The city of Treviso, described as "the Little Venice"
Story and photo essay by Dwight Casimere
TREVISO, Italy--Known as "the little Venice," Treviso is famous for its Renaissance and Medieval architecture and the rivers running through the city that caress them. The source of the main tributary is the Gorgazzo Spring, a natural cavity at the mouth of the river. Created by the erosion of water through a fault which runs through it, it is evidenced by a small lake seen on the surface. It is one of the focal points of eontourism in Italy, one of that country's fastest growing industries. Tourists combine visits to wineries with winetasting and the sampling of local cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs and side trips to ecological wonders, such as the Gorgazzo Spring. The grape harvest will also begin in earnest the latter part of August and through the month of September and early October. The weather is perfect, the atmosphere is filled with the rapture of winemaking and the vistas are ablaze with fall colors. There could not be a more excellent time to visit.
An inspiration for famous painters for centuries, the Gorgazzo Spring is a sight to behold. The famous Italian geographer, Giovanni Marinelli (1846-1900) penned these poetic words in describing it:
"Take the emerald color, the turquoise and the beryl ones, put them into a sea of lapis-lazuli, so that everything mixes and at the same time, each of them keeps its own originality, and you have that one piece of liquid sky that is called Gorgazzo."
In geographic terms, the spring was created when water erosion and tectonic discontinuity created the hollow of the springs. The surface pond was created from the collapse of a vault under the thrust of water. Not far beneath the surface is a cave, which has attracterd numerous divers to traverse its narrow and curvy tunnel. Divers have yet to reach the end. Unfortunately, a few of these underwater explorations proved to be fatal, and the cave has been closed to diving since 1999. But, each year, divers gather at Christmas at a lighted statue of the Christ, erected as a guardian at the mouth of the cave, for a beautiful underwater mass. Despite vast research and numerous theories, the exact source of the Gorgazzo Spring remains a mystery.
The Gorgazzo Spring is also a destination for lovers. There is no more romantic experience in all of Italy than to have your feet washed by your loved one in the Springs of Gorgazzo!
Other highlights include a visit to the Maglio of Francenigo, the blacksmith mill near the town of Galarine, a seminal location of the local culture. The mill speaks to the agricultural origins and the rich history and traditions of the town. Farmers came to the mill to repair their tools. A blacksmith still works daily at the mill, recreating the pichforks, plows, hoes, shovels and other farm implements. The blacksmith working at the mill is not a theme-park actor. He's a real blacksmith who has worked at the mill since he was 14 years old. He is 75 years old and as dedicated to his work today as he was as a fresh-faced teen. This is followed by a delightful lunch and wine tasting at San Simone di Brisotto Srl in Procia in the province of Pordene. The buffet, prepared by a local award-winning chef featured a Frittate (Italian omelet) filled with local crustaceans; baby fresh-water shrimp and tiny soft-shelled crabs which the chef only moments before had scooped with a net from a lake within one of the vineyards. Served with San Simone Il Concerto Prosecco DOC Brut, it was an exquisite repast.
A leisurely boat trip to Livenza tops off the afternoon, before a visit to Portobuffole', a comune (municipality) in the province of Treviso in the Veneto, about 30 miles northeast of Venice. The sights include the Duomo (Cathedral) which was originally a Jewish synagogue, which was reconsecrated in 1559. During the Middle Ages, the town, which was of Roman origins, was under the rule of the patriarchs of Aquileia, bishops of Ceneda, the comune of Treviso (1166) and then again under the bishops of Ceneda in 1242. After a period of rule under de Camino (1307-1336), it became a part of the Republic of Venice, beginning in 1339.
Wine tasting and dinner at Cantina Paladin followed, Learn more about their exquisite wines and Prosecco DOC at www.paladin.it.
The magical city of Venice is the final stop and the scene of an informal celebration of my birthday after a walking tour that included a stop at the famous Bridge of Sighs and a night at a boutique hotel on the Grand Canal. Our tour group indulged me with an impromptu birthday celebration and toast at the Oster Mauro Lorenzon, so named for the locally famous owner, who is a Sommelier and chef and madcap prankster. He is known for such antics as popping a champagne cork using a light sabre. Somewhat of an artist himself, Sommelier Lorenzon is also a winemaker with his own label. His animated face and demeaner has invited many caricatures and the walls of the restaurant are lined with renderings of his distinctive visage, which were drawn by artists from far and wide who come to visit his unique restaurant. The atmosphere is casual, the wine and food are "squisito" (delicious). Many of Mauro's culinary creations, such as his signature Risotto made with his own label of Dorona wine, are prepared by him in a chafing dish right at the wine bar. It makes for an exciting, and sometimes comical, display of culinary wizardry! Morning capuccino on the deck overlooking the Grand Canal was the finale on a sun-drenched morning in the world's most romantic city.
At the commune of Portobuffole in the Province of Treviso
Below: Inside the cathedral which was once a synagogue
The blacksmith mill of Francenigo near Galarine
Approaching Venice Harbor by water taxi
The Grand Canal at dusk