Loggia della Ragione

Historical friezes

Frescoes and heralds on Loggia della Ragione’s wall

Historical buildings

Historical buildings in via Regina Cornaro

Girl dressed in pink on a terrace

The balcony of the Civic Museum

View over historica buildings

Asolo seen from the balcony

Frescoes on a building wall

Frescoes on the Civic Museum’s wall (Palazzo della Ragione) describing Crasso’s defeat against the Parthians

Mosaic on a façade

The 18th cenury facade of the cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mother Mary

Façade

Virgin Mother Mary’s cathedral

Girl dressed in pink in a staircase

Building dominating over a landscape

The valley seen from the Civic Museum

Street with historical buildings

Via Robert Browning

A castle tower

Queen Cornaro’s castle tower seen from behind the cathedral

Balcony with flowers

Via Robert Browning

Street with historical buildings

Via Robert Browning

Bell tower

The cathedral bell tower

A redhead girl wearing pink sixties dress and accessories standing on a balcony

A fountain and a gate

The Zen fountain

A girl in pink dress standing on a gate

Castelfranco gate

A girl wearing a pink s

Castelfranco gate

A girl wearing a pink vintage dress walking under

A stone fountain wirh lian head

The Zen fountain, built by the Zen family in 1571 to have drinking water in their house in the historic centre; still remains a point of reference for all cyclist after the tiring climb of the hill

Portrait of a redhead girl wearing pink dress, earrings and necklace

52-asolo-porta-dieda

Via Foresto Nuovo

Hills landscape with blooming trees and a fortress

The Rocca of Asolo, first used by the Venetians and fortified by Ezzelino and Carraresi family between 13th and 14th century

Portrait of a redhead girl with pink dress and a blooming pink tree

Ancient streets

Via Foresto Vecchio

Fortress on the top of the hill

The Rocca of Asolo

A castle tower

The castle tower

A castle tower

A girl in the castle tower

The watchtower

Centre of Asolo seen from the tower window

Asolo seen from the watchtower

Asolo overview

Asolo

Inside the castle tower an ancient effigy dedicated to Eleonora Duse

An inscription remembering Eleonora Duse Theatre, located inside the castle

The plain seen from the castle

The valley seen from Queen Cornaro’s castle

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A girl walking under an archade

Portrait of a redhead girl

For the make up I choose a classical sixties cut crease with eyeliner and a pink matte lipstick

Closeup on a vintage sixties style dark pink bag from

Original sixties bag found in a flea market many years ago

Detail of a glass flowers pink necklace and earrings

Earrings and necklace made of tiny glass flowers; I bought the first in a vintage shop, the second in a charity Christmas market in Venice

● Vintage sixties pink dress from Officine Li Volsi ● vintage sixties bag from flea market  ● Calzedonia lace ivory collant ● ivory ballerinas from H&M ● vintage sixties glass earrings from C’era una volta vintage shop ● vintage glass necklace from a charity market in Venice ● bee ring from AccessorizeNAU! pink sunglasses                                   ● Neve Makeup and fruit sushi lipstick ●

Last but not least here you can find a map of Asolo and all its main features 😉

❃ Pics by Antonio and me ❃

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