I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on Italy. But having spent a lot of time in Venice this season, I did manage to start to explore some of the smaller (and non-touristy!) towns that are a mere 30 minute train ride away. There are so many lovely towns all over Italy, but one of the best days I’ve had in my entire life was spent in a little town called Treviso.
As soon as I read about it online – and found only two useful blog posts – I knew I had to go there. If even mighty Google couldn’t turn up more than a few pages of information, it was exactly the kind of off-the-tourist-radar day trip that I needed. The fact that prosecco (Italy’s answer to champagne), and tiramisu (that famous layered coffee and mascarpone cream dessert) both hail from here was just a bonus. Ok, it may have actually been the deciding factor, but you don’t get to judge me.
Treviso is at heart a quiet, wealthy Italian town with well-kept architecture, plenty of canals, and very few tourists. Admittedly there are also very few sights. But being tour guides, my partner in crime for the day (the lovely Emma) and myself were keen for a city where we weren’t pressured to ‘sightsee’, but rather, soak in the ambience. And, or course, eat tiramisu and drink prosecco! Our strolling led us past countless gorgeous buildings, beautiful gardens, and peaceful canals. We also investigated a few churches, none of which were life changing, but all interesting in their own way – Renaissance author Petrarch’s illegitimate daughter is buried in the church of San Francesco, which was also used as a barn during the Napoleonic era.
For lunch we headed to Osteria Trevisi, which had been recommended online, and we enjoyed a delicious custom-made sandwich of grilled veggies and local cheese, as well as DOCG (the highest grade) prosecco for €2.50 a glass. Then, after strolling the sleepy streets and taking many, many photos, we made our way to Antica Pasticceria Nascimben, the place where, I was told, the best tiramisu ever awaited us. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I usually don’t go near tiramisu, but I was committed to trying this one out. And at 80c a pop, how could you go wrong? I ended up having TWO, plus another little cake – THAT’S how good it was.
We both returned home stuffed, happy, and smug in the knowledge that we hadn’t seen another tourist all day. And the best part it, Treviso has even more that we didn’t get to see – more quaint, family-run restaurants, for example, and a handful of museums.
So if you’ve seen Venice, and fancy seeing a more ‘local’ Italian town, take the short trip to Treviso. The tiramisu alone makes it worthwhile!