Treviso is often overlooked by tourists travelling to neighbouring Venice, but everyone who drives straight through is missing a treat. Green canals and rivers weave their way through streets lined with frescoed medieval buildings, perfect for a day’s wandering. Despite the old-town’s quaint appearance, Treviso is reputedly one of the richest cities in Italy; the Benetton clothing empire has its HQ here, as do several other multinationals. This wealth translates into designer stores and one-off boutiques scattered about the piazzas and streets. If you like to supplement your sightseeing with top-notch shopping, give Treviso a try.


Before hitting the churches and museums, make time to explore the narrow alleys and porticoed walkways that line Treviso’s waterways. Already at the confluence of the Sile and Botteniga rivers, in medieval times Treviso’s residents built a handful of canals to supply the city’s tanners, papermills and dye works. Particularly attractive is the fast-moving Canal Cagnan, over which stretch five beautiful bridges.

Heart of the old-town is the Piazza dei Signori, home to the brick Palazzo dei Trecento, once seat of Treviso’s independent city government. Beneath its grand brick portico sits a statue of a lady grasping her two voluptuous breasts in her hands. Erected in 1559, the statue used to be a fountain, with water springing from each nipple. On special occasions, however, the water would be replaced with wine: one breast would spout red wine and the other white for three whole days. The Fontana delle Tette (literally “Tit Fountain”) was an iconic part of Treviso festivities until dour Napoleon ordered a stop to such decadence in 1797.

Wander along the Via Calmaggiore to find the city’s Cathedral (Duomo) characterised by its seven domes, its frescoes by Il Pordenone (1484 – 1539) and Titian’s famous painting of the Annunciation. The atmospheric crypt is also worth a look, held up by 12th century stone pillars.

Bigger than the cathedral is the soaring, gothic San Nicolo, a Dominican church with a breathtakingly high vaulted ceiling. Not to be outdone by the Duomo, San Nicolo boasts frescoes of its own, this time a 14th century series by Tomaso da Modena depicting famous Dominican monks and cardinals of the time.

Thanks to an eccentric 19th century monk who set about gathering together Treviso’s treasures, the Museo Civico di Santa Caterina has an impressive array of exhibits, from Roman archaeological remains to paintings by Titian, Lotto, Tintoretto and Guardi.

If the museum whets your appetite for art, head to the Casai Carraresi which plays host to a major exhibition each year. Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin have been the subjects of previous exhibitions, and this year (October 2006 - April 2007) 20th century Venetian art is on display.

If you’ve had enough of gloomy churches and museums, try taking a boat trip along the river Sile, which eventually spills out into Venice’s shimmering lagoon. You can book day-trips at the tourist office.


If you love clothes you won’t be able to resist spending money in Treviso. Famous designer stores sit alongside kooky independent boutiques, and you can’t miss the enormous Benetton store. The entire old town is pedestrianised, and the best place for clothes shopping is the Piazza dei Signori and its two connecting streets the Corso del Popolo and Via Calmaggiore.

Treviso is also famed for its wrought iron and copper goods. For shops selling everything from practical utensils to intricate ornaments, head to the Via Palestro.

Fancy some open-air browsing? Try the markets that sprawl across the Via Pascheria on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On the fourth Sunday of each month a huge antiques market comes to town. If you have self-catering accommodation and enjoy cooking with fresh fish, head to the colourful fish market, which has been held on a little island in the Sile river for centuries.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Teeming with smart restaurants and homely trattorias, you won’t have to walk far within the old-town to find somewhere to eat. Most establishments offer exclusively Italian fare, but with food like this, who’s complaining? Local specialities include sopa coada, a soup with pigeon meat, risotto al radicchio using Treviso’s distinctive red chicory, and bigoli - thick homemade spaghetti served with duck or sausage sauce.

Treviso is capital of the biggest and best wine-making region in Italy. Begin the night’s entertainment sipping a glass of local Prosecco (sparkling white wine) in one of the many wine bars near the fish market. You could then head off to a civilised night at the Teatro Communale or Teatro Eden, both of which hold classical music concerts as well as plays. Alternatively, leave the old-town and find Via Fonderia or Viale Repubblica, lively streets full of bars and clubs.

Tourist Information

Ufficio I.A.T.Piazzetta Monte di Pietà, 8TrevisoTelephone: 0422.547632Email: Website:


Treviso has its own tiny airport, San Guiseppe, although Ryainair (the only UK airline to fly here, leaving from London Stansted) calls it Venice-Treviso. The town-centre is a short 5km drive away, or local bus number 6 will take you for 50p.

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