Treviso, a DiscoveryTourrequires a short introduction to the history of this fascinating town.
In the old days the earliest populations of Treviso settled down in a protected area between the Botteniga and Sile rivers which were used for thetransportation of goods from the Venetian Lagoon.
With the rise of Venice as a trade center, Treviso and its province gained in importance, due to the proximity to the hills covered with woods and the abundance of fresh waterfrom spring rivers.
In 1339 the Venetian government decided to expand its influence to the north-eastern part of the Veneto and Treviso was soon conquered, in exchange of supplies and military protectionwhich lasted continuously until the fall of Venice in 1797.
However, the relationships with Venice were suspended for a few decades, and resumed in 1851 when the railway connected the Lagoon with the mainland, still used today by thousands of commuters, college students, working people and tourists who comfortably reach the town by train.
So if you plan to discover Treviso, remember that you can meet your guide at the Train Station or at the hotel if you are staying there.
The historical center is small but pleasant with highlights, easy to explore, colorful and attractive, pedestrians are welcome because the circulation of cars is subject to strict rules.
In a short time, your guide will walk you to an imposing Medieval Age church,San Nicolò, started in the 13th century and is still run by the Dominican Order.
Some distinguished and ordinary members, 40 in total, appear in the frieze of the Chapter Hall of the monastery, painted by Tomaso da Modena in 1352.
Each of them is shown in diverse moments of their daily life, while looking at illuminated codes, rising their arms to the Lord, or absorbed in their readings using glass spectacles, the earliest depiction of eyeglasses in a painted work of art.
One of them was identified by scholars as the Cardinal Hugo of Provence who died in 1260, long before the time of the portrait, which was probably referred to his importance in the history of the religious Order.
From the cloister you will enter the church with its imposing 12 tall giant columns, some of them are decorated with frescoes at eye-level, like the large portrait of Saint Jerome, San Romualdo -founder of the Camaldolese Order- , while the ones of Saint Agnese and Saint John the Baptist are ascribed to the masterly hand of Tomaso da Modena.
We continue our Treviso, a Discovery Tour with a stroll around the amazing maze-like street network, and enjoy the walkways with arcades, lined with fine stores, traditional window shops, and restored brick buildings with towers, mostly concentrated at the Piazza dei Signori, once the political and civilian centre.
Still today the City Hall is hosted in the Palazzo dei Trecento, a 13th century building where rulers used to meet overtime, with its tall and narrow tower overwhelming the square, surrounded by elegant coffee houses and modern wine bars.
Piazza dei Signori is an iconic place for the locals, due to its location along the main street Calmaggiore, who treat themselves with a glass of Prosecco wine, the most successful sparkling wine in Italy at the moment. We suggest you to do the same, and take a break with your guide!
Calmaggiorederives from the Latin term “Callis major”, named by the Romans in the 40’s BC when the town was part of the Empire.
In 1960’s the square was the favorite spot for the shooting of some movies, like “Signori e Signore” in 1963, “Ash Wednesday” 1973 with Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda, or the recent “Leoni” in 2015.
Not far from there is the 13th century arcaded“Loggia dei Cavalieri”, which will take our Treviso Discovery tour back in time…. once it was the meeting point of the formally attired members of the aristocracy for both civic or political issues, and unique games especially meant for the nobility.
You will admire the remnants of the old frescoes and the colorful family crests left on the upper side of the four walls.
As we walk to the end of Calmaggiore, a tall sanctuary with a Greek style porch will appear on your left side, the so-called Duomo which was originally founded in the 12th century and totally renovated 500 years later, according to the Neoclassical décor.
The interior is the highlight of our tour in Treviso. It preserves masterpieces by the Venetian Renaissance masters, above all Titian who was commissioned the “Annunciation of the Virgin Mary” by Broccardo Malchiostro, the secretary of the Bishop and Humanist Bernardo De’ Rossi.
The canvas was meant for his private chapel, designed by sculptors Antonio and Tullio Lombardo in 1519, and entirely decorated with frescoes by Antonio De’ Sacchis called “Il Pordenone” one year later.
At that time, he was considered by Titian
as a competitor, despite of his high-profile position in Venice.
Both painters left a very representative example of their superb styles, Pordenone was clearly affected by the powerful expressiveness of Michelangelo’s layout, after his recent trip to Rome. On the contrary Titian’s beautiful handling of colorsis expressed by Virgin Mary in the foreground, wrapped in a shimmering red dress enlivened by the cobalt blue robe, while Broccardo Malchiostro is almost peeping out of the background!
In addition to the chapel you will be shown more remarkable artworks by the painter Paris Bordone, and some marble pieces by Alessandro Vittoria, Lorenzo Bregno and Pietro Lombardo.
Depending on your interests and the available time, the Museo di Santa Caterina is worth visiting, housed in the 14th century homonymous church which preserves the Tomaso da Modena’s cycle of frescoes representing the life of the martyr Saint Ursula, who is shown with a small model of the church in her hand.
Moreover, don’t skip the Lorenzo Lotto’s ” Portrait of a Dominican” and the paintings by Francesco Guardi, Rosalba Carriera and Sebastiano Ricci, who worked in Venice in the 18th century.
If you enjoyed our Treviso Discovery tour you might be also interested in visiting Verona, Vicenza & Padua with us!
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