Maser…what do you know about this town? It lies just an hour’s drive from Vicenza and is reachable within 30 minutes from Bassano del Grappa. It’s a small commune that’s most famous for Villa di Maser but there are also some other fantastic places to explore in the surrounding towns.The charming towns of Cornuda and Montebelluna are just a stone’s throw away and offer up an interesting and diverse set of tourist attractions.
Villa di Maser
Let’s begin with the big one. This 16th Century building was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Villa di Maser, also known as Villa Barbaro, was built by Andrea Palladio for the noble Venetian brothers Daniele and Marcantonio Barbaro. The interior walls are beautifully adorned with frescoes by the painter Paolo Veronese. The straight lines and symmetrical Palladian structure are wonderfully balanced with the soft painterly walls inside the villa. There’s a playful touch that appears throughout the home – with many of the paintings creating an illusion that someone is peeking through doors or the family pets are scurrying about. Currently, the Villa di Maser is also home to a working vineyard where you can sit down for a meal with a delicious glass of wine.
A 15 minute drive from Maser will lead you to the small town of Montebelluna. It’s quiet here, so visitors get a wonderful glance into typical Italian life that’s just not on offer in bigger tourist destinations. Wander through the picturesque main square and take a look at the city’s majestic Duomo. Cap off the walking tour with a stop at Mezanino Birramondai, a boutique brewery where you can sample some tasty local beers and sit back with some live music.
Museo La Terra e l’Uomo
The Museum of ‘The Earth and the Man‘, in more modest words, is actually a Natural History Museum in the town of Crocella del Montello. It’s a fantastic place to visit if you’re travelling with kids, filled with exhibitions about evolution and a room dedicated to the Mammoth. On certain dates of the year, you can also even take the kids for a night at the museum (yes, just like the movie!) filled with games, presentation and natural history-themed activities.
Do you have a love for design and typography? Indulge yourself at Tipoteca Italiana, a working printing museum which is all about the art of letterpress. Just a 9 minute drive from Maser, the museum is in the town of Cornuda and lies within what used to be a hemp mill. The space has an incredible archive of moveable type pieces, refurbished and fully-functional vintage printing machines and retro posters from decades past. It’s an absolute must visit for all graphic designers, printmakers and anyone who’s interested in handcrafted masterpieces.