Touring the Villas
In addition to visiting the two villas located in the immediate outskirts of Vicenza, a tour of the dozens of country ville venete farther afield is the most compelling outing from Vicenza. Check at the tourist office for availability of organized tours, something that has been on again and (more frequently) off again for the last few years. You most probably will have to do it yourself (this means having access to wheels). Many of the villas are still privately owned, and each has its own hours and restrictions (not all the villas can be visited; others permit visits only to the grounds but not the interiors, and so forth). The tourist office can help you plan your trip around these restrictions, and it also has maps and a host of varied itineraries outlining the most important villas (not all of them 16th-c. Palladian designs), many of which are UNESCO-protected sites. Public transportation for these visits is close to nonexistent. If you do have access to a car, ask about the summer concert series in June and July, Concerti in Villa, which draws first-class talent in the classical music world.
Each summer brings a different sort of guided tour of the city by the local tourism authorities, often free of charge -- but only if you buy the Card Musei. Saturday walking tours start at 12€. Check with the tourist office upon your arrival, or in advance by visiting its website. Architecture buffs may want to splurge for an accredited multilingual tour guide through Guide Turistiche Autorizzate (tel. 348-677-1271; www.vicenzatourguide.it). Rates are 105€ for a half-day, for up to 30 people.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.