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.
● 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 Accessorize ● NAU! 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 ❃