You may have heard about Asiago pdo cheese. But you should know that Asiago [ah- seeAH- goh] is also a little town in the province of Vicenza, very well known in Veneto as vacation resort, both in Summer and Winter.
Asiago stands on the namesake plateau, in Italian altopiano, also called altopiano dei sette comuni (plateau of the seven municipalities). The othe six are Lusiana, Enego, Roana, Rotzo, Gallio, Foza and Conco.
Asiago is closely connected to food, and not only for the above-quoted cheese. About that, who visited Asiago and doesn’t remember the giant Asiago wheel at the cheese factories consortium just outside town?
Jam and Honey
The town is also famous for its honey and jams. There are two remarkable shops. The most famous is right along the main pedestrian street, and its name is Rigoni (Corso IV Novembre, 78). Rigoni started as a family-run business after the first world war, thanks to nonna Elisa, beekeper, who decided to transform her hobby into a proper job.
Other than honey they now sell juices, jams (organic and without sugar added) and more importantly the nocciolata, organic hazelnuts cream, without hydrogenated fats. And there’s also a version without milk, so perfect for lactose intolerants like me. But I would prefer it with less sugar.
The other one is less famous, located in a secondary road just outside the pedestrian area, and it is called Guoli (Via Benedetto Cairoli, 20). Now Guoli is more, how can I put it? Simple. But they have a unique honey, that is an absolute elixir against sore throat: miele di pino mugo. It is honey with gemme of mountain pine. I love it. And it is beautiful to see the little pine cones and sprigs. Plus outside the shop there was a little dog longing for cuddles.
Of course, since I didn’t mean to offend anyone, I bought something in both shops: Nocciolata without milk at Rigoni’s and Pino Mugo Honey at Guoli. Go girl!
That day was a lovely Saturday. Plenty of people were strolling along the streets, admiring a painting exhibit, and buying chestnuts, mushrooms or polenta at the local shops. We stopped for another local speciality, the Ortigara cake at Pasticceria Carli, prepared by their family since 1909, and named after the first world war battle.
It is a simple sponge cake with almonds, very soft and sweet. There are two Carli party shops, very close one another. One is more old style, the other one modern and quite pleasant, with coloured pillows…
What to do in Asiago
- Town Hall. You can recognize it easily. It is the white and red marble building with a clock tower, front columns and green roof. It was rebuilt in 1922 after the war destruction. During World War I Asiago suffered in fact a terrible bombing that razed it to the ground.
- The neoclassical Duomo di San Matteo, in local pink marble, just in front of the town hall, and, likewise, was rebuilt in 1922.
- Between Town Hall and Duomo you may notice a fountain. It is the Faun Fountain. In fact it depicts a faun riding a roe deer, accompanied by four animals of the woods: fox, eagle, squirrel and capercaillie.
- Chiesa di San Rocco, Romanesque style, restored in 2001.
- Asiago War Memorial, in Italian called Sacrario Militare. You can see from the centre of the town and from the surroundings its white arch. It houses a relics museum and houses the remains of 50.000 soldiers, Italian and Austro-Hungarian.
- Astronomical Observatory of Padova just outside town on a hill, near the Memorial. You can book a visit in advance, you’ll find e-mail and phone number here: visitasiago
- Millepini park. More than a park, a little wood beloved by children of all ages. It is also provided with Agility Tree trail.
- Adjacent to the park there’s the Ice rink, open all year round.
- An easy outdoor activity during summer (by foot or mountain bike) is the old train road, connecting Asiago to other villages nearby. You can start from the old Asiago train station (where there’s also a small café), adjacent to the Park.
- Laghetto di Lumera is a super tiny lake, ten minutes from Asiago’s centre. It is a quiet place for kids, with playground and benches. My nephew used to love it when he was 3-4. The path starts near the Duomo, just ask around. Everyone in town knows it.
- For little kids there’s the Gnomes Village. After walking along an easy path (also for strollers) they will visit a gnomes town. Who knows if they will spot one?
- Love path. It was created a couple of years ago by a group of women of the area. It’s an easy path, with wood sculptures and verses of famous poets. It takes 1 hour and a half at moderate pace.
- Kaberlaba is another area for kids and families, ten minutes by car from the centre. Playground with inflatables and trampolines, horses and ponies.
- The Great War has left many scars in the territory. For those interested it is possible to visit some war forts, just ask at the Tourist Office.
- As for winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding and also try cross country skiing or snowshoes. There is also a Snowfunpark called Campomulo, where you can rent snowmobiles, sled and bobsled, plus try the snow tubing. I would!