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

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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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Girl leaning against an ancient stone wall in front of a torrent

Early Spring Walk Through Cison

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Stone walls around the torrent bed

I do never insist enough about the fact that Italy is full of every kind of treasures. And that is not just referred to the major cities that regularly attract tourists from all around the world,  but also to the smaller ones and the little villages, sometimes less famous but that do not lack in beauty. Everyone who lives here in Veneto goes to visit, sometimes even more than one time in a year, Cison di Valmarino. The little village is part of the club called “I borghi più belli d’Italia“, an association which gathers together all the small historical centers considered to be the most beautiful in Italy.  Cison is placed very near to Follina (about whom we spoke in this previous post of mine) and has just been admitted to this very club last December.

A redhead girl, dressed in black, standing in a creek bed covered with grass

The torrent bed

Portrait of a redhead girl in a garden

Creek bed with trees, sourrounded by cobbled walls and mountains on the background

Portrait of a girl, dressed in black , with red sunglasses and bag, and standing on a stairway

Entrance of a rural house with cobbled walls

Portrait of a girl, dressed in black, leaning on a cobbled wall

Cison di Valmarino is a very small village that lies in the pre-alpine area between Vittorio Veneto and the famous wine country of Valdobbiade. As it happens with most of these charming places, it is an example of exquisite rural architecture in a place where agriculture and viticulture are still vital after centuries. Not by chance, the settlement is crossed by the bed of the Rujo torrent, unfortunately dry at this time of the year, that begins in the northern side of the village where a complex system of mills was active. This area can be visited and has been included in a path called “Via dei Mulini” (The path of the mills), that from the village leads North to the woods. Furthermore, in this northern area, away from the settlement, there is the Forest of Penne Mozze, a large portion of the woods dedicated to the memory of the war dead.

Unluckily no comprehensive archaeological and historical study about the settlement has been done yet. Scholars believe that the area has been inhabited since Prehistoric times and surely it benefited from the proximity to the Claudia Augusta Altinate during Roman times, when the first castrum was built. The appearance of a stable settlement is generally connected to the so called “barbarian invasions”, when the whole area was under the influence of the Lombard Ducato of Ceneda. In the VIth Century Teodolinda, queen of the Lombards, conceded these lands to the bishops of Ceneda and they remained under their control through the centuries, during both Frankish kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire. In the XIth Century,  the area passed to some nobles families, specifically to the Da Camino family, that took posses of the castle. As we have seen elsewhere, during the XVth Century also Cison came under Venice’s influence to be assigned, in 1439, to the Brandolino family that served in battle the Republic of Venice. Their architectural mark and identity still are palpable and give the castle that unmistakable appearance that still fascinates the visitors. I am planning to do a specific post about Castel Brando in the future, as it deserves attentions on its own.

Creek bed with trees, sourrounded by cobbled walls and the village on the background

A girl standing on a stone bridge

Saint Vito church and the clock tower at the sunset

Saint Vito church

Creek bed with trees, sourrounded by cobbled walls and mountains on the background

Portrait of a girl sitting on a cobbled low wall with historical buildings and nountains at her back

A rural village with a stone bridge and historical rural buildings

A narrow street with ancient stone and cobble houses

A redhead girl dressed in black standing on a street of an historical village

A redhead girl dressed in black standing on a street of an historical village, dancing

Profile portrait of a redhead girl, dressed in black, standing in front of a wooden window

So the combination of this double personality, rural and noble, characterizing this little town, has always fascinated me. It also makes me think a lot about the concepts of beauty and usefulness and how they could find, once, a synthesis; a physical conciliation in a tangible architecture. Places like this have very much to teach to the contemporary world, where what in useful and productive has to be hideous, sometimes monstrous; and what is beautiful and delightful cannot be connected to laboriousness. Architecture has a key role in this and I strongly believe ugly places generate ugliness while beautiful places do the opposite.

Walking along the beautiful streets of Cison, amongst the traditional pebble houses, stone bridges and delightful sights of the Alpine foothills, you can easily reach the main square, Piazza Roma, that gathers the most elegant buildings of the village. In fact it is characterized by some noble palaces dating back to XVIIth Century as well as the main church, dedicated to Saint Maria Assunta and Saint Giovanni Battista. A document dates the ancient parish back to 1170, while the church, in its present form, was built in the XVIIth Century and completed in 1740. Behind the church, on the horizon, the view goes up, towards the castle nestled on the top of the hill, overlooking the village just like it was guarding over it.

a redhead girl, dresse in black, standing on a cobbled wall in the sunset

Cison and Castel Brando on the background

Portair of a redhead girl, dressed in black, in the sunset

Adressed in black girl with red bag standing on a wall with tree art nouveau windows

Art nouveau style Villa Ameliatte

Adressed in black girl standing in front of the wooden door of an art nouveau house

Art nouveu style Villa Ameliatte

Historical stone stairway in front of a church

Stairways of SS. Maria Assunta e Giovanni Battista church

A dressed in black girl going down from the stone starirs

Portrait of a dressed in black girl standing on a stairway

Close up of an antique pendant silver earring with embedded sapphires

Antique silver earring

Close up of a silver necklace with a pendant stone

Silver necklace with carnelian pendant

A dressed in black girl with red bag sittinf in front of a stairway

A stone walkway amongts historical stone houses

Such a place – rich in history and beauty, quiet and relaxing – you won’t believe, turns into one of the most visited places in Veneto during summertime. A quite famous event, called “Artigianato Vivo” that takes place every year in august, attracts here an incredible amount of people since early 90s. The whole village opens its houses, courtyards and palaces to selected master artisans, and the entire town becomes, if possible, an even more magic place.

A stone walkway next to a torrent in the middle of an ancient village

An historical village with stone houses and a torrent in the middle

Girl on a stone bridge with a bricks house and mountains behind

A stone bridge on a torrent in an historical stone and bricks village

 Benetton wool coat; black wool sweater from a flea market; 3 euro skirt from the market – no brand; silver necklace – gift from a friend; early 20th Century pendant earrings – gift from my mother; fav boots; old bag; NAU red sunglasses – last winter collection

*Pics by Antonio and me *

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Happy Spring to everybody!

I love spring; not just because I prefer the “half seasons” but also because I feel very connected to this time of the year since I was born in April. This is why two years ago I decided to celebrate this season with some self-portraits that I would like to share with you. This was actually my first approach ever to self-portrait and I was quite happy with it!

The daisies headband was by H&M while the flowers rings were made by me for the occasion just adding different plastic flowers to some metallic rings for handmade jewelry. It is a cheap and easy way to have some customized accessories everytime you need them!

So… happy spring everyone!

redhead with pastel pink dress in the woods in spring

redhead with pastel pink dress in the woods in spring

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