The Fortified town of Castelfranco Veneto
Castelfranco Veneto ItalyCastelfranco Veneto is a town and commune of Veneto in the province of Treviso. It is a pleasant 130km (85 mile) drive to the east of Lake Garda and can be reached by train from Treviso.
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The town originated as a castle, built in the late 12th century by the rulers of Treviso to defend the area in its strife against Padua. The older part of the town is surrounded by medieval walls and towers and the huge castle still remains and is worth a visit. The town name is derived from Castello which is castle and Franco meaning tax exempt. The city was given tax exempt status by the Doge after the plague to encourage people to move to new towns and set up businesses again. It was instigated by Francesco Carraro and his crest can be seen on the walls of the Torre del Orologio in Castelfranco Veneto and in the castle at nearby Asolo.
One of the main attractions of Castelfranco Veneto is the Casa de Giorgione which is believed to be the birthplace of the painter Giogione who lived and worked in the area from 1478-1511. Although little is known of his life, a museum in the town is devoted to his life and work. One of his most famous pieces is The Tempest which now hangs in the Accademia in Venice.
The Duomo or Cathedral in Castelfranco Veneto holds another of his finest works, the Madonna with St Francis and Liberalis from 1504, commonly called La Pala del Giogione. Checkout the painting and look for the towers of the old town in the background. Other artwork in the Cathedral includes seven fragments of frescoes by Paolo Veronese.
About 8km (5 miles) northeast of the town is the Villa Emo in the village of Fanzolo. It is a typical design by Palladio and is decorated inside with magnificent frescoes by Zelotti. The Villa Emo is open only at weekends.
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