We went to Monte Berico for some fantastic panoramic views of Vicenza and to feel like we’ve actually done something after a week of mostly staying in and avoiding the cold weather at all cost.
Monte Berico is a hill overlooking Vicenza. Even though there was still some snow left on its slopes from the heavy snowfall about ten days ago, the sun was shining bright and the town spread all the way to the mountains on the horizon in front of our eyes.
Right in the middle stood Palladio’s Basilica – the pearl in Vicenza’s crown, easily recognisable with its green domed roof and very tall tower.
It felt good to be out and about in the New Year. The fabulous view that Monte Berico afforded us made me feel like I had wings and could see the big picture of the year ahead of us, rather than succumbing to the humdrum of daily life.
Atop of Monte Berico is a church which was built after the Virgin Mary appeared there twice almost six centuries ago. At the time the plague was raging in the region of Veneto and the Virgin promised to deliver the people from the terrible disease.
The church is beautiful and many works of art are kept in it, including a painting by Veronese.
My absolute favourite though is the arcade which starts at the bottom of the hill and then takes you on a steep climb to the church at its very top.
The ascent is arduous and joggers often can be seen running from the bottom of the arcade all the way to the top and then back.
After a few days spent mostly holed up at home, I found our brisk walk in the arcade a pleasant and contemplative experience.
There were hardly any people around. The sun was shining through the columns offsetting their dark shadows on the stone floor.
Proud cypresses stood guard over the arches.
It was quiet and peaceful.
All in all, it was a fabulous way to re-connect with Italy and to start looking forward to an exciting year ahead of us.