Bassano, the Town of Fine Arts and home to world-famous ceramics, prized white asparagus and strong, aromatic grappas — the grape pulp-based brandy that is the preferred beverage of the bassanesi — is best known for the iconic bridge that Palladio built across the Brenta in full view of Monte Grappa.
The original wooden bridge, built in 1209, was swept away by raging flood waters in the fall of 1567.
Following that disaster, Palladio was commissioned by the City of Bassano to rebuild on the exact same spot, and in the summer of 1569 he presented his design for a timber-truss bridge that somewhat resembled the original, but was radically different with its technical and structural innovations — four trapezoidal piers and a deck covered with a continuous roof supported by Tuscan order columns — and its elegant looks.
Palladio’s construction stood for nearly 200 years until the Ponte Vecchio was destroyed in 1748 by yet another violent flood. It was rebuilt exactly as Palladio designed it and stood again until it fell victim to a fire in 1813.
Resurrected one final time, in 1948, by engineers of the Associazione Nazionale Alpini (National Association of Alpini) — Italy’s elite mountain troops with the signature black feature in their caps — it was rechristened Ponte degli Alpini (Bridge of the Alpini).