Located just a few miles north of Venice, Treviso is a hidden gem in the Veneto region. With a network of flowing canals and arched bridges, Treviso is affectionately known as little Venice. Although Treviso does have some of the charm of Venice, the city has a lot less tourists. However, Treviso’s attractions extend beyond beautiful buildings in Treviso old town. There are plenty of things to do in Treviso – such as quality shopping in Treviso, great Treviso restaurants and delicious Treviso food. It’s definitely time for Treviso to come out from the shadow of its more famous neighbor!
Treviso started off as the Roman town “Tarvisium” before coming under the control of the Republic of Venice in the 14th century. Treviso’s ties to Venice lasted until the end of the 18th century and the Venetians conceding to Napoleon. The French didn’t last long before the Austrians took control and eventually Treviso became part of the Republic of Italy.
From the imposing defensive walls to the elaborate cathedrals and churches, Treviso history is mostly tied to its time in the Venetian Republic. The city you see today has been restored after having been heavily damaged by bombing during World War 2.
Treviso registered on American travelers minds due to the enormous popularity of John Grisham’s 2005 book, The Broker. The main character spends 4 days in Treviso before heading off to Bologna, Italy.
7 Cool Things to Do in Treviso
The charming and compact historic center of Treviso old town tends to get overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Venice.
Visiting the historic Treviso Duomo with its 7 giant domes is one of the best things to do in Treviso. Although the Treviso Cathedral dates back to the 6th century, the current Neoclassical structure with giant green domes and stone columns exists just from 1768.
Some of the highlights inside the Treviso cathedral a Titian altarpiece, an unfinished bell tower, and a crypt from the 11th-century containing the remains of past bishops. You can also stop by the neighboring Museo Diocesano to view more artwork, relics, and artifacts related to the cathedral.
City Walls and Gates
The inner city of Treviso is surrounded by 2.5 miles of Venetian brick wall. As the Venetian Republic’s first important mainland outpost, Treviso needed defending from invaders. The city walls and gates worked so well, Treviso was never invaded.
There are three gates surrounding Treviso old town from the 15th century.
- Porta San Tommaso is located on the North side of the city and honours St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered after a conflict with Henry II, King of England.
- Porta Santi Quaranta is located on the west side of the city and has a giant winged lion, the marker for the city of Venice.
- Porta Altinia is located on the south side of the city and served as the main entrance to and from Venice.
Fontana delle Tette
One of the most unique things to see in Treviso is the Fontana delle Tette which is a marble statue of a woman squeezing her big bosom While today’s version has water pouring from her nipples, the previous incarnation had wine flowing.
Every year for three days, the Treviso fountain would spout forth red and white wine from each breast, respectively, to celebrate the appointment of the chief magistrate of Venice. Obviously the local citizens were delighted with free wine!
The original was built in 1559 by the mayor and can be seen in neighbouring Palazzo dei Trecento. The Fontana delle Tette statue functioning today is a copy from 1989.
Location: A small courtyard near Calle del Podesta
Piazza dei Signori Treviso
At the heart of Treviso, Piazza dei Signori is a city square lined with ornate palaces and buildings the has been at the heart of Treviso’s government for centuries. Along the perimeter of the square, you’ll find the Palazzo del Podesta and the municipal library and gallery.
Among the Treviso things to do, you simply have to spend time at the Piazza dei Signori. There are also numerous cafes and restaurants where you can grab a coffee or bite to eat and watch daily life pass by.
Treviso tourist information is located on Piazza Monte di Piet which is located right behind the Treviso Piazza del Signori.
Historic Treviso City Center
The historic Treviso City Center is a delight to explore. Stroll around the network of canals and connecting bridges of Treviso old town while admiring the surrounding medieval buildings. With charming piazzas, stone palaces, and winding cobblestone alleys, you can easily spend an entire day getting lost in the beautiful Treviso old town.
The historic Treviso city center is a traffic limited area which makes walking around enjoyable. You can still spot some of the frescoes on the buildings fading gently in the Italian sun that give the city its other nickname, Painted City.
Some other cool things to see in Treviso:
- Adjoining the Treviso Piazza dei Signori, the Palazzo dei Trecento was built in the 12th century and housed the city’s council of 300 men.
- Dating from the 12th century, the towers of Treviso were used for strategic purposes, such as the Municipal Tower on the Palazzo del Podesta.
- Piazza Indipendenza is easily spotted as the location of the Benetton flagship store. There is a marble statue dedicated to the local patriots who died in the war of independence that ended Austrian rule in the region in order to join the newly-formed Italy.
- Chiesa di San Francesco is a Romanesque church from the 13th century. Napoleon’s troops used it to stable their horses continuing that humiliating idea of sstabling your horses in your enemies’ church. Now restored, the church has tombs of the children of two important Italian writers, Dante and Petrarch.
- Chiesa di San Nicolò is another 13th century church which shows off an interesting mix of Romanesque and Gothic influences.
- Monte di Pieta is a 15th century pawnshop located in Chiesa di Santa Lucia. Operated by Franciscan Friars, the pawnshop gave low cost loans to the city’s poor who would otherwise have to use Jewish moneylenders.
Treviso Fish Market
In the mid-19th century, the Treviso fish market was relocated to its current location on the Isola della Pescheria, an island in the Cagnan river. The fishmongers came from the island of Burano in Venice. Check out the Little Mermaid statue that reminded us of the more famous Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.
Even today, the fish and seafood stalls at Treviso Fish Market are a hub of action. Like at the Rialto Market in Venice, you can find the vegetable sellers nearby and all the action happens in the morning.
Canals and Water Mills
You can see why Treviso also has the nickname, City of Water. Unlike Venice, the canals of Treviso have flowing water from a river source.
The canals had water wheels which operated the mills in Treviso. The water wheels are still in operation as well even though they are no longer producing bread for the region.
The most picturesque Treviso canal is the canale dei Buranelli, named after a family of merchants from the Venetian island of Burano who lived here in the 16th century. One of the most picturesque spots is a stone ledge where the local women would wash their laundry.
Shopping in Treviso
Not only is Treviso a prosperous little city with locals who have disposable income, the area is also the world headquarters for several multinational brands such as Benetton, Sisely, Stefanel, (clothes) Geox (shoes), De Longhi (appliances) and Pinarello (bicycles).
Shopping in Treviso is a cheaper and more pleasurable experience than touristy Venice. While you won’t get your cheap Venetian knick-knacks (which are all made in China anyway), you will find quality Italian goods, including Murano glass.
Via Calmaggiore is the main Treviso shopping area and runs between the Piazza dei Signori and the Treviso Duomo. Here, you’ll find an array of international brands, luxury Italian shops, and independent retailers.
While exploring Treviso shopping delights, we found our favourite Italian chocolates – Venchi – on this street and Dassie Gelateria nearby. Since Dassie is supposed to have the best gelato in Treviso (and in 2018 got awarded best gelato in Italy), we had to give it a try! Verdict? YUM.
Treviso Food and Wine
As anyone will tell you, a part of living the good life involves culinary delights. In Treviso food culture is also highly evolved and exceptional.
Treviso Food Specialties
Treviso lettuce is known as radicchio, red with a bitter taste. Note there are two types of radicchio, both the Treviso kind and the Castelfranco kind – a yellow radiccio with red flecks created in the 17th century from Treviso radicchio.
From the Treviso region, there are also chestnuts, white and green asparagus and several cheeses made from cow’s milk (Casatella Trevigiana (soft), Ubriaco (crumbly), Montasio (crumbly) and Bastardo del Grappa (semi-firm).
Restaurants in Treviso has several famous dishes reflecting the bounty of its countryside such as
- pasta with radicchio
- pasta with beans (pasta e fasioi)
- risotto with radicchio
- risotto with peas
- risotto rosoline (with poppy leaves)
- pigeon meat and bread soup (sopa coada)
- marinated herrings with onions; and
- asparagus with hard-boiled eggs.
Treviso also lays claim to Prosecco and Tiramisu (both of which are also claimed by neighbouring Italian province, Friuli Venezia Giulia). When we were in Tolmezzo, we heard them say they invented tiramisu. Anyway, there is actually is a town called Prosecco in Friuli Venezia Giulia (that no longer produces prosecco).
Although Tiramisu is the most popular Italian dessert in the world, it was only invented in the 1960’s in Treviso at the Le Beccherie restaurant. Tiramisu shot to fame after the 1993 movie, Sleepless in Seattle, when the Tom Hanks character asks what it is.
The French have their assorted types of champagne, the Spanish have cava as their sparkling white wine. Thanks to the Italians we know what prosecco is – an Italian sparkling white wine. The difference between the champagne and prosecco wines is how they get their sparkle.
Most prosecco is either bubbly or fizzy. Italians drink prosecco at any time unlike elsewhere where it is considered an aperitif.
The Prosecco Hills of Conegliane and Valdiobbiadene have achieved a coveted UNESCO world heritage status since 2019. This particular area is supposed to produce the highest quality of prosecco. The equivalent of the Grand Cru of the region is from Cartizze.
From Treviso to Valdobbiadene, the official capital of prosecco, there are vineyards aplenty if you want to go taste testing.
Toni del Spin (7 Via Inferiore) is a trattoria that has been around since 1880 but there’s nothing old fashioned about this place. The menu changes daily reflecting seasonal products. Definitely check out the risotto al radicchio at Toni del Spin Treviso which is one of their popular dishes. The prosecco is supplied by the Daldin family.
Ristorante da Pino (23 Piazza dei Signori) is a family-friendly restaurant that has been serving pasta and pizza since 1972. Ther are a couple of locations but the Piazza dei Signori can’t be beat for people-watching.
Treviso Italy restaurants are also known for their fish dishes despite not being near the coast. Small Antico Morer (28 Via Jacopo Riccati) is highly regarded for its fish and seafood which the chef sources from the Pescheria.
Signore e Signori (10 Piazza dei Signori) is a centrally located coffeeshop great for coffee and pastries.
Bar Beltrame (27 Piazza dei Signori) is located nearby our other fave, Signor e Signori. With similar prime people watching opportunities, Bar Beltrame offers drinks and sandwiches as well.
Treviso Hotels Italy
There are plenty of hotels in Treviso Italy thanks to all of the business travellers who come to the city. If you are looking for stylish and charming hotels, Treviso Italy presents more of a challenge.
We’ve focused on hotels in Treviso old town which is the prettiest area to stay in the city. The downside with going for charm in the Treviso hotels scene though is that these Treviso hotels are on the smaller side.
Maison Matilda (44 via Jacopo Riccati) is a boutique Treviso hotel near the Piazza Duomo. Although this small hotel has only 6 rooms, they are impeccably styled – modern and neutral in a traditional setting. There’s no bar or restaurant at Maison Matilda Treviso but it is down the street from Antico Morer mentioned above.
Il Focalare Hotel Treviso (4 Piazza Giannino Ancilotto is a 14 room modern hotel in the old town near Pescheria. The rooms range from singles to deluxe double rooms (sleeping up to 3 people).
Palazzina 300 (8 Piazza dei Signori) is another small hotel in Treviso Italy with 7 modern rooms set in a traditional building (15th century). Some of the rooms even have a view of Piazza dei Signori.
Locanda San Tomaso (5 Viale Burchialetti) is a 3 room bed and breakfast near San Tomaso gate in old town Treviso. There is a family room at Locanda San Tomaso Treviso that can take up to 4 guests.
La Loggia Al Duomo (27 Piazza Duomo) is a luxury apartment for up to 6 people. Perfect for a family, there is also a kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms, laundry facilities and a large terrace overlooking the Duomo.
Getting To/From Treviso
Treviso Centrale station is served by Trenitalia with connections to any nearby city you may want to visit such as Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Udine and Trieste.
For example Venice-Treviso is only about a half-hour train ride away whereas Treviso to Trieste takes about 2 1/2 hours Both destinations have numerous trains during the day.
Treviso Airport is a hub for low-cost airlines, notably Ryanair, who use Treviso as a cheap alternative for getting to Venice. We can never recommend Ryanair because we consider them a last-choice resort to be avoided at all costs.
We travelled via British Airways to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport which was less than 1/2 hour away by car. You can also take a shuttle bus to Treviso from Treviso airport.
Venice – Treviso
Treviso to Venice (and vice versa) is one of the easiest day trips in the area.
How far is Treviso from Venice?
The Treviso to Venice distance is approximately 16-miles. The Treviso to Venice by train which makes it one of the best day trips from Venice.
How to get to Treviso from Venice?
For those making a day trip from Venice, Italy, the most affordable transportation option is to take the train from Treviso to Venice. The Treviso to Venice train (and vice versa) only costs a few Euros. Once you arrive at the Treviso Centrale station, it’s just a five-minute walk to the gate of Treviso old town.
It’s also possible to hire a private taxi to take you from Treviso to Venice. Although the taxi is a quieter and more relaxing way to travel from Treviso to Venice, the 40-minute journey can cost upwards of 80 Euros each way.
We drove from Treviso to Venice Airport, dropped off the car and took a Venice water taxi into the city.
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