Subject: Re: Asolo, Italy and Palladio
Hi Georgia,

I don't know who to believe, but there is one story that Queen Caterina Cornaro was exiled here by the Venetians between 1489 and 1509, and that due to the idelic nature of the place, the word asolare was coined to mean to amuse oneself at random and later Robert Browning named his last volume of poetry Asolando after visiting the town.

We loved it....everyone does.

As to palladian mansions....and civic buildings, you have to start with Vicenza. Apart from it being the site of Villa Rotunda, it has a number of buildings he designed, including the Teatro Olimpico. Don't be fooled by the exterior, it is the interior that is pure Palladio. Check out their programme, there may be a concert on. We attended a performance in June 2000 that we will never forget. It is europes oldest theatre, still in use.

Then there is a drive down the Brenta Canal from Padua. Numerous villas front the canal. We drove the southern bank (there are plenty of bridges to cross back over) for the best view of a number of Palladio villas.

I know the tourist office produces an english language guide to all the Palladio villas, so it could be worth trying to find it on the net. Make sure you double check the opening days and times of any you want to visit. Our Lonely Planet and Eyewitness guides had the days wrong for a number of them.

While you're in the neighbouhood, you shouldn't miss the Palladio designed bridge at Bessano del Grappa (just down the road from Asolo).

I feel a need to return to the Veneto coming on!!!!!!!!! Cheers, Gavin