Majolica and Grappa in Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa ItalyMany visitors to Northern Italy think only of the fine wines which are produced in this region, but Grappa is a popular Italian after-dinner drink. This clear spirit is produced around the peaceful town of Bassano del Grappa which lies at the foot of Mount Grappa. It is produced from the lees, called graspa, which are left over from wine production. The process of making grappa is demonstrated in a most informative display at the towns Museo degli Alpini on Via Angarano.
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Bassano del Grappa makes a pleasant drive from Lake Garda, being just 139km (89miles) from Desenzano del Garda. Follow the A4 to Vicenza then the A31 northwards through Dueville and Marostica. One of the highlights of this charming town is the 16th century wooden bridge by Palladio. The graceful structure, known as the Ponte degli Alpini, was built in 1569. It was purposefully built of wood which allowed the structure to flex when hit by spring meltwaters and it is still standing to this day.
Apart from the Grappa spirit, Bassano del Grappa is also well known for its beautiful Majolica pottery. True Majolica pottery must be produced in a specific way. The soft porous clay pieces are fired at a low temperature to the pale yellow biscuit stage. It is then covered with an opaque enamel and once dried, the designs are hand-painted on before final firing. Most traditional Majolica pieces features flowers, butterflies, fruit and other natural sciences and it became one of Queen Victorias favourites.
The Old Cathedral is easy to identify with its rotunda shape. The Duomo Vecchio was built in the 11th century and is full of beautiful paintings of the Assumption and other works by Alessandro Bonvicino. In contrast, the Duomo Nuovo or new Cathedral was built between 1604 and 1825. It was begun by the great architect Palladio and completed by Giovanni Battista Lantana. More traditional in design, with a cupola, it again has a fine collection of frescoes inside.
Some of this colourful earthenware is on display at the Palazzo Sturm on Via Ferracina. It is still popular and is quite affordable, very collectable and beautifully crafted. Majolica is a great souvenir and will make a lovely decorative accent in any room.
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