Vicenza Tour – Strolling from Palladian Villas to Mount Berico Sanctuary

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As part of our Vicenza tour, we’d like to share our experience of strolling through the city, including a visit to Mount Berico and the Sanctuary. This site is an absolute must-see, not just for its stunning beauty but also for the wealth of history it holds.

For six centuries, the sanctuary of Mount Berico has been a center of Marian worship, a pilgrimage destination, and a powerful symbol of Vicenza’s history. Located just above Villa Valmarana “ai Nani,” the sanctuary can be reached on foot in about twenty minutes by following the scenic route of Via San Sebastiano, Viale d’Azelio, and the final part of Viale X Giugno. This is a perfect route for taking your time and enjoy the stunning view of the Vicenza plain, stretching from Riviera Berica to the Euganean Hills.

| Keep reading: Berici Hills by Bike |

As you reach the end of Viale d’Azeglio, you are welcomed by a long portico designed by Francesco Muttoni, which connects the city to the Sanctuary. The construction of the portico began in 1746 and was completed 40 years later. It spans about 700 meters and is divided into 15 sequences of 10 arches each. On entering, you are greeted by the succession of interspersed arches, which are truly a sight to behold. At the end of the portico looms the imposing shrine.

Legend has it that the first sacred building was erected on the spot where Our Lady had appeared to Vicenza Pasini in 1426. According to the legend, the Virgin requested the construction of the building as a pledge for the ending of the plague that was then afflicting the people of Vicenza. The original construction underwent repeated modifications over time, including an extension project signed by Andrea Palladio in 1576, which has since been replaced by the current one designed by Borella.

Inside the shrine, you can admire works of art such as Francesco Grimani’s La Gloria and La Pietà con San Giuseppe, San Giovanni e la Maddalena, a masterpiece by Bartolomeo Montagna.

If you are up for a longer walk, you can continue on the Berici ridge road to Ambellicopoli hill. Here, you will come across Villa Guiccioli, which houses the Museum of the Risorgimento and Resistance. The museum collects memories of events and personalities that are part of Italy’s history and played a significant role in the city’s historical events.

However, the highlight of our walk was climbing Mount Berico and taking in the breathtaking view of Vicenza. The mountain offers a picturesque vantage point over the city, where you can see a countryside full of trees stretching from the Prealps to the sea. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning view from the large Victory Square, built during the 20th century to commemorate the successful outcome of the First World War.

In conclusion, if you are in Vicenza, this walk is a must-do. The Sanctuary of Monte Berico and the mountain itself are awe-inspiring places that will leave you speechless.

Neri Pozza was a 20th-century writer from Vicenza who eloquently described the breathtaking view from the city’s balcony. You will find yourself connecting with his words when you gaze towards the horizon of Vicenza. “From the balcony, one can see Vicenza within its ancient walls. The historic center is detached from the tanneries of modern homes that surround it, and the city reveals its architectural structure and street layout to the observer who has explored it for a few days. Starting with the cardo and decumanus, the other streets that follow the curves of the Retrone and Bacchiglione rivers are drawn with stunning freedom of perspective. The crisscrossing diagonals of the roofs, with their domes and bell towers, and the curved cuts of the streets blocked by sudden diaphragms, such as the sides of churches or palaces, all contribute to the magnificent view. The great green hull of the Basilica, nestled in the lawns of the Querini garden, floats in the midst of this panoramic view. Only from this particular angle can one truly appreciate the vastness of the ancient park that is interwoven into the city.

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