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Top 5 Exciting Things to Do in Bassano del Grappa

One of the things to do in Bassano del Grappa is having this amazing view of Old bridge

Exploring the top things to do in Bassano del Grappa reveals a unique experience distinct from the well-trodden tourist paths of nearby Venice. Nestled at the base of the Dolomites in Northeastern Veneto, Italy, Bassano del Grappa is not just the birthplace of the famous Italian liqueur grappa but also a hub for skilled ceramic artists. This picturesque town, set along the Brenta River and at the foot of the Venetian Alps, offers a storybook setting waiting to be discovered.

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Bassano del Grappa is a large town in the Province of Vicenza, Italy, situated about 22 miles north west of the city of Venice

Top 5 things to do in Bassano del Grappa for a Day

Drink in the culture with a grappa tour

One of the top things to do in Bassano del Grappa is to indulge in a grappa tasting tour. Grappa, often referred to as Italy’s “moonshine,” a distilled aperitif that comes from grape pomace, a blend of grape seeds, stalks, and stems leftover from the wine-making process. Grappa production began in the region in the late 1800s with two families, the Polis, and the Nardinis, opening distilleries. The alcoholic drink is emblematic of Italy’s circular economy, a zero-waste ethos in its farming, cultivation, and livestock practices. 

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Poli Distillerie Museum and Grappa store and tasting room, Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

To learn more, I visited the Poli Distillerie Museo del Grappa (The Poli Grappa Museum),  which chronicles the history of grappa distillation. The museum, in the historic town center of Bassano del Grappa, has a collection of more than 1500 small grappa bottles from 323 different distilleries.

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Collection of Grappa bottles on display at the Poli Distillerie Grappa Museum

GioBatta Poli founded the Poli Distillery in the late 1800s, starting with a still that he built on a horse-drawn cart.  GioBatta would sell his grappa to local farmers as he traveled around the region.  He opened the Poli Distillery in 1898 in Schiavon, near Bassano del Grappa in the heart of Veneto. For four generations, the Poli family has produced grappa, evolving it into an extensive line of flavors. Today, the distillery’s antique copper still stands at the entrance and is one of only a few remaining.

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Poli Distillerie Grappa Museum and store in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

The industrious Italians distilled grappa from a variety of ingredients, including fruits and plants, producing grappa liqueurs in a wide variety of flavors or infusions such, as licorice, honey, or blueberries.  In Northern Italy, grappa distilled from celery, which is widely grown in the region, is a popular aperitif.  You can experience the different grappa essences in the museum’s fragrance room, which dispenses the smells of different grappa flavors.

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Karen LeBlanc, aka, The Design Tourist, sniffing the aromas of various grappa flavors at the Poli Distillerie Grappa Museum in Bassano del Grappa, Italy

The museum chronicles the history of grappa production, originating as an ancient alchemy craft by the Egyptians, inventors of the first rudimentary distillation instruments called stills. The Arabs, who conquered Egypt in 641 BC, improved the art and craft of distillation.

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Exhibits that chronicle grappa production at Poli Distillerie Grappa Museum and store in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

The classification of Grappa refers to its geographic provenance from the Veneto, Piemonte, Lombardy, Trentino, Alto Adige, Friuli, and Barolo regions, which were granted the right to use a geographical appellation with the name Grappa.

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One of many grappa flavors produced by the Poli Distillerie on sale at the Grappa Museum and store in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Grappa comes in four different categories: young (Giovane), which smells of fresh grape pomace; aromatic (Aromatica) originating from fruited aromatic grape varieties including Moscato or Tramine;  or aged grappa known as Vecchia or Invecchiata, Stravecchia or Riserva that is seasoned in oak casks for at least 12 months. Stravecchia is very old and Riserva grappa ages for at least one and a half years.

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Karen leBlanc, aka, The Design Tourist, sampling egg flavored grappa at Poli Distillerie Grappa Museum and store in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

The museum has a tasting room, serving up grappa samples in the ideal conditions—a tulip-shaped glass and at temperatures of  50 to 55 degrees for young grappa and 60 to 65 degrees for aged grappa. 

The Nardini family also produces grappa in Bassano del Grappa, competitors of the Poli family. You can tour the Nardini Distillery, which has been producing grappa since 1779. 

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Nardini Distillery also produces grappa in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Walk along the Medieval Wall

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The Medieval Wall in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

A walk along the Medieval Wall is a must-do activity in Bassano del Grappa for breathtaking views. Bassano del Grappa is surrounded by mountains and overlooks the banks of the Brenta River. For a sweeping birdseye view, walk along the city’s Medieval Wall, which dates back to 1461 and admire the local landmarks.

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Bassano del Grappa, in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, on the Brenta River at the foot of Monte Grappa.

Along the walk, you can see the Clock Tower and the Iron Bridge.

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The Clock Tower, a local landmark in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Shop the local market

Exploring the local market is among the essential things to do in Bassano del Grappa. The historic town center hosts a daily market of local vendors selling everything from fresh produce and flowers to handmade crafts and clothing. This is an ideal spot for souvenir shopping, including ceramic products authentic to the region.  Bassano del Grappa is home to generations of Veneto ceramics artisans. To learn about the history and technique of their craft, I suggest a visit to Museo della Ceramica (Museum of Ceramics).

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Local market in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Take photos on the Old Bridge (the Ponte Vecchio)

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The Old Bridge in Bassano del Grappa cross the Brenta River.

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), also known as the Bridge of Alpine Troops in honor of those who, in 1948 helped repair the bridge after it was damaged during World War II. The covered pedestrian bridge, built in 1569, is the town landmark, linking the two banks over the Brenta River.

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Bassano del Grappa, in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, on the Brenta River at the foot of Monte Grappa.

Walk along the covered bridge, pausing to take advantage of  Instagram-worthy photo ops and stop in at the Museo degli Alpini, dedicated to the Italian Alpine Corps.

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Karen LeBlanc, aka The Design Tourist, posing for a picture on the Old Bridge in Bassano del Grappa, which is full of picturesque backdrops for Instagram-worthy pics.

Stop at the town’s original Distilleria Nardini, which claims to be the oldest distillery in Italy, in operation since 1779. The bar resides in an old home on the bridge that serves up a Nardini Spritz made of the distillery’s own bitter and prosecco topped with a slice of orange.

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While visiting the Bassano del Grappa Bridge, stop in at the Nardini Distillery Bar to drink an Aperol Spritz or a shot of grappa.

Drink an Aperol Spritz at an outdoor cafe

The Aperol Spritz is a popular aperitif drink in northern Italy, made with Aperol liqueur and prosecco. Bassano del Grappa’s close proximity to Processo Road, a region of vineyards and processo producers, means you can savor this alcoholic beverage at the source with locally sourced ingredients. For a deeper dive into this fascinating region and its sparkling wines, be sure to read my journey along Prosecco Road, Italy’s Sparkling Wine Country.

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Italy’s most famous alcoholic beverage, the Aperol Spritz.

The bittersweet alcoholic beverage won me over immediately, and I spent the rest of my ten-day trip searching for the Aperol spritz bars and cafes in every town and village that I visited.

Join me on a walking tour:

 

If you have an extra day in Bassano Del Grappa, I suggest spending it at the city’s stellar museums, including The Civic Museum of Bassano del Grappa, one of the oldest museums in the Veneto Region, housed in the former convent of the Franciscan Friars since 1828. The Palazzo Bonaguro, located near the Ponte Vecchio, has a permanent zoological collection of rare animals

What to Know if You Go:

Bassano del Grappa is about a 40-mile drive north of Venice in the northern Italian region of Veneto. The town has a population of approximately 43,000 residents.  While exploring Bassano del Grappa, I stayed at the lovely Stella Alpina Bed and Breakfast in Conco, located between the towns of Bassano del Grappa and Asiago.

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Stella Alpina, Contrada Ciscati, 32, Conco Fountains Plateau of the Seven Municipalities

I highly recommend Stella Alpina for its warm hospitality and delicious homecooked breakfast served each morning, which is a culinary event— sweet, savory and made with locally grown ingredients.

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Homecooked breakfast served each morning at Stella Alpina

 

For more affordable car rental rates, I suggest renting a car from a local resident, as opposed to renting from the airport. You can search local rentals from the company GetRentACar.com

To book tours with local guides:

To find accommodations:

Editor’s Note:

Special thanks to Marco Ferrin and his extended Ferrin family for sharing their culture, community, favorite places and insights throughout my travels in Northern Italy. As a longtime local family in the Northeastern mountain communities of Italy, the Ferrin family has deep roots and vast knowledge of the region.

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The Ferrin Family, Conco, in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy.

Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot to me and helps me to keep creating and maintaining the quality of this site for you.

 

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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