The Legacy of the Serenissima
Trieste - Gorizia - Udine - the Dolomites - Bolzano - Trento - Lake Garda - Adria - Chioggia
From Trieste to the Dolomites, we shall drive through small and large towns and cities stepped in the art and history of Venice, at the crossroads of Eastern Mediterranean and European culture and trade for centuries.

Trieste - Miramare Castle

• Trieste
After bidding a farewell to Venice, we will head for Trieste, with short detours to visit the picturesque coastal resort of Caorle (cylindrical bell-tower on the Romanesque cathedral), Portogruaro, and Aquileia, with its Roman and Mediaeval remains: the sturdy Romanesque Basilica, with its magnificent mosaic flooring, the crypt with the excavations of two Early Christian basilicas and a Roman villa, the Roman forum and burial grounds, and the Archaeological Museum. A few kilometres further on is the beautiful Grado, famed for its spa waters which exploit the therapeutic properties of the sea water. Visit the churches of S. Maria delle Grazie and S. Eufemia (paleo-Christian), and the Baptistery, and see the picturesque fishermen-houses. Passing through Duino, Sistiana and Miramare (Habsburg Castle in a magnificent grounds), we reach Trieste - the Austro-Hungarian Empire's port. The streets of the old city meander down to the foot of San Giusto hill. We will visit the Roman Theatre, the 16th century Castle and museum, the remains of a Roman basilica, the Cathedral of San Giusto made up of two churches, and Trieste's chief monument and the symbol of the city, the "Museo di Storia ed Arte" (Archeological exhibits and a collection of coins, drawings, including over 200 by Tiepolo alone, and paintings), the Museo Civico Revoltella, and the Aquarium (Civico Acquario Marino). Towards the port, is the 17th c. Church of S. Maria Maggiore, and the Romanesque Church of S. Silvestro.

Gorizia - Castle
22 kms miles beyond Trieste is Gorizia with its 12th c. Castle that the Venetians enlarged in 1508. The district known as "Borgo Castello" is built of a typical Venetian houses. If we have time we can see the Museum of History and Art, and the Gothic Church of S. Spirito. We are now on the way of the Julian Alps, and our first stop is Cividale del Friuli, in the Alpine foothills where the Adriatic civilization acquired many Lombard features as it moved inland. Noteworthy are the Cathedral , the Archaeological Museum and the "Tempietto", a mediaeval church richly decorated with sculptures and frescoes.

Udine - Piazza della Libertà

Udine and Belluno   
16 kms further is Udine, the historical heart of the Friuli. This graceful city on which Venice has left its mark, is dominated by the 16th c. Castle built on the older mediaeval fortress, which now houses the municipal Museum and the Ancient and Modern Art Gallery. Nearby is the Lombard Church of S. Maria di Castello, and the fine Piazza della Libertà with its porticoes of S. Giovanni and the 15th c. Venetian Gothic Town Hall, known as the "Loggia del Lionello". In the Cathedral are works by Tiepolo, who also frescoed the Archbishop's Palace. Let us try to find time to visit the 18th c. Villa Manin of Passariano (27 kms) before heading for Pordenone (57 kms from Udine) , with its late Gothic Cathedral and Sacile, where we will join the "Strada d'Alemagna" (the German road) at Vittorio Veneto to visit Belluno, a pre-Roman and mediaeval town that has managed to preserve the imprint of Venice on its alpine character. Let's stop in the nice Piazza del Mercato with its Renaissance buildings, the Cathedral with Juvara's bell-tower, the Palazzo dei Rettori and the Church of S. Stefano. Continuing up the Piave Valley we reach Pieve di Cadore, where we can visit Titian's birthplace, and see his Madonna and Saints in the parish church, and the Palazzo della Comunità Cadorina with its 50 meters high tower.

The Dolomites

The Dolomites
The road takes us on through the majestic Dolomites range to Cortina d'Ampezzo, the international winter sports resort with every facility and amenity for the visitor who wishes to ski, or climb, and an ideal base for a great many excursions into the surroundings mountains: to Lake Misurina, Lake Bianco, or the summit of Mount Cristallo and the Tofane. The road from Cortina winds across the Dolomites passes, through some of the most enchanting landscapes and along the Gardena Valley, to Bolzano.

Bolzano - Gothic Cathedral
Bolzano is the capital city of South Tyrol, the German speaking region in the northern part of Italy. The city centre is not big and so it can be discovered on foot. (Gothic Cathedral, municipal museum and the 13th c. Castel Roncolo, just outside the city, commanding a magnificent view over the Dolomites - 14-15th c. frescoes of mediaeval courtly life). Other cultural highlights of Bozen: the iceman 'Ötzi' and the MMM (Messner Mountain Museum project). The MMM museum project consists of six museums based at six different locations: Firmian, Juval, Dolomites, Ortles, Ripa and Corones built on the top of the Kronplatz mountain (Plan de Corones in Italian) at an altitude of 2,275 meters above sea level. Opened in July, 2015, the museum, is designed by renowned British architect Zaha Hadid.

Trento - Cathedral of Saint Vigilius
60 kms on is Trento, an alpine town built on the site of the ancient Roman settlement which has merged the features of Venetians, Austrian and Lombard art. In Trento’s main street (Via Belenzani) are the 16th century city hall and Palazzo Geremia with its frescoed façade. We must visit the 13th century Palazzo Pretorio, the Romanesque-Gotic Cathedral, the Diocesan Museum and the “Museo Nazionale Trentino” in Buonconsiglio Castle where the Middle Ages and the Renaissance have left their imprint, and where we can see the anonymous 15th century frescoes of the months.

The Lake Garda
Lake Garda
A relax short drive through the mountains and we are at the popular health resort of Riva del Garda on the northermost tip of Lake Garda. Along the western shore, driving through tunnels and skirting the precipices that form part of the breathtaking beauty of this part of the world, are Limone, Bogliaco, Toscolano and Gardone (a major resort famous for the villa-museum of Gabriele D’Annunzio, il Vittoriale). Further on is Salò, with its ancient houses, typical streets and late Gothic cathedral with its richly adorned Renaissance doorway. Then come Desenzano, Sirmione, Peschiera, Verona and Vicenza. From Vicenza, the road through the Monti Berici takes us to Montagnana, whose 13th century walls are a marvel of Italian Military architecture. The Gothic renaissance cathedral is full of art treasures, including Veronese’s “Transfiguration”. 6 Kms on is Este with Museo Nazionale Atestino which has a fine collection of the Venetian exhibits from prehistoric times onwards; there is also a imposing castle, villas, buildings from various ages, and Tiepolo's masterpiece "St Tecla freeing the town from the plague". Monselice is quite near, with its Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, famous castle with medieval and renaissance art and furniture, and Villa Nani-Mogenigo. Padua and Rovigo are not far away.

• Adria and Chioggia
21 kms after Rovigo is Adria, the ancient Graeco-Roman city which gave its name to the Adriatic Sea; the Museo Archeologico contains many fascinating exhibits. Driving along the Bianco Canal, through the poetic and relaxing Po Delta, we reach the ancient hamlets of Loreo, Mesola and Donzella Island standing on the plain lands formed by the silt carried to the sea across the centuries by the River Po and its branches. This enchanting area can only be compared with Camargue in the South of France or the mouth of the Danube for beauty. North of Loreo is Chioggia, a fishing town and coastal resort; its bridges, canals, narrow streets and buildings make it a Venice in miniature.
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