Bassano's historic center is just a half-dozen or so blocks in either direction; its medieval buildings and baroque palazzi snuggle along the Brenta River. Andrea Palladio designed Bassano's lovely symbol, the wooden Ponte degli Alpini covered bridge, in 1569, and every time floods or disaster have struck, it has been rebuilt precisely along the original plan.

The stars of the Museo Civico, Piazza Garibaldi (tel. 0424-522-235 or 0424-523-336;, are the Bassano family. Patriarch Jacopo was clearly the most talented, evident in his early Flight into Egypt and faded frescoes from local house facades to later works such as St. John the Baptist (1558) and Pentecost (1559), which are looser and show the influence of Titian. His sons Leandro and Francesco il Giovane (responsible for the nice Lamentation) had less success, as did their less talented sibling, Gerolano, who stayed in Bassano to run the family workshop. Admission -- which also covers the ceramics museum -- is 5€ for adults and 3.80€ for children under 18 or seniors older than 60. It's open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 6:30pm and Sunday from 3:30 to 6:30pm.

Palazzo Sturm (1765-66), overlooking the Brenta River on Via Schiavonetti, retains some original frescoes and stuccoes, and houses a ceramics museum heavy on 18th- and 19th-century porcelains, with a contemporary collection downstairs. Admission is cumulative with the Museo Civico, above, and its hours are also the same.


In June, Bassano invites international street musicians to perform in a festival. Bassano's annual Opera Estate Festival takes place from early July through August, with alfresco performances of opera, concerts, a mini-jazz fest, and dance (ballet, modern, and folk). For information, contact the tourist office (Largo Corona d'Italia 35; tel. 0424-524-214; fax 0424-525-138;


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