Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza

July 12, 2016 / Art & Archaeology
Vicenza, Veneto

In 1992 author Robert James Waller penned a best-seller, The Bridges of Madison County.

Photo courtesy © 1995 Warner Bros.The book tells the story of a lonely Italian war bride (Francesca) who engages in an adulterous affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington (Robert) who has come to Madison County, Iowa in order to create a photographic essay on the covered bridges in the area.

The Bridges of Madison County was later made into a 1995 film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood and co-starring Meryl Streep.

But, Madison County, Iowa is some 5,000 miles away, as the old crow flies, from where I’m standing right now — high above the Centro Storico (Historical Center) of Vicenza, Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and there’s not a row of corn in sight.

Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

So, what’s up? Actually, what’s ACROSS is a nice easy stroll around this three-river provincial city in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy to take in all eight of her ponti (bridges) that dot the ancient part of town: Santa Libera, Furo, San Paolo, San Michele, delle Barche, degli Angeli, Pustera and Novo. Lens cap off, let’s have a look.

Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Although Vicenza, the City of Palladio, is very, very far from Madison County, Iowa — both in distance and time — her picturesque bridges and serpentine waterways are truly worthy of a National Geographic photo essay. Wouldn’t you agree?

Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

by Tom Weber

Tom is a veteran print-broadcast journalist who resides in the Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills) in the province of Padova in the Veneto region of northestern Italy. He hosts the eclectic travel/foodie/photography blog The Palladian Traveler.com, is a regular contributor to Los Angeles-based TravelingBoy.com, and is a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance. Feel free to follow Tom as he “meanders along the cobblestone to somewhere.”

42 Responses to “Far from Madison County: The Bridges of Vicenza”

  1. Anne Robichaud

    Tom, lovely photos top off a lovely note-which makes me eager to get back to Vicenza (maybe when the weather cools off!? ) Grazie mille!

    Reply
    • Anne — Thanks for the kudos. Yes, you must return to the City of Palladio. Can’t you hear the High Renaissance calling you?

      Reply
  2. louise

    Absolutely beautiful pics. They seem so far away from reality, in a perfect world.

    Reply
  3. rick Black

    This isn’t a comment, but a cry in the dark for help. We are off to the Lecce area next month to attend a wedding. Yes, that is correct, a wedding …in August…in Southern Italy. Hot, moist and sticky. But since we have been “part of the family” for more than 40 years. We are flying from Arizona for the event. Here’s where we need some help: What is considered an appropriate gift? We can’t bring anything material because of the weight limits and customs problem. If we give Euros, what is too little–too much? BTW, this is not Americans going to Italy to get married, it is a real Matrimonio Italiano.

    Reply
    • Rick — Lots of Italian guests give money; a minimum amount would be the cost per person of the wedding dinner. Say, 100€ per plate, X how many are in your party. Of course, more is always better. Stay cool in Lecce in August.

      Reply
  4. Janice

    As usual, you excite the travel desire! Someday it will be Vincenza!!!!

    Reply
  5. Silvana Martini Schuster

    Cento mille grazie Tom . . . bellissime fotografie!

    Reply
  6. Karen Eagan

    Tanti belli. I put it on my list for my next trip to Italy.

    Reply
    • Karen — You must visit Vicenza, quite the little jewel of a city is often overlooked when visitors come to the Veneto.

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    • Andrew — The City of Palladio used to be my “adopted hometown,” too, until a few months ago when I pulled up stakes and moved to the Euganean Hills near Padova. I do get back often to visit with friends.

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  7. Marianna Raccuglia

    Your photos are so lovely – thank you for sharing them with your readers.

    Reply
  8. Mary Ellen Gadski

    I have wondered why Vicenza’s bridges haven’t been given much attention in guidebooks and local literature for tourists. As you so well demonstrate, they deserve more notice. The last photo is spectacular!

    Reply
    • Mary Ellen — Many thanks. That last photo was shot at sunset standing on the Ponte Furo looking down the Fiume Retrone towards the Basilica Palladiana, one of the many works by Master Builder Andrea Palladio. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  9. Through history there must have been several love affairs in connection to the Italian bridges to compete with The Bridges of Madison County. Tell us more to enliven the history!.. thanks

    Reply
    • Shirley — The Ponte San Michele is the one bridge in Vicenza where young lovers in love still steel away for that late-night rendezvous. Thankfully, the practice of hanging “love lockets” has been stopped. Thanks for your note and curiosity.

      Reply
  10. Anita Fiorini

    All the pictures you share are beautiful but these are outstanding. Oh how I wish I be in Italy.

    Reply
  11. At 72 years old, I have never been to Italy, but all of my 3 sisters and my brother have gone to Italy to visit both our parents birthplaces. As the lone non-traveler, I’ve been blessed by my family with photos, film, slides, and italiannotebook.com of every place in Italy they have ever visited and more. My dream is to actually go there before I go home. Thank you for italiannotebook.com.
    Sincerely,
    Carol Patello Stevenson

    Reply
    • Carol — I’m happy to do my small part of providing content to ItalianNotebook so that people like you can experience the same. Hopefully, one day, you’ll come to the Bel Paese and see her beauty firsthand.

      Reply
  12. And Streep wonderfully embodies Francesca Johnson, the Italian woman who finds herself with a husband and children, living on a farm in the middle of a flat Iowa horizon. The two of them construct their performances not out of grand gestures, but out of countless subtle little moments of growing love; a time comes when they are solemn in the presence of the joy that has come to them.

    Reply
  13. Sallie Taylor

    Tom, I lived in Vicenza for 6 months in 1989. I remember these places in your photos so well. I have been back many times….as late as November 2015. But, I am already homesick for Italy. Was the first photo taken from atop Monte Berico?

    Reply
  14. Odis McLean

    Wonderful photos Tom! I enjoyed the city of Vicenza for 18 months in 1968/69, it’s where I fell in love with Italy so it’s a special place for me.

    Reply
  15. Bernadette Higgins

    Buon giorno. Just checking. Am I missing any Italian Notes of late? I haven’t received anything since the November 24th Thanksgiving note and wondered if I was having a problem getting them. I’ ve been checking spam etc. just to be sure. Miss getting my ” Italian fix”. Grazie.

    Reply

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