Though the area's top sight is the Villa Barbaro, outside town, Asolo has a few diversions beyond merely strolling its streets and enjoying its "hundred horizons." Asolo was the seat of a bishopric until 969 and remained a countryside escape for rich Venetians thereafter, so it's no surprise that its cathedral, rebuilt in the 18th century, contains several artistic treasures. They apparently had a thing for paintings of the Assumption. There's one by Lorenzo Lotto (1506; on the left aisle), another by Jacopo "da Ponte" Bassano (1549; next to the last on the left aisle), and a bad 19th-century copy of a Titian version on the high altar. Breaking the theme is Lazzaro Bastiani's stiffly formal St. Jerome (1488), which features a pretty countryside in the background.
On the main square, the frescoed Loggia del Capitano houses a small museum that contains memorials to Robert Browning (whose son is buried in the local cemetery) and to Caterina Cornaro. Caterina was the queen of Cyprus until her husband died and she abdicated. She sought refuge in the Republic of Venice, which gave her Asolo to rule from 1489 to her death in 1510. Her home was the medieval Castello, begun in the late 6th century (there's nothing special to see there now; it just has a cafe tucked against the inside of the old castle's towering wall), which became known as the "Queen's Palace."
Festivals & Markets
There's an antiques market the second Sunday of each month, with a special books and prints edition the third Sunday in October. The local folk festival is in honor of San Gottardo on May 5, with a market, procession, and the sale of traditional terra-cotta shepherd flutes. Asolo holds a Palio race the third Sunday of September, pitting the town's six contrade (neighborhoods) against each other to pull up the hill a Roman-style chariot bearing a local damsel dressed as Caterina Cornaro. There's also a Festival of Chamber Music in August and September.
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