Andrea Palladio welcomes visitors to the heart of Vicenza. Through the “contrà” - the streets in the Old Town, lined with elegant buildings - an amazing journey begins toward the peaceful countryside of the Berici
Hills, to explore the alluring landscape with its rich rural architecture and enchanting natural environment.
Once you leave the centre, take the Riviera Berica cycle path, which starts out
near the Arco delle Scalette, the arch that stands along what was once the Vicenza-Noventa Vicentina railway line; after a brief stretch, at the point where the path runs alongside the Bacchiglione River, on the top of a hill you will spot Villa Capra Valmarana “la Rotonda”, one of Palladio’s masterworks.
It is well worth coming off the path for a visit to the monument and a foray into the “Valletta del Silenzio”, a country paradise on the slopes of Mount Berico. Once back on the path, cycle to Longara, from where a number of side roads lead in the direction of Lake Fimon. The route runs through country neighbourhoods, offering an attractive landscape with soft contours and colours that change with the seasons on the way to the lake.
The gentle contours of the modest Berici Hills open out all around the lake.
Returning onto the cycle path, you pedal through the countryside between the Berici Hills (Colli Berici) and Euganei Hills (Colli Euganei). At Longare the road runs alongside the Bisatto canal, a waterway constructed in Medieval times and used by trading boats until the last century. The banks of this historic canal feature the typical terraced houses that make up the hamlets of the Berica Riviera.
The most striking landscape feature along the cycle path, though, is the Veneto Villa. These glorious buildings offer a blend of fine architecture, beautifully kept gardens and rows of mulberry trees. Particularly noteworthy are the Da Schio villa in Longare, the Barbarigo villa (the town hall of Noventa Vicentina) and the Villa Pojana by the architect Andrea Palladio (a UNESCO heritage site) in the nearby village of Pojana Maggiore.
Route: paved bike paths and secondary roads paved in most sections. One uphill section that can be detoured by taking the alternate route on level ground.