Defined by Giosuè Carducci “the city of the thousand horizons”, Asolo is one of the most breathtaking historical centres of whole Italy. Holden by the ancient walls that originate from the 12th century’s old Keep, it provides in each glimpse you can throw around the city some evidence of its millenary history.
Asolo has always been a beacon for artists, wayfarers, poets and writers due to the charm of art and to the magic the landscape, offering them peace and great inspiration to be found.
Between them we can mention the english poet Robert Browning, the Goddess of theatre Eleonora Duse, the composer Gran Francesco Malipiero, the english writer and traveller Freya Stark.
The prosperous setting, the mildness of the weather and the secrecy of the location has also gifted Asolo since the prehistorical ages with many settlements and crossroads of civilisation.
Set in between some of the mildest hills of the region, Asolo rises on the vestige of the older Acelum, quoted by Plinium the Old in the 1st Century a.D..The Roman Asolo went through a severe famine: the city, which also became “municipium”, developed mostly between the 1st Century b.C and the 1st Century a.D..
Old remains show that an Aqueduct was present as well as thermal structures, but also a Forum and a Theatre, witnessing Asolo’s great importance in the Roman Era. Ancient Christian center, already in the sixth century. it had a bishop and maintained the episcopal see until 969 when it became a fief of the bishopric of Treviso. At alternate periods between the 11th and 14th centuries. it experienced the hegemony of various powerful families (Tempesta, Ezzelini, da Camino, Scaligeri, Carraresi) and, finally, of Venice. Starting from the end of the 1300s with the Venetian domination, the city entered a phase of great splendour: in 1489 Venice invested the Signoria of Asolo Caterina Cornaro, former queen of Cyprus, who gave life to a sumptuous Renaissance court of artists, writers and poets, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s art and ideal. Venice gave Asolo an important urban rearrangement and bound it to itself and its aristocracy in an essential way until the fall of the Serenissima. In 1797 Napoleon made his entrance there. In the nineteenth century with the Austrian domination Asolo was affected by reforms of civil institutions and by a program of public works, such as the restructuring of the Duse theater. Finally in 1866 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Caterina Cornaro, former Queen of Cyprus, in exile in Asolo since 1489, knew how to create a splendid Renaissance court in the castle that still bears her name today. Eleonora Duse, divine of international theater came to Asolo to rest from the fatigue of the stage and she too chose to be buried there. Freya Stark, explorer, writer and photographer, had Asolo as a privileged destination for her return from her travels and she too was buried here, in the cemetery of S.Anna.
Pietro Bembo wrote the “Asolani” precisely during the years of his stay with Queen Cornaro; the nature in which she is immersed lives again in the paintings of Giorgione, Lotto, Bassano; the grace of the landscape inspired the genius of Palladio, Massari, Canova; Gian Francesco Malipiero composed the “Poemi Asolani” for piano and the poet Robert Browning told in his verses the essence of the beautiful Venetian town by coining the term “Asolando”, or “go for a walk freely abandoning yourself to the beauty of nature”.