CASTELFRANCO VENETO was once on the edge of Treviso territory and most of the old town (that is Castello) still surrounded by brick walls, erected in 1199 r. by the Trevisans for protection against Padua. Of all the walled cities in Veneto, only two - Citadella (look down) and Montagnana - they withstand the comparison with Castelfranco and it would be worth coming here, even if the city had no other attractions besides fortifications. However, Castelfranco is also the birthplace of Giorgion and has an image, which in itself justifies Vasari's statement, that Giorgione was the Venetian Leonardo da Vinci.
The picture in question, Madonna with St.. Liberal and St.. Francis, usually called the Madonna of Castelfranco, simmer International Duomo (codz. 9.00-12.00 i 15.00-18.00), in the chapel to the right of the presbytery. Giorgione is the most elusive of all the great figures of the Renaissance: including the Madonna of Castelfranco, he can certainly be credited with the authorship of only six paintings, and so little is known about his life, that the gaps are filled with legends. It is said, for example, that his untimely death (w 1510 r. at just the age of 34 years) it was caused by the plague, which he got infected from his mistress. The pictures themselves deepen the atmosphere of mystery, and none of them are more mysterious than the local one, in which the arbitrary arrangement of forms is combined with remarkable fidelity to the natural texture, and the characters assume melancholic poses. The painting was commissioned in honor of Matteo Costanza and was originally placed like this, so that the eyes of the three figures are directed at his tombstone, which is currently on the left wall.
Castelfranco has rail connections to Padua, Bassano, Treviso, Vicenzą i Trento, therefore it is a good base for visiting central Veneto. Information about the city and the surrounding area can be obtained from the Pro Loco office, at via Garibaldi 2. The cheapest rooms are at Alla Speranza, a few meters outside the walls on Borgo Vicenza 13 ( 0423/494480), where twos cost from 25000 L up. Of the many excellent restaurants, the most reasonable prices are in Ai Due Mori, vicolo Montebelluna, just outside the walls going from the clock tower (Wed. closed). To the Tower, a large restaurant-pizzeria at the foot of the clock tower, offers very good pizza, but restaurant dishes are expensive.
Around Castelfranco: Cittadella i Villa Emo
When Treviso turned Castelfranco into a garrison, the people of Padua responded immediately by strengthening the defense system in CITTADELLI, located Fr. 15 km west on the railroad from Vicenza. The fortified walls of the Citadella were erected in the first quarter of the 13th century. and make an even greater impression than those of the neighbor. The city is entered through one of the four torn brick gates; walking from the train station it will be Porta Padova, the most powerful of the four, flanked by the Torre di Malta tower. The tower was built as a prison and a place of torture by the beastly Ezzelin da Romano, whom the intimidated thirteenth-century people of the region called the Son of Satan. His atrocities secured him a place in the seventh circle of Dante's Inferno, where he was condemned to eternal damnation in a river of boiling blood. Apart from that, there is nothing interesting in Cittadella, but it is definitely worth getting off the train and "jumping" the walls.
Villa Emo w Fanzolo
Just 8 km northeast of Castelfranco lies FANZOLO, where Villa Emo is located (V-IX sb., nd. and holidays 15.00-18.00; X-IV on the same day 14.00-17.00; closed. on Easter, Christmas and New Years; 5000 L), which Palladio designed in the 1560s for Leonardo Emo, one of the first Venetian patricians, who turned his interests away from finance to farming. Main living rooms, similar to Villa Barbaro (see Asolo) they are covered with frescoes and although no one claims, that the works of Giambattista Zelotti are equal to the paintings of Paolo Veronese in Barbaro, everyday breakfasts face to face with these frescoes would probably please everyone. There are, however, two caveats; Bus connections to the villas are very few, and the high price of the admission ticket is unjustified.