Bassano del Grappa is the perfect low-key day trip in Veneto: beautiful, full of local culture and unique things to do and see!
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Bassano del Grappa is one of those great Italian cities that never quite makes it on an itinerary but it absolutely should. It’s beautiful in that quintessential medieval town way, big enough to offer plenty to do and see but small enough to explore in a few hours if you’re looking for a day trip! Also worth mentioning: it’s not far from Venice but miles from tourists.
Because Bassano del Grappa gets so few tourists, it’s a great spot to wander anonymously. I spent hours soaking in the architecture, city walls, and riverside views. The winding streets and slightly hilly terrain remind me a bit of Siena on a smaller scale.
The most iconic part of Bassano del Grappa is the Ponte degli Alpini, a massive red bridge crossing the Brenta river. Historically it wasn’t always red, but the current paint job makes it striking against the beautiful stonework of the city!
Market day is Thursday, and Bassano del Grappa does it big. The market stretches though all three piazzas, winds down the main roads, and overflows outside the old city wall. There was a ton of live music scattered throughout, making it the perfect way to see the city! If you want to experience the market, go in the morning: it typically wraps up by 1 pm.
The city is especially beautiful around Christmas – they decorate the entire Old Town! I’m already hoping to go back this year for an evening to see the lights.
While technically Bassano del Grappa is named after the mountain and not the drink, grappa is a big part of this little town. Grappa is an Italian liquor made out of grape seeds, stalks, and stems. One Italian described it to me as making a spirit out of all the grape parts that don’t end up in the wine, and it fits. It’s typically drunk as a digestivo (after dinner drink) or to warm you up after skiing. Sometimes Italians will put it in their post-meal espresso.
There are two major distilleries in Bassano del Grappa – Nardini and Poli. Nardini distillery is older and claims to be the first commercially produced grappa. Part of their property actually sits on the Ponte degli Alpini, which is pretty cool. They offer tours and tastings, and it’s definitely worth a shot! (I’m kidding, you sip it. But I couldn’t resist.)
Bassano del Grappa is also known for ceramics! You can poke your head into any of the local small shops for a feel on the local style. I love that many of these town specialties have a local flair. There’s also a Museum of Ceramics if you want to learn more!
I haven’t tried all these, but here are a few suggestions to get you started for food and drinks while in Bassano del Grappa. All came highly recommended to me!
At just about 90 minutes from Aviano Air Base and 1 hour 15 minutes from Venice, it’s an easy day trip that doesn’t involve much pre-booking!