Bravery in Bassano del Grappa

April 24, 2013 / Places
Bassano del Grappa, Veneto
IMG_0285Straddling the Brenta River, Bassano del Grappa’s medieval character is matched only by its rich and proud history. Now you might assume I’m talking about grappa but, in fact, I’m talking about a bridge! (The grappa comes later!)

The Ponte degli Alpini is central to the town and its history. This distinctive wooden bridge, designed in 1569 by Palladio but destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, has played a significant historical role over the centuries. Standing on the Ponte today, with its panoramic view, it’s hard to believe that this peaceful and idyllic vista has witnessed many battles. Visible bullet holes in nearby buildings are stark reminders of the past.

The Alpini, Italy’s distinguished Alpine fighting force, revere and return to the bridge often to remember their days as Alpine soldiers. It was the Alpini who rebuilt the bridge in 1948 after World War II.

IMG_0290How intertwined are the Alpini and the history of Bassano? Originally the town was Bassano Veneto, but changed its name after devastating battles during WWI on nearby Monte Grappa claimed thousands of lives. A visit to the Museo degli Alpini, located just across from Ponte degli Alpini, proudly displays their distinguished history and heroism.

Nearby is the grapperia Nardini Tavern where grappa has been produced and served since 1779. Here you, too, can sample and test your bravery. Deceptively innocent in appearance, with a high alcohol content, grappa (a distillate of the stems, seeds, and skins of grapes… from the Latin graspa, “grape stalk”) definitely packs a punch!

Are we brave enough to try? Surely, if the soldiers brought it to the front lines for warmth and comfort, the least we can do is make a toast in their honor?

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Photo by Trautmann Francis, many thanks! Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Photo by Trautmann Francis, many thanks! Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Victoria De Maio

by Victoria De Maio

Victoria is a lover of all things Italian! A travel advisor, blogger, writer, tour leader, and published author, she is passionate about traveling to and writing about Italy.

Her book, Victoria’s Travel Tipz Italian Style, is available on Amazon.

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16 Responses to “Bravery in Bassano del Grappa”

  1. My father and grandfather were in the Alpini…a very proud group of soldiers. I have been fortunate enough to visit Bassano many times and partake in a “mezzo mezzo” at Nardini…sometimes twice in one day.

    Reply
  2. Mary Jane

    Loved this article. It brought back great memories of my recent visit there. You have captured the essence of this wonderful place, it’s history and spirit. It is not to be missed!

    Reply
  3. Marcia Bailey

    How lovely to open my email this morning and see one of my favorite towns in all of Italy. I discovered it by chance and dragged my traveling companions away from Venice to Bassano. We had NO regrets and we were brave…we enjoyed a little grappa.

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  4. Christy

    Love the history and insight! Thank you Victoria for sharing you passion and knowledge. I always delight in reading your “notes.!

    Reply
  5. It’s a wonderful little town. For those who have a car, or who take a taxi, the trip to the War Memorial on Monte Grappa is well worthwhile, especially in the warmer weather, when the snow is gone.

    http://wp.me/p16GeE-iV

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  6. Grazie for all of your notes. Seeing Bassano del Grappa was a “serendipity” and a delightful one! So many little gems…
    Victoria

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  7. Victoria — Now you’re encroaching on my neck of the woods. I’m up in Bassan (as the locals call it) about once a month. Next time you’re at the Nardini distillery, try the house specialty: Tagliatella. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, nice article!

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  8. giuseppe

    grazie per questa storia. Ho dormito due notte a Bassano del Grappa. La seconda volta era la notte della festa di autonno e abbiamo rimasto al albergo Palladio o uno vicino sulla penta della valle dove si trovava un spettacolo di fuochi articfici. Era un spettacolo in piena aria vista di nostra camera stessa per due ora. Una notte a non dimenticare.

    Giuseppe

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  9. Grazie for sharing Tom & Giuseppe…
    Tom,
    Not sure when I’ll get back to Bassano to sample Tagliatella but I did bring back a few little “sample” bottles! :D
    Have a shot for me!
    Giuseppe,
    Thank you for sharing your memories…
    Cheers!

    Reply
  10. Lovely article. You have captured the spirit and rich history of so many of Italy’s little out of the way towns that many might overlook. Thanks for the peek into so many interesting places…but so many more to add to my bucket list. Thanks to you, it is getting very, very long!

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  11. Antoinette Shapiama

    So much history in Bassano, the battle between Napoleon I and Austrian forces on September 8, 1796, notwithstanding. A song was written about the bridge: “Sul Ponte di Bassano”. Google it for the lyrics and hear “un coro d’Alpini” singing – beautiful! If you visit “Il Ponte di Bassano”, enjoy some Tagliatella before you sample the more powerful grappa!

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  12. trentina

    Thanks for the article, Victoria.
    I was just about to mention the song “Sul Ponte di Bassano” before I read your nice comment, Antoinette.
    It’s a beautiful song and it’s not uncommon for a coro to gather on the bridge and sing it. Always brings tears to my eyes.

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  13. Grazie for sharing Trentina & Antoinette (that’s my middle name!) – a few years ago the Alpini choir was in town and gave a lovely concert – very touching indeed – although hearing them gather on the bridge and sing would be incredibly moving…
    Victoria

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  14. Listening to the Alpini on the bridge is on my list now! Thanks, Victoria, for a delightful article. There are Alpinis on both paternal and maternal sides of the family, and my grandfather, being from that region, made his own grappa during Prohibition… bravery runs in the family!

    Reply

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