Treviso: That beautiful little city just around the corner

Treviso: That beautiful little city just around the corner

A country as beloved by Americans as Italy means there are a lot of tourists here. And while there’s technically nothing wrong with lots of tourists, the general consensus would be that high ratios of tourists greatly diminish the potential for experiencing a country as we dream of, stepping out of the predictability of our lives into a temporary, magical world where everything is different and fascinating. I’ll never forget the American woman who unknowingly cut into all of our “magical” experiences when she loudly announced at a restaurant in Venice, “Hey, y’all got somethin’ ta eat ’round here?”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been to Florence or Venice or Cinque Terre and felt sorry for some of the tourists. Now, don’t get me wrong – a trip to Florence is amazing no matter what. But an Italian vacation hitting only the most famous cities means never truly touching the spirit of the Italian lifestyle, which, technically, is what brings us here to begin with, right? Instead, I recommend with gusto – even if your next vacation outside of your country is short – scheduling in some time in a city off the beaten path, no matter how small and insignificant that city may seem. These are the places that incubate those travelling moments you’ll never forget.
Take Treviso for instance. With a mere 20 minute time investment on a train leaving from Venice every half hour or so, you’ll be so far from the crowds of tourists that you’ll think your train crossed you into some sort of other dimension instead of just transporting you 25 miles away. Impeccably maintained with remains of frescos adorning many buildings,
and lazy art-filled canals cutting through the center of town,
dotted by chic cafes and high quality osterias,
surprisingly even many other Italians don’t give this beautiful city its due credit.
My conversation announcing my trip to Treviso to my Bolognese English students went something like this:
“I’m going to Treviso Sunday!”
“Treviso? Why??”
“Because I want to go someplace new!”
“There’s nothing in Treviso. Don’t go there.”
But still itching to get out of Bologna and not wanting to spend a lot of money, I went anyway, inspired by the advice I found in the blog, Around and About Treviso. But because of my friends’ bad advice, I was so disillusioned about Treviso’s potential before I even arrived that I only scheduled about five hours of time to explore the city, thinking that would be more than enough time. Fortunately, I was quite mistaken.
Instead, what I found in Treviso was an afternoon of nothing but pleasure. The center of the relaxed city is mostly closed to traffic. I let out a sigh of relief as I slowed my normal pace to stroll Treviso’s clean streets under the mini porticos, enjoying the beautiful architectural touches of the thoughtfully updated medieval buildings.
And most of my day continued like that. I followed all the instructions on the blog except taking advantage of the nature trail because I ran out of time. I went by the three beautiful churches. I had the best tiramisu I’ve ever eaten at Antica Pasticceria Nascimben, which is only fitting, being that Treviso is considered to be the home of tiramisu.
I checked out the exhibit at Caโ€™ dei Carraresi, beautifully positioned with picture windows along one of the main canals. But the most important “attraction” in Treviso is that the city shines so much with the beauty of the unmistakable care that it has been given over the years,
and I was content just to spend the day walking the streets and people watching.
No travel guide would ever put this on the list of “must-dos” in a city, but in Treviso there’s nothing better than an afternoon of petting happy dogs (and children dressed as dogs!) on walks with their families,
resting a moment on a park bench to enjoy an outdoor sculpture bathed in nature,
or buying a two euro glass of local prosecco to sit and enjoy the beautiful canal view for just a bit longer.
I hope to go back soon, this time for a weekend. And in the meantime Treviso stands tall and proud among my memories of my Italian adventures. In my opinion, we spend too much time focusing on seeing “the sights.” We are determined to have the best vacations, and I guess that’s the simplest strategy to achieve this. But to have the opportunity to be a quiet guest in a foreign, beautiful world and just to watch, and to learn, those people’s lives…that, I think, is the best. I hope you can someday make it to Treviso, and if not, that you find your own Treviso soon. There’s probably one closer than you think.


  1. Well, I couldn’t ask for more! Your post about Treviso is simply fantastic and that’s actually the proper way to experience Treviso, just browsing around and enjoying whatever your eyes can catch.
    Thank you very much!

  2. Annalisa Maritan says:

    I live in Treviso and I have always thought that it is a wonderful city. Little, pretty and cute. Thank you

  3. bubutina says:

    Thank you for the graceful words you used to describe my hometown…
    I travel a lot and I love to get lost around the world, but I’m also in love with Treviso and it’s great to see some foreigners love it too!
    Feel free to e-mail me when you’ll come back, i’ll be glad to share a glass of prosecco with you ๐Ÿ™‚
    In any case, I’d suggest you to try “Osteria dalla Gigia” for a Spritz and a “Mozza” (Mozzarella in Carrozza): the place is super-mini but the food is delightful and you’ll breathe the true spirit of Treviso and its people there! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • mfryan says:

      Thank you for your thoughts and your suggestions too! I wanted to go to Osteria dalla Gigia so badly, and it was closed when I was there, so I guess I will just have to go back to Treviso! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will definitely message you when I am there!!

  4. Brian Evans says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article on a hidden gem of a town, mfryan.We are fortunate enough to have an apartment there and have spent many happy times in Treviso.I have not yet been to Osteria Dalla Gigia but its on my must do list now.I will email Bubutina next time I am going, its always good to touch base with the locals. Anyone interested in renting our lovely apartment, feel free to email me…Brian Evans on

  5. Rowena says:

    Treviso also has the Festa del radicchio rosso each year (last week of January to beginning of February). If we didn’t live such a drive away…
    But regarding the conversation with your students – I am not surprised. Unless a place has family there, or is famous for something, not many italians will g out of their way to visit. My inlaws are always surprised whenever we mention going to towns that they’ve never heard of.

  6. Giulia says:

    thanks for writing such an amazing post about Treviso! please if you like get in touch next time you will be around as I will be pleased to invite you to try our local cusine! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Dario says:

    I just found out about your blog and I wanted to say it is really amazing.
    I couldn’t agree more with your views on Treviso and the way you expressed the “off-the-beaten path” concept. I am not from Treviso, but from another underrated town, Genoa (that I seize this opportunity to recommend, if you have not been!). Yet Treviso is indeed such a good example of an urban destination that defies expectations and stereotypes, for the better!
    We also had similar experiences, as I studied in Bologna myself, at an American university, SAIS of Johns Hopkins. It was an Italian student from Treviso, Francesca, who first introduced me to that beautiful city I didnโ€™t know. And it was that graduate school that ultimately led me to Washington DC, where I have now lived for many years.
    If you ever happen to be in DC, please feel free to contact me, I would be very happy to share our cross-cultural experiences!
    Thanks again for the post!

    • mfryan says:

      Hi Dario! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, I really appreciate it. I really appreciate all the positive thoughts – sometimes blogs are so much work and it is easy to second guess if it is worth all the investment of time. But getting comments like yours makes it more worthwhile! I’m so glad you enjoyed Treviso too. Genoa is a beautiful place and I really enjoyed it as well, although I was a bit disappointed by the sea – I had hoped it would be a bit more picturesque. SAIS is such a good program! I have many friends that completed the program. And I just left the cafe a few minutes ago. I go to DC often because many of my friends from Heinz at CMU work in consulting or policy making in DC. So sure, yes, we could easily arrange a coffee or something on my next trip!

      • Dario says:

        Mi farebbe senz’altro molto piacere. Peccato per il mare di Genova, sei stata alla passeggiata Anita Garibaldi di Nervi? Forse qualche “dritta” giusta potrebbe indurti a tornare! ๐Ÿ™‚ Magari parliamo anche di questo se avremo l’opportunita’ di vederci a DC! A presto!

        • mfryan says:

          Non mi ricordo! Abbiamo fatto un bel giro in centro, e siamo andate su anche. C’รจ un ascensore famoso o qualcosa cosรฌ? Non mi ricordo bene. Comunque รจ stata una bella esperienza. ๐Ÿ™‚ Allora, a Novembre c’รจ un matrimonio del mio amico a DC. Spero di ricordare di avvisarti quando arrivo. Sarebbe un piacere prendere un cafe!

  8. Dario says:

    Ah! Probabilmente siete andati a visitare il quartiere di Castelletto, sulle alture di Genova, da cui si gode di solito una bella vista, che si raggiunge proprio, ricordi benissimo, con una funicolare piuttosto rinomata che parte dal centro. La passeggiata Garibaldi e’ a Nervi, un quartiere al confine est di Genova, con viste molte belle sulla costa “frastagliata” ligure.
    Fammi sapere senz’altro se vieni a DC!
    Un abbraccio

    • Dario says:

      Mi scuso moltissimo ma ho appena visto il tuo ultimo messaggio (non ho il rinvio automatico alla mia email).
      Sono successe molte cose nel frattempo. Mi sono trasferito a New York il primo novembre!! Non ero gia’ piu’ a DC quando sei passata.
      Mi spiace che non abbiamo potuto incontrarci a DC, ma so che ami molto NYC, quindi forse possiamo prendere un caffe’ qui, quando passi! Ora vivo nell’UWS, ma cambio casa e forse quartiere a partire da gennaio.
      Mi piacciono molto i quartieri di Brooklyn che descrivi nei tuoi posts.
      Scusa ancora per il ritardo nella risposta. In bocca al lupo per tutto e spero a presto!

  9. A. M. says:

    Just to also send greetings from Treviso, which I am currently visiting. It is nice… You can walk through the city, and there are quite a few coffee shops where you can sit and write on your notebook (which I enjoy doing). And thank you for the photo of the fresco (second from above), I just saw it earlier this day, and thought about how nice it would be to have a photography… now I have one : )

    • mfryan says:

      Thank you for your sweet comment! I’m so glad you are having such a good experience in Treviso. Thanks for sharing it…and I’m so glad my photo was helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I so completely agree with everything you said! I’m not much for crowds and sightseeing anyway, I try to be “local” even if just for a day ๐Ÿ™‚ And Italy, especially Italy, is so full of amazing, ancient little towns. Renting a car there is a good choice, but I’ve also toured it by train. And I also had the same discouraging comments from Italians! Later, I realised that many of them have never actually left their home towns, so how would they know. In a way though, it’s sweet that they’ve always been so content with home. Life would be so much simpler that way! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great, thought-provoking post, in a positive tone! And the photos are gorgeous!!

    • mfryan says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I’m so sorry that I’m just responding – I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog. Yes, you’re right, Italians are quite content with home, and life would be much easier if we were all that way. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed Italy so much too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Tito says:

    I’ve just come across by chance on a rainy Sunday morning your shining post as you seem to describe your first meeting with Treviso.
    Your gentle, precise words are really touching and I hope to have you back to Treviso very soon.
    I suggest to have a walk in “Restera”, which isn’t far from the historical centre. The best chance to really enjoy it is going there early in the morning, in my opinion.
    I’ve always thought that Treviso is a morning city (try “Piazza San Parisio” in the morning and then browse around there, if you haven’t done yet!).
    Thank you again for your post.

    • Hi Tito! I so appreciate your comment. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been back to Treviso two times since I wrote this post, and each time had been so different. I am so interested in your suggestion about Treviso being a morning city. That makes so much sense! I’d like to stay over one day and wake up early and enjoy Restara and the rest of the city. Thank you so much for this suggestion…:)) I hope others will read your comment and also benefit from your great advice. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Andrea says:

    Lovely article! I am glad you were able to experience and “feel” Treviso as we locals do. We always sound a bit biased when we described it as you did, so thank you for your article! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ The article was easy to write, Treviso is wonderful! But I totally understand what you mean…it is nearly impossible to write good things about what is yours because no one ever believes you. But in this case it is totally true. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Iris Milton says:

    Amazing post, thanks for sharing your experience! All cities and towns in Italy, either it is Rome, Milan or Treviso, are full of interesting historical and cultural sights. There are a lot to do and to see both for people who visit Italy for the first time and for those who regularly go there. Fantastic country!

  14. Enjoyed this, Peggy, as it took me back to our Treviso afternoon a few springs ago. My husband was doing a week-long university class not far away, and we explored the region when he wasn’t in class. Venice, Udine, and Padova were other highlights. We were there in April, so even the crowds in Venice were manageable. I had no idea Treviso was the home of tiramisu – a fun tidbit of information!

    • I love exploring that area, especially all things Veneto. How fun you got to take advantage of your husband’s time teaching! I know, isn’t it so unexpected, the tiramisu? I feel like every Italian city, big or small, has some awesome claim to fame. Another thing I love about Italy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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