Our school is in Thiene (Vicenza, Italy), a small but lively town in the North-eastern part of Italy. We are only one-hour drive from Venice and Verona, twenty-minute drive from Vicenza, Marostica and Bassano and a two-hour train ride to Milan. We also have lovely hills and mountains close by, where trekking and rock-climbing are very popular sports.
We don’t really need to point out what or why you should visit Venice or Verona, but we would like to tell you a bit more about the area where most of us live and work.
Thiene is at the crossroads of the northern Vicenza area in the Veneto Region of Italy. Of ancient Roman origin, it was acquired by the Visconti of Padua in the Middle Ages. Later it was a free commune, and subsequently part of the Republic of Venice. The people who live here, called thienesi, love it for its quiet atmosphere and lively cultural life.
The main sights in Thiene include Colleoni Castle, built in the 15th century according to late Venetian-Gothic style and the San Vincenzo Church – Romanesque Gothic church dating to 1333 with frescoes depicting the life of St Vincent date to 15th century. There are also other beautiful churches and villas in the area, including Oratory of the Natività della Vergine , Villa Godi Malinverni and Villa Capra Bassani.
Vicenza is a thriving and cosmopolitan city, with a rich history and culture, and many museums, art galleries, piazzas, villas, churches and elegant Renaissance palazzi. With the Palladian Villas of the Veneto in the surrounding area, and his renowned Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theater), the “city of Palladio” has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
Vicenza is home to twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio as well as many other sights including churches, towers and the lovely historical city centre. Whether you are an architecture lover or a shopaholic, you can find something to do in Vicenza. And when you are tired, you can rest in one of the many bars and cafés and enjoy a spriz aperol.
A small but delightful little town, Marostica is famous all over the world for the human chess game it carries out every 2 years (in the even-numbered years), with living chess pieces, in the city public square. But even if you’re not a chess lover, you can still enjoy its medieval piazza and the short trek along its medieval city wall.
The city is also famous for hosting the world-renowned denim clothing company Diesel‘s headquarters — where you can buy Diesel jeans and products at very convenient prices!
Bassano del Grappa
Another astonishing little medieval town, Bassano won’t fail to enchant you with its Ponte degli Alpini (Alpini Bridge). It’s the symbol of the town and it is a covered wooden pontoon bridge, which was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569. The bridge was destroyed many times, the last time during World War II. The Alpine soldiers, or Alpini have always revered the wooden bridge and Bassano del Grappa. After the destruction of the bridge, they took up a private collection and had the bridge completely rebuilt. Again, if you are not much of an architecture geek, you can still enjoy the view while you sip your mezzo e mezzo at the Nardini Distillery Pub, located right on the bridge.
Altopiano di Asiago
If you are a cheese lover, Asiago is where you want to be. At the foothills of the Alps, this plateau is the birthplace of Asiago cheese — of which you can buy at least 4-5 varieties in the area.
Apart frmo food, the plateau is also famous for its rich history and culture. Until the middle of the nineteenth century many of the people of Asiago spoke Cimbrian, an ancient German dialect, and had traditions and customs very different to thos eof the neighbouring people living in the plan. Today many of these traditions are being restored and preserved by the new generations, and can be seen while visiting the town and its surrounding mountains.
Asiago has also been theatre of WWI battles between Italians and Austro-Hungarians that have left a permanent mark on the land and its population. Many authors have written about it, and the hostory of the place is still strongly felt today by the people of Asiago and its neighbouring towns.