Maybe I’m biased, since we now live in Treviso most of the time, but I believe Treviso is one of these best cities in Italy. You won’t find it listed on the hot lists of most tourist itineraries. However, if you carve out time in your schedule to come to Treviso, or to make it your base of operations while in Veneto, you won’t be disappointed. I quickly became enamored with Venice’s northern cousin. This post is to tempt you to do the same!
Prosecco. You’re in the bullseye of its production (and mastery).
You’ve hit the jackpot if you are a fan of this sparkling Italian wine. Yes, in Treviso, you’ll find yourself smack dab in the thick of Prosecco production. I’m blown away by the prolific displays of this wine at the local markets, and finding a tasty prosecco for under 5 euro a bottle is pretty easy. And, this wine is abundantly available on-tap in most restaurants. People in the Veneto are known for their love of drink (and ability to hold it) and drinking prosecco, whether alone, or as part of a spritz, seems encoded in the genes of the locals.
My adoration of prosecco is reason alone to be in love with Treviso. Pair it up with cicchetti and the love affair deepens.
Many people refer to cicchetti as the Italian version of tapas, or small bites, which are served in “bàcari”, cicchetti bars. These places abound, making it easy to have a quick lunch or dinner. Mainly this tradition is fueled by a love of communing and socializing, and starting mid-day it isn’t unusual to see people with drinks and small plates in hand, spilling outside these establishments into the alleyways.
An elegant, historic city, with lovely canals and surrounded by a river.
Treviso is an ancient city, first granted a town charter by the Romans in 49 BC and coming under Venetian rule in 1339. This is a walled city, and the Sile and Cagnan rivers come together here to encircle the town. This ring of water is home to a prolific display of waterfowl. Once inside the historic city wall, Treviso is full of little canals and occasional water wheels. Think Venice, on a smaller scale, without the polluted waters and without having to trudge through the streets in knee-high boots during high water. Treviso is not subject to the tidal whims which plague Venice.
Elegant, historical architecture reflects that of Venice, and the streets are some of the cleanest I’ve seen in Italy. The residents clearly take pride in their little city. With over 80,000 inhabitants in the municipality, Treviso, for me, is the perfect sized city.
One of the friendliest cities in Italy.
I can attest to this from personal experience. People are incredibly nice, and desirous of being helpful. As a newcomer, I really appreciate this. Learning the ropes of living here and consequently this has been easy. If you stop and ask directions in Treviso, don’t be surprised if the person insists on walking a ways with you to ensure you find your destination.
Also, this city is “ticked and tied”. City services and offices are incredibly well run. At the comune office, there is a line expressly for women who are incinta, or pregnant. This service window is kept free at all time in case a pregnant woman shows up. Now that’s customer service.
The birthplace of tiramisu.
Le Beccherie is widely recognized as being the restaurant that birthed this wonderfully decadent dessert. Though other regions and places may vie for ownership of tiramisu, Le Beccherie has the first published recipe on record.
Tiramisu is reason alone to head to Le Beccherie, but the restaurant’s other offerings and ambience also are well worth your attention. At the very least, hit this place for happy hour, and you’ll rub elbows with the well-heeled “happening” crowd from Treviso.
How can you come to Treviso, have a glass of prosecco, a few cicchetti, and a tiramisu and not find yourself in paradise!
The tourists are elsewhere.
I’m certainly not agoraphobic, but I’m not a fan of big crowds in which I can easily be swept along, and in which doing my thing, or making my escape aren’t easy options. In Treviso you’ll find a city largely devoid of tourists. By writing this post I may be helping to endanger this aspect of Treviso, but I’m confident the majority of tourists will continue to make a bee-line for other hot spots, particularly Venice. Don’t get me wrong, Venice is my favorite city in Italy, but the love affair comes with a price, and that price in managing my patience and strategies to avoid tourists obscuring my experience of the city.
Many people come to Venice and are overwhelmed by the people and the activity – often to the point of it being off-putting. Sadly, many visitors leave, vowing never to return.
I offer the strategy of staying in Treviso, where you can take a much-needed break and breather from the heavy tourist vibe in Venice.
Oh, one more thing, You won’t find the tourist prices that dominant Venice and gouge tourists much of the high season!
Venice is just a short trip away.
Hallelujah! Train service from Treviso to Venice is just 20 to 40 mins away, landing you at the Santa Lucia station in Venice, and avoiding any driving and costly parking fees. Trains run about twice an hour, so your options are ample. For me, this is the best of all worlds. Easily I can make a full day in Venice, and yet return to the peace and tranquility of Treviso. Accommodations also are much more affordable in Treviso.
Shopping and fashion are plentiful.
Treviso is ripe with upscale fashion stores. After all, Treviso has a reputation to uphold, as the home base for Benetton. It’s majestic flagship store sits just off the Piazza di Signori. Diesel headquarters, in Breganze, is about 30 mins west.
The shops in Treviso include almost all luxury brands, and you easily can make a dent in your wallet or purse in just one outing. Make a day of it, interspersing your purchases with stops for a spritz and cicchetti. You need the fuel to keep you going through the prolific retail offerings.
Also, if you’re looking for fashion on the cheap, Treviso hosts huge markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Lastly, you can make a day of just observing the fashion on parade in Treviso. People, young and old, seem to take how they’re put together quite seriously.
A city energized by bicycles.
Bikes seem to be more plentiful that cars in Treviso, and for good reason. Approaching the ancient walls and city center can be challenging when it comes to parking. For us, we purchased used cruiser bikes, with baskets for toting our purchases back home, just 10 mins of an easy ride from the entrance through the city wall.
I’m amazed at the sea of bikes to be seen here, and I am planning a photo outing with the sole purpose in capturing the variety of people and fashions traveling via bike. Inclement weather doesn’t seem to deter people, and I’ve readily witnessed women in full length fur coats, riding and steering their bikes while simultaneously holding an umbrella. Business suits and skimpy little lace dresses are at home on the bikes here.
I’m a big supporter of minimizing the dependence on fossil fuels, and biking, as a way of daily commuting, is a great solution.
Ristorante Abitue celebrates the city’s love affair with bicycles. Numerous styles and colors of bikes are suspended from the ceiling, and this spot is one of our favorite hangouts for drinks and cicchetti. Stay for dinner and linger into the wee hours of the morning and you’ll make friends with a crowd of friendly locals.
A place to just BE.
A test of a city, in my estimation, is the sum of all parts. And for me, the above assets of Treviso add up to an experience of an Italian city in which you are engaged in its offerings, while also feeling like you can just relish slowing down and “being”. In this world of a barrage of stimuli, all vying for our attention, finding a place that lets your soul breathe is a godsend. Treviso delivers handsomely in this regard. My exploration of Treviso is still in the infant stages, and I’ve yet to begin exploring all the surrounding towns and regions have to offer. The twice-yearly “cantina aperto” throughout Italy, offers tours and tastings of wineries that may not otherwise be open to the public. I will endeavor to do this on its second installment, since the first, May 28-29, won’t be achievable due to prior commitments. This will give me time to research and plan to hit the best wineries for prosecco and to begin perfecting my knowledge.
So, that’s my short list of Treviso’s most alluring offerings. I hope I have whetted your appetites to include Treviso in your travel plans, should you be in the Veneto.