Treviso, Italy, is often overlooked in favor of its grand neighbor, Venice, but is nonetheless beautiful and worth the pit stop if you are in the area. It is labeled as the origin of tiramisu, a soft coffee flavored cake, and Prosecco, Italy’s famous white wine and dates back to medieval times, of which you can still see the remains today.
We only came for a few hours in the evening, since we were spending our time near Padua, which is where I stayed with my lovely Italian family. We came with some of their friends and took a small tour around, occasionally stopping for food or coffee to warm up, as Italian winters are very cold!
Treviso has endured lots of hardships since its creation near 49 BCE, where Gauls, Romans, and other nationalities ruled the area. It has experienced numerous countries’ rule, but it has remained in Italian rule since 1866. In more modern history, Treviso was a target in World War Two, especially in the bombing of April 7, 1944. However, the restoration efforts taken have minimized the aftermath, even though some damage is still visible.
Treviso is walled in from the defenses of the sixteenth century and is surrounded with canals and cobbled streets (Pro tip: consider thick soled shoes so the cobble stones don’t make your feet sore). Here one can find ducks and other water loving birds, as well as the popular fish market used for selling produce, which sits upon its own island in the water. From my own opinion, these canals are less magical looking, but much more clean than in Venice. I would love to take more time exploring those alone.
Unfortunately, we didn’t tour all of the popular highlights, but here is a brief list of the main attractions:
- Piazza dei Signori- this little plaza is home to what used to be the seat of Treviso’s government and many buildings that date back to Renaissance periods. Here there are a few palazzos, or palaces, that served as locations for officials and the town hall. During the market times, this plaza can be filled with vendors and shoppers alike. The tourist office is also nearby, so stop by there if you have any concerns or are interested in tours.
- Cathedral and Museo Diocesano- Treviso is home to several churches and this one is also housing a museum. Treviso was granted a bishop during the roman era and they now have a Roman Catholic diocese. During the bombing, it lost the library, but the majority of it remains intact, where people can explore the history. Here, art and historical passages are also available for viewing.
- Palazzo dei Trecento- This palace was built in the thirteenth century and was decorated with frescoes, mural paintings that are placed upon wet plaster. These frescoes have lasted since medieval times, even through the turmoil in the war. In fact, this building was heavily hit by the April bombing and had to undergo massive renovation.
Wandering around around Treviso offers many beautiful views and subtle glimpses of history. From the canals to the markets to the architecture, there is so much detail to soak in. The frescoes alone are fabulous and can be seen in the arches of buildings around town. Out tour guide said they were done to protect the buildings as part of a seal, but either way, they have been intact for hundreds of years.
Also, I had the opportunity to try authentic gelato in Treviso. It was so good! I got chocolate and hazelnut and absolutely adored it. I was there in January, so not many gelato shops were open, but there were a few here and there. I would definitely recommend trying it.
Overall, I loved this tiny town and its homey feel. It was so full of history I had never experienced before and the art was amazing! I think it makes the perfect base to and from Venice or a simple day trip from any of the larger cities.