The attractive walled town of Asolo is in a picturesque setting in the lower forested foothills of the dolomite mountains and listed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. It is in the centre of the Veneto-Friuli region, about 40km inland from Venice and 15 kilometres east of Bassano.
The surrounding countryside is never far away, and the varied glimpses of the hills that you get as you explore have led the town to be nicknamed the 'city of a hundred horizons'.
Asolo is small and compact and easily explored. Start your visit at the cathedral, a medieval gem (modified in the 18th century) that was built on the site of the original Roman baths.
The cathedral is rather understated in its external appearance but renowned for the important works of art that it contains such as the 'Assumption of Lorenzo by Lotto (16th century), a 19th century copy of the Assumption by Titian, and a 15th century painting of saint francis of Assisi.
Other places of particular importance in Asolo include the remains of the amphitheatre, the medieval fortress that still stands watch from high on the hill over the (rather more peaceful nowadays) town, a castle (now used as a theatre).
There are also several luxurious small palaces such as the frescoed Palazzo della Ragione that now houses the regional museum, Villa Freya, la casa della Divina Eleonora Duse.
The substantial Villa Scotti Pasini was home to Robert Browning in the late 19th century when Asolo became a popular meeting place for intellectuals.
The historical center of Asolo around Piazza Garibaldi (note the impressive 16th century fountain in the square) is also a pleasure to explore.
This part of Asolo is partly pedestrianized and there are some lovely cobbled streets and alleys, and many houses with the traditional layout featuring sheltered arcades at ground level give it a great deal of character.
The views from above the town are among the highlights of your visit.
As you move around the town you will often be aware that you are following in the footsteps of Robert Browning, who was moved to write a book of poetry by the attractiveness of Asolo.
Most visitors to Asolo also make the trip to nearby Villa Barbaro, to the north-east of the town. Villa Barbaro is a very impressive 16th century villa that also contains some notable frescoes and some amazing trompe l'oeil (lit: trick of the eye - wall paintings that deceive the eye into thinking they are seeing a real three-dimensional object).
Note: if funds permit we suggest you stay at the Hotel Villa Capriani, not the cheapest hotel perhaps but a very charming place to stay and just a few minutes walk from the town center.
Selected places to visit near Asolo
Bassano del Grappa 15 km
Cittadella 20 km
Feltre 24 km
Conegliano 31 km
San Martino di Castrozza 43 km
Belluno 44 km
Venice 51 km
Burano 52 km
See the Venice-Veneto guide for more travel ideas...
Map of Asolo & places nearby