Getmehomefortea in Feltre, Palazzo Bellati-Villabruna su Via Mezzaterra

The Frozen City

Girl in feltre in san vittore dal pozzo stairs with snow

Feltria perpetuo niveum damnata rigore
Atque mihi posthac haud adeunda, vale

         “Feltria, condemned to the rigor of eternal snows, from me too, who henceforth will scarcely approach you, Farewell!”

Not surprisingly a Roman author, perhaps Cesar himself, uses these words to describe the ancient city of Feltre. The historical town, situated on the southern edge of the Italian Dolomites (in the Belluna Valley) and on the West of the Piave River, still is famous for its proverbial rigorous climate. Since we do love winter, ice and snow, this time of the year seems to be perfect for taking a walk among the characteristic street of the citadel, taking advantage of the fact that quite nobody is around. Despite the cold weather, a few rays of the sun give us that something extra to make our little tour even more enjoyable.

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getmehomefortea standing at the gate of feltre with violet hat anche check green cape

One of the most famous and characteristic access points to the citadel is a stairway which, through a gate in the ancient walls right in front of St. Peter’s Cathedral, leads directly to the main square – Piazza Maggiore.

getmehomefortea Vittore dal Pozzo stair with violet hat and green, check wool cape

getmehomefortea Vittore dal Pozzo Feltre arches

getmehomefortea with violet hat and green dress and red lips in the snow in Feltre

The arched gallery – called “Vittore dal Pozzo” – attracts tourists but, most of all, photographers trying to capture its beauty and chasing the best angle to withdraw it. The path is all made of stone with a wooden roof and, not by chance, it is the only one sheltered access to the old town; in effect, it represented the link between two political and social crucial point of the settlement: the cathedral and the Palazzo della Ragione. Such characteristic walks, along with its being castled on the top of the hill, make me often think of Feltre as a sort of little Minas Tirith, full of cobbled alleys, arches and narrow passageways.

getmehomefortea in Vittore dal Pozzo stairway in Feltre

portrait getmehomefortea with violet hat and green handmade dress and deer pendant

getmehomefortea playing with snow in FeltreFeltre salita di Vittore dal Pozzo con la neve

Getmehomeforteablog in Feltre Vittore dal Pozzo stairway with snow

Possibly of Etruscan origins, Feltre’s history dates back to Roman times, when became an import Municipium in 49 BC. Thanks to its strategic position it gained more and more importance during the Imperial times, being touched by the Claudia Augusta – a famous Roman road – that linked Opitergium (Oderzo) to Tridentum (Trento) and the Brenner region; furthermore, the city benefited from the proximity to two important waterways, Piave and Brenta. Being a strategic commercial and military junction unsurprisingly, after the fall of the Western, Feltre was targeted by all the foreign peoples that came from the borders of the empire, to become a Lombard dominion in the VI sec. During the late Middle Ages it was ruled by several signorie – Da Romano, Da Camino, Scaligeri and Viscontito be finally conquered by the Republic of Venice in 1404. In 1499, under the Serenissima, Feltre’s defensive structures were strengthened through the construction of a new line of external walls. After this, except for a ruinous destruction in 1509, the city remained under the Venetians until the arrival of Napoleon, in 1797. Finally, we can not fail to mention its key role as war scenario during I and II WW.

From the naturalistic point of view Feltre is not exception indeed. As we proceed up to the stairway a wonderful view is revealed on our left: a cobbled terrace shows, behind the roofs covered with snow, the mountainside of the famous Monte Grappa, which stands towards the South; in the opposite direction, 20 kilometres North, Belluno is situated with its Dolomites National Park. Feltre lies at the centre of an area of enormous naturalistic interest, offering a wide range of pathways, from the trekking and Nordic walking trails, suitable for everyone, to the more challenging mountain paths, for hiking lovers.

Feltre getmehomeforteablog Vittore dal Pozzo stairway

Feltre landscape mountains roof with snow

Getmehomefortea peek-a-boo in Feltre

Feltre landscape view mountains

Feltre Vittore dal Pozzo stairway view

portrait in Feltre with landscape view over the mountains

Reached the top of the hill, on our left, we first find the Palazzo della Ragione, a 16th-century, administrative headquarters in the Venetian period and still the Town Hall. Its characteristic feature is the long arcade, attributed to Andrea Palladio. The palace, since 1684, hosts the Teatro della Senna, wich was chosen in 1729 by Goldoni for the theatrical representation of two of his plays.

Entrance of Palazzo della Ragione in Feltre

Palazzo della Ragione

Getmehomefortea, Palazzo della Ragione, Feltre, entrance

The Palladian loggia

Getmehomefortea, Palazzo della Ragione in Feltre, balcony

Palazzo della Ragione in Feltre, entrance

The Palladian loggia

View from Palazzo della Ragione in Feltre

The view from the Palazzo della Ragione

Baroque statues in Palazzo della Ragione, entranceWindows of Palazzo della Ragione in FeltreEngravings, Palazzo della Ragione entrance, Feltrefrescos writings in palazzo della ragione piazza maggiore feltre

In front of us the view of Piazza Maggiore square opens, revealing the 17th-century Saint Rocc’s church and the so called “Alboino castle”, traditionally attributed to the Lombard period, as the king’s name shows, and rebuilt in the 11th century. On left stands Palazzo Guarnieri, reshaped in the beginning of the 19th Century by Giuseppe Segusini, who gave the building its characteristic Neogothic features. The square feature also the presence of the beautiful fountains the architect Tullio Lombardo gave to the city in 1488.

At the centre of Piazza Maggiore we can see two statues, paying homage one to two 15th Century outstanding men from Feltre: Panfilo Castaldi – a 14th Century typographer considered one of the fathers of movable type – and Vittorino de’ Rimbaldoni – teacher at the very first Greek language school in Venice. A third statue emerges from the square: the lion of San Marco watches over the entire city.

The street which runs through the square is called Via Mezzaterra and connects the two main gates of the citadel: the Imperial gate and Oria gate. Via Mezzaterra was the artery of the social life: it collects a long succession of noble palaces – most of all dating back to the 16th century – still showing stunning frescoes to the passersby. Because of the magnificence of its frescoed façades, Feltre was indeed called “Urbs Picta“.

Not of minor importance, the citadel also hosts two important museum spaces. The Civic Museum, that features works by important painters such as Bellini and Cima da Conegliano, and the Galleria Rizzarda, a Modern Art gallery mainly displaying artefacts made of wrought iron from the 19th Century, but also owning works by Fattori and Carrà. Feltre also has an important underground archaeological area just under the Duomo, showing some Roman remains, that can be freely visited by appointment.

So our visit is almost finished. Via Mezzaterra ends at the Oria gate; leaving the citadel at our back nothing is lost: still that astonishing landscape surrounds us and we can just and only revel in it.

Piazza Maggiore Feltre in the snow with Alboino castle in the background

Saint Rocco’ church, Tullio Lombardo’s fountains, the Clock Tower and Alboino’s castle

Feltre in the snow, Piazza Maggiore and the citadel

Via Mezzaterra

Getmehomeforteablog Piazza Maggiore Feltre in the snow

Feltre Piazza Maggiore in the snow with Vittorino de' Rambaldoni - Vittorino da Feltre - statue

Vittorino da Feltre’s statue

feltre san marco's statue in piazza maggiore

Lion of Saint Marco

Feltre statue of Panfilo Castaldi in Piazza Maggiore

Panfilo Castaldi’s statue

Getmehomeforteablog in Feltre Piazza Maggiore with Vittorino da Feltre's statue

Wooden door in Feltre with San Marco lions

A wooden door with two Venetian lions in Via Mezzaterra

Feltre, Palazzo Bellati-Villabruna e Chiesa di San Giacomo su Via Mezzaterra

Palazzo Villabruna-Bellati in Via Mezzaterra

Secondary square in Feltre with ancient frescoed building Palazzo Crico Tauro in Piazzetta Trento e Trieste

Piazzetta Trento e Trieste

Beautiful corner in Feltre

Frescoes in Feltre

Palazzo Salce-Aldovini-Mezzanotte with frescoes in Feltre

Palazzo Salce-Aldovini-Mezzanotte with its frescoes

Frescos detail of Palazzo Salce-Aldovini-Mezzanotte in Feltre

Palazzo Salce-Aldovini-Mezanotte, frescoes details

Stairway in Feltre with landscape in the background

Another stairway to the citadel

Getmehomefortea in Feltre, Palazzo Bellati-Villabruna su Via Mezzaterra

Palazzo Bellati-Villabruna

Building with frescos in Feltre

Getmehomefortea, Oria gate in Feltre

Oria Gate

Getmehomefortea, Oria gate in Feltre

Oria Gate

Green wool dress sewed by me; old boots; vintage wool cape; purple wool hat Koan by Coin; vintage silver stag brooch.

*Pics by Antonio and me*

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Christmas Markets

Mercatino di Follina natale vento treviso turismo cultura

The back stairs leading to the cloister

December brings along all of its lights, colors and smells. All the Christmas markets that take place everywhere are the very sum of it. I think my favorite is the one at Follina. Every year the atmosphere here is magical. A little help is certainly given by the little town itself, wich still has some ancient buildings, full of history and of great artistic interest.

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In the garden behind the cloister

Follina is a small town situated in the very heart of the Treviso countryside (Veneto). Certainly its greatest attractions are the ancient abbey of Santa Maria and its famous cloister, built over the pre-existing Benedictine abbey by the Cistercian monks that settled in Follina in the middle of the XII century.

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The cloister is a wonderful expression of the Romanesque style. Located on the south side of the church, as the Cistercian architecture required, was completed by the monks in 1268 as shown by the engraving on stone still visible the cloister itself. It constitutes a balanced and harmonious piece of architecture but, at the same time, the succession of the different columns gives an elegant effect of movement, enhanced by the great variety of geometric and phytomorphic patterns.

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A monastery existed before the arrival of the Cistercians, who provided the basilica with the beautiful façade, which represents one of the best examples of Cistercian Gothic in Veneto. The Abbey is situated in a dominant position over the area and, as before, still represents a fundamental reference point not only to the residents but also to all tourists that every weekend come from far away to visit this place, so rich in history and so magical.

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The façade

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The Follina Christmas market is, as I said, my favorite one. In fact it is quite small and cozy and gives a unique atmosphere to the town. The various artisans provide, with their marvelous creations, a great choice of Christmas presents. This is the aspect that I appreciate more: every creation is of great quality and handmade.

Not less relevant is the presence of a lovely antiquities shop, placed in the main square of the town, always full of unique household items. During Christmas time it reaches the peak of its beauty, giving real entertainment to everyone with its windows full of bright sparkly and colorful things. The items they sell maybe, I have to say, tend to be a little more expensive, but just them being displayed is enough for the benefit of the sight.

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After such a long but beautiful day, wonderfully spent between a small Christmas gift and a warming hot coffee, it’s a pleasure to arrive home and fix the brand new decorations, before relaxing in a comfortable armchair, reading a book or simply enjoying the festive atmosphere.

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Handmade wool dress; red wool hat Koan by Coin; old H&M faux fur coat; old gloss bag and boots; Luigi from the Space pin by Lazzari; Neve makeup, Benecos “Just red” lipstick.

*Pics by Antonio and me*

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