When the decadence and decay that are the charms of Venice have worn thin, adjacent towns of the Veneto Plain offer a quiet respite. Bassano del Grappa, a walled medieval city of 40,000 inhabitants—and birthplace of Italy’s preferred after-dinner drink—lies just 45 miles west of the Venice airport. Yet the town affords the finest of Italy—from Renaissance art and Palladian architecture to exquisite northern cuisine and wines—in a secluded setting unknown to the tourist hordes.
Located on the outskirts of Bassano is Villa Ca’ Sette, a small Venetian-style villa built in the 1700s and transformed into a hotel in 2001. In renovating the property, the owners aimed to integrate refined contemporary architecture and amenities while preserving the character of the main building and 16th-century stables. They succeeded undeniably and, in so doing, created a rare and remarkable jewel for the few guests fortunate enough to find their way to Ca’ Sette.
Ca’ Sette’s Napoléon Suite—his troops were sequestered in the villa during the battle of Brenta—occupies the upper floor of the main building. The Barchessa, a former shelter for animals that sits adjacent to the villa, houses the remainder of the guest rooms, in which modern appointments and furnishings contrast strikingly with ancient stone walls and wood beams.
The ground floor of the villa is home to Ca’ Sette’s formal and intimate Ca’ 7 restaurant. Fresh local vegetables, meats, and seafood complement a comprehensive wine list, highlighted by the region’s splendid yet unheralded Prosecco. Breakfast is served in the restaurant or on the patio, which looks out on fountains, a manicured garden, and olive groves.
Villa Ca’ Sette—and Bassano del Grappa as a whole—presents a tasteful and unpretentious setting in which to enjoy the beauty, sustenance, and sophistication of Italy. It is, quite simply, low-key luxury at its best.
Villa Ca’ Sette
On the outskirts of the walled city of Bassano del Grappa in northern Italy.
Napoléon Suite, family and junior suites, double and single rooms.
Mountain biking, hang gliding, or skiing in the Dolomites; Italian racecars at the Bassano auto museum.
Ca’ 7 restaurant; white asparagus and mushroom connoisseurs take note.
Visit Palladio’s villas along the Brenta Canal and discover the adjacent towns of Asolo, Marostica (with its human chessboard and Castello Superiore), Padua, and Vicenza. Tour Prosecco wineries (such as Bisol in Valdobbiadene) and Nardini’s famous grappa bar in Bassano.
Doubles from €160; Napoléon Suite from €350.
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