Treviso, way off the beaten path….


Treviso is a city in Veneto, northern Italy. It has 82,854 inhabitants, some 3,000 live within the Venetian walls (le Mura) or in the historical and monumental center.

Treviso is perhaps best known for being the original production area of Prosecco wine. But this pretty town has a lot to offer, and it is definitely off the beating path, since Venice, Padua, and Verona take the most of the visitors and tourists away.

Treviso is crossed by a major river, the Site, and three minor streams. They provide a unique charm to the city as most houses are build right on the river banks. The many waterways were exploited with several waterwheels which mainly powered mills for milling grain produced locally. The waterways were all navigable and “barconi” (big boats) would arrive from Venice at the Port of Treviso, pay duty and offload their merchandise and passengers along Riviera Santa Margherita. Fishermen were able to bring fresh catch every day to the Treviso fish market, which is held still today on an island connected to the rest of the city by two small bridges at either end.

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The city has plenty of streets with “porticos”—so that one doesn’t really need an umbrella to go about town—small piazzas, and lovely corners. Treviso also underwent a lot of restoration, therefore many old building are very nicely cared for. It is noticeable that the city enjoys a certain amount of prosperity. Indeed the city is home to the headquarters of clothing retailer Benetton, Sisley, Stefanel, Geox, Diadora and Lotto Sport Italia, and appliance maker De’Longhi.

In the past Treviso went through a demographic and economic decline similar to the rest of Italy after the fall of the Western Empire. But the people from the city played a role in the founding of Venice.

After a Scaliger domination in 1329–1339, the city gave itself to the Republic of Venice, becoming the first notable mainland possession of the Serenissima (Venice).

Venetian rule brought innumerable benefits, however, Treviso necessarily became involved in the wars of Venice. From 1381–1384, the city was captured and ruled by the duke of Austria, and then by the Carraresi until 1388. Having returned to Venice, the city was fortified and given a massive line of walls and ramparts, still existing.

At the end of the WWII, the city suffered an Allied bombing on 7 April 1944 (Good Friday). A large part of the medieval structures of the city center were destroyed—including part of the Palazzo dei Trecento, later rebuilt—causing the death of about 1,000 people.

The downtown is mostly all closed to traffic, therefore strolling the city center is very pleasant and calm. The nightlife is frisky and stimulating. There are many restaurants, trattorias, and osterias where to enjoy a prosecco as aperitif. Some of which are very distinctive with a nostalgic feeling.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

6 thoughts on “Treviso, way off the beaten path….

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