Spotlight on: Braving Grappa in Bassano del Grappa

A View from the Bridge

A View from the Bridge

Straddling the Brenta River, Bassano del Grappa doesn’t often fall on “must see destinations”…but it should!

Only an hour train ride from Padua and approximately two hours from Verona or Venice, Bassano del Grappa certainly warrants (at least!) a day trip.

Walking along the winding cobblestone pathways, enjoy Bassano’s medieval character and discover the rich and proud history of this appealing Alpine town.

Central to the town and its history is Ponte degli Alpini bridge. The distinctive wooden bridge, designed in 1569 by Palladio, has had many lives! Destroyed and rebuilt many times, it has played a significant historical role over the centuries.

The bridge is revered by the Alpini, Italy’s distinguished Alpine fighting force, who often return to remember their days as Alpine soldiers. It was the Alpini who recently rebuilt the bridge in 1948 after World War II. A must is a visit to the Museo degli Alpini, which is located just across from Ponte degli Alpini  downstairs in a bar of the same name. It is history of Bassano del Grappa and testimony to the proud bravery and history of the town and the Alpini soldiers.

Standing on  Ponte we stop to admire the panoramic view. It’s hard to believe that this now peaceful and idyllic vista has witnessed many battles, but visible bullet holes in nearby buildings are stark reminders of the past.

On the other side of the bridge is the grapperia, Nardini Tavern, where we decided to do our grappa tasting. Nardini has been producing grappa since 1779, and is still run today by seventh generation family members.

Grappa is a liquor distilled from pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks and stems. The pomace, which is graspa in Italian, is actually the namesake of the town and not the liquor itself. Grappa is extremely popular in Italy and is enjoyed primarily as a digestivo or after-dinner drink to aid in digestion. You can also enjoy grappa in a caffe corretto when it is added to espresso.

Grappa tasting, what else?

Grappa tasting, what else?

Although it’s never been a personal favorite,  after all …when in Rome and all that… Not trying grappa in Bassano del Grappa??  Not really an option. After all, if the soldiers brought it to the front lines to warm and comfort them, it’s the least I can do to brave a tasting (but only 3, thank you very much!). Deceptively innocent in appearance, grappa packs a punch.

With an alcohol content that can range from ranging from 40 -80%++, tastings include the traditional clear to amber Riserva. I must say I was pleasantly surprised and definitely warmed by this Italian favorite!


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