23 May 2019

History of a twinning meeting: NELLA TERRA DEL PALLADIO- year 2019

History of a twinning meeting: NELLA TERRA DEL PALLADIO- year 2019

Twinned Club Meeting between RC Milano Nord Ovest and RC Nürnberg
Vicenza/Bassano 23rd – 26th May 2019
To witness a friendship that has lasted for years and is consolidated over time.

Thursday 23 May. Milan-Bassano

At 14.30 meeting at the bus for us Milanese, RC Nuremberg is already waiting for us in Bassano.

Shortly before dinner we arrive at our hotel (Bonotto Hotel Belvedere) and are greeted by the smile of Immo Bennewitz. We have little time and then we can officially start the three days of friendship.

The hotel is nice and above all the food is very good, which on these occasions is no small thing. After an aperitif full of delicacies, we sit down at the tables for the gala dinner introduced by the two presidents of the respective Rotary. We may still be a little shy with each other, but it doesn’t take long for our glances and smiles to become complicit.

The occasion was made even more solemn by the presentation by Rotary Nuremberg of yet another Paul Harris award to our member Fabio Toldo and to our friend and honorary member Immo Bennewitz, who with this one has reached the maximum number of awards with the 3 rubies.

Friday 24 May. Bassano.

After breakfast, we met up with our guides who, just like at school, divided us into classes (German and Italian) and, after equipping us with earphones and a small radio, took us on a tour of discovery of Bassano, a tranquil town nestled on the banks of the Brenta. Like diligent students, we follow the explanations and are surprised by the ancient village, whose buildings remind us that this was once the territory of the Serenissima. Without noticing the passage of time and space we find ourselves, not by chance, on the bridge called “Ponte degli Alpini”, which unfortunately due to work cannot be fully enjoyed, so we make up for it with a visit to the historic Distilleria B. Nardini. Nardini distillery. The scent of their distillates alone inebriates us and prepares us for the lunch that awaits us shortly afterwards (lunch at the “Garage Nardini”).

At the afternoon appointment we all arrived refreshed. Ca’ Erizzo, with its museums, awaits us.

The villa, just outside the walls of Bassano, is an oasis of tranquillity. We are welcomed into a small chapel where we are shown videos of the history of the place and of white asparagus, a unique and typical delicacy of Bassano. We then visit the museum dedicated to Hemingway, who was a guest here when he was a volunteer for the Red Cross, and the wild life museum with its unique exhibition put together by the owner of Ca’ Erizzo, Renato Luca, a Rotarian member of the RC of Bassano.

Outside the museum halls stretches the park, a real oasis of peace, which contributes to making the building even more elegant.

Time passes and dinner time arrives. Asparagus reigns supreme in all the courses.  Back at the hotel, a nightcap with a quiet chat awaits us before we drift off to sleep.

Saturday 25 May. Vicenza

We wake up early and leave for Vicenza by bus. If the weather had smiled at us the day before, today it decided to make us fear the worst. Fortunately the storm that was threatening the air broke out while we were on our way and on our arrival everything seemed to be resolved.

The groups are recreated again and the two classes neatly split up and follow their ‘teachers’. Vicenza immediately appears to us in all its splendour. The Palladian architecture is underlined in its classicism by the white materials used, and while we stroll around enraptured in front of the beauty of the buildings and the ‘basilica’, we don’t realise the background buzz of the people of Vicenza who don’t give up their morning coffee ritual by getting lost in conversation. It is these that mark their time, not the clocks that we are forced to watch so as not to be late for our appointment to visit the “Olympic Theatre”, built to a design by Andrea Palladio and completed after his death by the architect Andrea Scamozzi.

After an excellent lunch (Antica casa della Malvasia) we continue our tour of Monte Berico with a visit to two jewels set in a fairytale landscape. Villa Valmarana ai Nani with its frescoes by Tiepolo in evanescent hues and Villa Capra Valmarana known as “la Rotonda” with its rigid and regular architecture.

On the way back the weather, which up until then had given us a respite with the sun, turned darker and again gave us rain, which however stopped when we arrived at the hotel.

The last dinner (Trevisani restaurant) was like fireworks on a calm summer evening. A unique explosion of flavours and fragrances accompanied by a tasting of grappa in the small cellar below the restaurant. 

The nightcap was already waiting for us when we returned to the hotel.

Sunday 26 May. Possagno

Early departure, today we are all a bit melancholic. Some of our friends are not coming with us because they have to return to Germany first. We say goodbye to them with the promise to see each other again at the next meeting. The bus leaves with a few seats free and after a short drive we arrive in Possagno, the birthplace of the sculptor Antonio Canova. The visit to the temple is unfortunately prevented because of an event involving the church. So we immediately go to visit Canova’s house and the gallery of plaster casts dedicated to him and designed by the architect Carlo Scarpa, who has managed to build a place suspended in time and light that highlights the sculptor’s individual works. Everything is white, everything is silence and beauty.

Unfortunately, the visit is short-lived and we have to return to the hotel for a quick buffet before our departures.

The goodbyes are always sad and sincere and it is only in those moments that you realise how quickly time passes.

Our promise to each other is to meet again in November 2020.

Margherita Ghirardi