Wonder  }  Mountains and hills

The five days of Vo' - 1 DI 6

Vo' Vecchio and the Bisatto Canal

First day

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Where is


35030 Vo' Vecchio PD, Italia (14m s.l.m.)


The journey ideally begins in Longare, where the Bisatto canal is derived from the Bacchiglione. The year 1134 runs when Vicenza decides to cut off the water to Padua by diverting the waters of the river that touches both cities. It was quite a joke. Settling the issue would be a few years later the Peace of Fontaniva, which would deliver the Bisatto to a more reasonable commercial function. Today the state highway that goes by the name Riviera Berica accompanies the canal southward, which then bypasses the Euganean Mountains on its way to Monselice. By the way, Bisatto perhaps because of the bisate, the eels in which it was apparently rich, or perhaps because of how it then meanders in crossing the Bassa Padovana.

Vo' Vecchio: the characteristic picture formed by Villa Contarini and the two diverging barchesse that open the perspective toward the brolo and park.

So we cross the border between the two provinces and without losing sight of the embankment we reach our first destination: Vo' Vecchio, from the Latin vadum, ford and by extension landing place, an ancient river station. Today a place out of time, with a porticoed square tangent to the waterway and the superb residence of the Contarini, an ancient patrician family that would give as many as eight doges to the Republic of Venice. It is known how it went: in the 15th century the Serenissima was up in arms against the Turks on the seas, reasoning that it would resign itself to the idea of taking care of its mainland as well.

The Euganean Hills, fertile countryside and vineyard slopes, also offer unparalleled splitting stone, the rough trachyte with which St. Mark's Square will also be paved. Everything converged toward the harbor on the Bisatto - sacks, barrels, hewed stones - to be embarked on the barges, which would descend it in the trickle of the current and then ascend it again by horse-drawn tow. One can only imagine the excitement in the village and its tavern.

Tangent to the Bisatto Canal is the ancient Market Square of Vo' Vecchio, porticoed on two sides, once the beating heart of the town and the surrounding area.

Across the street, rather than a villa, the Contarini's would be said to be a palace: square plan and three floors above ground, a scenic staircase and passing halls. From the windows, however, one recovers its rural dimension: the two porch farms; the curvilinear brolo and beyond the park the reclaimed land against the backdrop of the hills. Today it is all still under the summer sun: jujube and medlar plants in a forgotten vegetable garden; cooing turtle doves and distant voices; a hum of dragonflies on the canal lily pads. The conservator of the villa is chatty, and eventually the talk turns to eating: here on Fridays gnocchi, "vènare gnocolaro," are a precept, and they also make them Venetian style: butter, cinnamon and sugar. In the glass a Bianco dei Colli Euganei: Garganega, Tai, Serprina, Pinella, Moscato...intriguing blend.

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Francesco Soletti


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