Treviso is a city that is often overlooked due to its close proximity to Venice but it is an amazing tourist destination and has a great deal to offer for those who are willing to explore! This city is located approximately 40 minutes from Venice and has a population of over 80,000 – most of the citizens of Treviso live outside the historic city walls and the hinterland however.
Treviso has Celtic origins and it was thought that the Celts settled here originally. In 89 BC however the settlement was turned into a Roman Commune and developed into an important city. Throughout the Middle Ages, Treviso was part of the Lombard League and was involved in various sieges and conflicts; hence the need for its stunning city walls and defensive towers. It is said that Treviso is the site of the original production of Prosecco wine, and some historians believe it is the birthplace of the Italian dessert Tiramisu.
In terms of tourism, Treviso benefits from its historical defensive fortifications which still stand in a fantastic condition today. Furthermore, the city has a host of important and decadent religious structures and a plethora of interesting museums. Venice is not the only Italian city to have canals either – Treviso has a gorgeous array of canals that are perfect to explore in the fine weather.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Treviso:
1. Treviso Cathedral
Treviso Cathedral is undoubtedly the most impressive structure in the city and is crowned with five huge green domes.
The cathedral is located in the northern part of the historic town centre and is easily reached on foot from the Piazza dei Signori.
At the western edge of the Cathedral, the entrance features a columned portico that looks more like an ancient Roman temple rather than a 15th century church.
Aside from the portico, the exterior is quite reserved and simplistic, but the interior features some gorgeous artwork and frescos.
The Malchiostro Chapel is particularly noteworthy and contains some gorgeous religious artwork.
Furthermore, underneath the church you can find the original crypt that dates back to the 11th century.
2. Museo Diocesano
Next to Treviso Cathedral is the Museo Diocesano which contains a fantastic array of relics and artefacts relating to the church and the religious history of the city.
The ground floor of this museum contains various archaeological finds from the region including a brilliant collection of marble statues.
Continuing on, the second floor contains a host of religious artwork dating as far back as the 13th century from such artists as Batoni and Rocco Marconi.
Finally, on the other floors you can find the goldsmith and the section devoted to sacred fabrics.
The goldsmith contains an interesting collection of religious jewellery and accessories such as crucifixes and embossed books.
The section of sacred wraps contains some gorgeous tapestries and religious garments.
3. Walk around the ancient City walls and gates
Treviso is an ancient city that had an extensive system of defensive fortifications, guard towers and gates.
The historic old town is still separated today from the modern parts and much of the cities original city walls and gates remain in good condition.
Created in the 15th century, the walls covered the entirety of the old town and much of the sections ran parallel to the River Sile and the man-made canals that were channelled.
Porta San Tomaso and Porta Santi Quaranta are two of the most impressive gatehouses that still stand, and in the north eastern corner of the old town, you can see one of the round towers that served as a defensive garrison.
Take time to explore the walls and gates and admire the architecture and significance.
4. Chiesa di San Nicolo
The Church of San Nicolo is another important religious structure in the historic old town.
Located in the south western part of the old town, the church is of immense size and towers over the surrounding structures.
Originally the church was constructed around the 13th century by the Dominican Friars who settled in Treviso.
The exterior of the church is relatively simple and features minimal decoration but the interior contrasts greatly.
Inside the church you can see a great deal of decoration and features such as the wooden panelled ceiling, the stone and brick columns and arches, and the coloured tiled floor.
Furthermore, the church is decorated with a myriad of frescos from various time periods and contains a fantastically decorated organ.
5. Walk along the beautiful canals
Although Treviso is often overshadowed by the undeniably beautiful Venice, but it has a range of man-made canals that wind through the historic city centre.
These canals join onto the River Sile and were used historically for transportation of goods through Treviso.
This network of canals has a range of connecting bridges and when visiting this town, it is a great idea to simply walk through the streets and explore the hidden waterways.
These picturesque waterways are simply beautiful and the water flows right up to the houses – most of which have small docking platforms or terraces that open out onto the water.
Furthermore, you can also find a range of water wheels that are remnants of a simpler time.
6. Watch the locals at the Pescheria
Treviso is known for the Isola della Pescheria which is literally an island dedicated to the sale of fresh fish.
Located on one of the central canals in the town centre, this small island can be accessed by two bridges and in the centre there is a bustling fish market.
This part of Treviso is one of the most authentic and there is no better way to watch the locals than to visit the fish market and watch the traders and buyers haggle and strike up a deal.
Surrounding the fish market you can find several sculptures such as a mermaid and fish which adds to the style and intrigue of this wonderful place.
7. Piazza dei Signori
The Piazza dei Signori is one of the main squares in the old town of Treviso and is a great place to visit.
The architecture surrounding the square is sublime and the Prefettura di Treviso features an ornate front facade and an immense bell tower, while the Palazzo dei Trecento has a beautiful arched loggia.
Markets are often held here and sometimes concerts or important events are held here – it is not uncommon to see rows of chairs set out on the squares for whatever event is on.
Surrounding the square you can find a range of cafes and restaurants but also a host of shops and stalls.
8. Chiesa di San Francesco
The last of the large churches in the historic old town of Treviso is the Church of San Francesco.
This church is located in the northern corner of the old town on Via San Francesco.
Constructed in the 13th century, the church features a Romanesque design and has a large bell tower at the rear of the building.
Over the years the church fell into disrepair and it was used at times as a stable and a military barracks – it was not until 1928 that it was restored to its former glory.
The interior of the church is plain but striking and features a some beautiful coloured mosaics and a multitude of religious decoration.
9. Museo Bailo
The Luigi Bailo Civic Museum is named after Luigi Bailo who was the first director of the Treviso Civic Museum chain.
This museum is located in the north western corner of the old town and can be found on the Borgo Camillo.
Within the confines of the museum you can find a fantastic collection of art and archaeology.
The art section contains both historical works and contemporary art spanning Impressionism to Avant-garde.
For those who appreciate fine art, this museum will prove to be facinating.
10. Piazza San Vito
This square is actually only a short distance from the Piazza dei Signori and cover a larger area.
You can walk to the San Vito Piazza and it is a pleasant place to enjoy a drink or do a little shopping.
The Piazza is surrounded by beautiful buildings – the structure at the north edge of the square has a gorgeous arched loggia, as does the structure on the eastern side of the square.
Furthermore, in the centre there is a small fountain and a large outdoor seating area for the cafes that sit on the piazza.
In the immediate vicinity of the square and streets such as Via Campana you can find a range of shops to peruse together with some first class restaurants.
11. Take a trip to Venice
When visiting Treviso, you cannot pass up the chance to travel to Venice – the island city of love.
Venice is a truly unique place and is renowned worldwide for its stunning network of canals and waterways.
The city of Venice is actually made up of hundreds of small islands that are interconnected with canals and bridges.
The Grand Canal flows through the centre of Venice and serves as the main thoroughfare through the city – consider taking a water taxi or a gondola on here to the Rialto Bridge.
Aside from the canals, Venice also has a range of beautiful structures such as St. Mark’s Campanile, St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore and the aforementioned Rialto Bridge.
This historical city is bursting with attractions and can be reached from Treviso in under 40 minutes by train or bus.
12. Enjoy a beer at the Helmut Bar
Treviso is not know for its vibrant nightlife but it does have a selection of brilliant bars and clubs if you are looking for a night out in the city.
The Helmut bar benefits from a great location, a lively atmosphere and a fantastic selection of beers, ales and spirits.
This bar is only a short distance from the Piazza dei Signori and is one of the best locations to enjoy a few drinks in the evening.
Aside from the extensive range of alcoholic beverages, you can also order a range of snacks such as club sandwiches and chips – all of which are cooked to perfection and taste great.
Come to Helmut for a memorable evening and to mingle with the locals!
13. Enjoy a fine dining experience at the Carbone Restaurant
Treviso has a range of quality restaurants but if you are looking for authentic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, the Carbone restaurants is definitely worth a visit.
This establishment serves a range of dishes and speciliases in meat courses – you can choose a variety of mouth-watering steaks that are cooked just to your liking.
Each meal is beautifully presented and tastes absolutely divine.
You can also choose from a range of accompanying wines and some fabulous desserts too to round off your evening of culinary delights.
14. Enjoy a coffee at the Signore & Signori Café
Located in the important Piazza dei Signori, the Signore & Signori Cafe is a fine establishment and a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious coffee or some gelato.
This cafe has an outdoor seating area that is covered by an horning and from here you can watch the comings and goings of the locals in the square.
The coffee is simply fantastic and you can choose from a variety of different blends.
Furthermore, they have an amazing range of Gelato and some tasty flavours such as strawberries and tiramisu.
While walking through the town centre, consider stopping here to rejuvenate and to recharge your batteries with a bite to eat and a drink.
15. Take a trip to Padua
Padua is another fantastic city that is located only a short distance from Treviso.
Padua is located to the south west of Treviso and can be reached via train or bus in approximately one hour.
This commune has a great deal to offer considering its relative size and it is known as being the university city where Galileo was educated.
The main attractions of Padua include the gorgeous Basilica di Sant Antonio, the Piazza dei Signori, Padua Cathedral and the botanical gardens.
Furthermore, like Treviso and Venice, Padua has a small network of canals that are waiting to be explored.