Asolo

Asolo is a medieval village located in the Province of Treviso. It is known as the “city of a hundred horizons” due to its position on the back of the hill. For its beauty and its countless panoramas, it is a gem of the small historic centres of Veneto.

Thanks to its strategic position of security, it has been inhabited since prehistoric times and, in pre-Roman times, it was the seat of the Venetians. It was a Roman municipality connected to Padua by the Via Aurelia and a bishopric from the 6th century until the invasions of the Hungarians in the 10th century.

In the medieval age, it was constantly disputed by the Municipality of Treviso, by the Ezzelini, by the Carraresi and by the Scaligeri until in 1337 that passed under the protection of Venice.

The Serenissima rewarded the Queen of Cyprus Caterina Cornaro (1454-1510) for the loss of her kingdom by giving her Asolo and, in 1489, the Venetian Patrician, widow of James II, King of Cyprus, made her triumphal entry into the quiet town that from that moment it became the destination of illustrious personalities from Padua, Venice and the rest of Europe.

The Queen of Cyprus lived between the castle where the tower still stands today and the Villa “Barco della Regina”. Her life was dictated by the luxury and pomp of the court and, for this reason, writers and artists were attracted to her. It is thought that in the garden of that villa, Pietro Bembo, a Venetian writer and humanist, composed the famous conversation about love “the Asolani”.

Asolo lovely historic village between medieval paths

Other important personalities made their destination to borough including Robert Browing, English poet; Henry James, American writer and literary critic; Ernest Hemingway, American writer; Filippo De Pisis, Italian painter and writer and Eleonora Duse, Italian theatrical actress who lived there to be buried on her death.

In the centre of the medieval village, there is Piazza Maggiore surrounded by buildings in Gothic and Baroque style and frescoed decorations from the 15th century.

In the centre of the same square, there is a Renaissance fountain with the Lion of St. Mark’s above it. At the corner, Via Regina Cornaro, the Loggia del Capitano seat of the Civic Museum, so-called because it is decorated with large frescoed battle scenes and the coats of arms and tombstones of the captains and magistrates of the Venetian Republic.

The Rocca, of which its sturdy walls remain, at the time a defensive fortress, can be reached from the square along the slope that passes through the Porta del Colmarion where the Church and the Convent of Saints Peter and Paul stand nearby with the cloister structured on three sides and the fourth open on the slope of the hill.

The Duomo with its 15th-century porch (cusp portico) dedicated to the church of Santa Maria di Breda was rebuilt in the second half of the 18th century probably on the remains of a Roman bath. Inside there is a youthful masterpiece by Lorenzo Lotto, the Madonna Assunta with Saints Basilio and Antonio Abate from 1506. The Castle of the Queen, from medieval times, was later adapted to the official residence of the Cornaro.

Antique market

Today the audience hall, the solid Clock Tower and a severed tower called Reata remain. Inside, a theatre named after Eleonora Duse at the time, a wooden theatre that was sold, dismantled and rebuilt in the United States in 1930. The main streets of Asolo are flanked by suggestive arcades that lead to the workshops of artisans and traders.

Every second Sunday of the month (except July and August), there is the usual appointment with the very important antique market.