Day 23 - Thursday 6 June 19 - Treviso
We returned to our hole in the wall breakfast spot of yesterday at 0830 hrs for a sandwich, pastries and coffee before recovering the car from the nearby free car park.
The 50 km drive to Padua/ Padova was via Noale to avoid the main freeway. Entry to the city provided no problems and a large car park in the centre was easily found; 1 km from our objective the Basilica di San’t Antonio.
We set off for the Basilica to be immediately waylaid by the Abbey of Santa Giustina ( Justina). As a young Christian girl from Padua, killed in 304 AD, she was the city’s patron saint until Saint Anthony came along in the 13th century. The Abbey now rates as number two but has many relics of saints including the body ( less head ) of Saint Luke, a faithful companion of the apostle St Paul and author of the Acts of the Apostles. We appreciated the history, paintings and sculptures which make up this church of sober decoration.
Our next stop was the Basilica which at 1130 hrs was celebrating mass. The church was filled and the presence of so many priests on the altar reminded me of a high mass. Thankfully the business of tourism was still flourishing and we were able to walk the aisle and the ambulatory noting the significantly interesting works of religious art. The Chapels of Relics and the Chapel of Saint Anthony were art works in themselves; so impressive I had to ignore the direction for no photograph. Of the many many cathedrals we have visited this would rate as one of the most elaborate. The value of the works unimaginable.
On completion of our visit we took a break for a shared sandwich and a spritz. The experience of having to use the ladies toilet because the men’s was occupied and to greet a youngish lady emerging at the same time from the men’s toilet was memorable.
The botanical gardens which were next on our list for a quick visit was waivured on a cost/time basis. As a result we picked up the car and drove the 14 km to the Villa Pisani.
The visit included the main house and the garden. Built in the first half of the 18th century, by the then wealthy Pisani family with a relative who was the Dodge of Venice, it was purchased by Napoleon 1 in 1807 and eventually passed to the Hapsburg’s, then the Kingdom of Italy and in 1884 to the public. The building is large and has a sensible design of rooms interconnecting along the fronts of the squarely designed buildings, not uncommon with other villas/palaces, but with a circular inner passageway for ease of movement for each of the rooms. It contains many fresco’s for decoration and the furnishings are period but sparse. The garden is extensive with the classic faux building and stables to the rear of a long rectangular pond. Garden ornamentation and other structures are significant. It was not unexpected that both the Villa and the garden was not in pristine condition as others we have seen; the cost for the remoteness/return the reasoning. We did enjoy visiting the villa, including the photographic exhibition of the models and their 1950’s fashion designed by Christian Dior, leaving with the dream that someone will find the funds to return the Villa to it’s former glory.
We refuelled on our return to Treviso arriving just after 1600 hrs for a well earnt G& T and to pack for tomorrow’s early departure. A lesson learnt for the day was not to use the serviced petrol pumps; I mistook self service for those awful automatic petrol pumps and paid the penalty of 12.5c a litre for someone else to hold the handle. Silly me!
After a 1900 hrs false start, we returned to our now favourite first night restaurant around the corner at 2000hrs for dinner. It was even better; genuine Italian flavours soaking the pasta plus a good wine. We were back by 2130hrs for episode 9 of “What/if” - only one to go for this good show.
Tomorrow we are back into Austria, stopping at CastelBrando to see this aged Roman fortress, now a hotel and then through the mountains to Lienz; a longish and I’m sure tiring drive.