A holiday in Veneto in the Euganean hills. 10 good reasons to go
A holiday in Veneto in the Euganean hills (Colli Euganei) is a way to discover the heart and core of this north-eastern region of Italy, that way greatly combining art, history, wine and food and a dive into nature. Talking about health, this is also the most important thermal hub of Europe.
It is hard to explain effectively the allure of this area, and even more difficult is to summarize in a few words all the things to see and to do in this district of Veneto blessed with beauty.
Many European artists and poets over the centuries happened to fall in love with those hills: fortunately, unlikely some areas down in the Veneto plain, they have remained still relatively unspoilt. Since 1989 this natural and cultural heritage is protected, being part of the 20,000ha/50,000ac of the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei (Regional Park of the Euganean hills).
The Euganean hills are made up of 81 hills, the tallest – Mount Venda - measuring 601 mt/1884ft in height. They have originated from a volcanic eruption dating back to around 40 millions of years ago. Rising sharply from the plain, they are characterized by different heights and shapes: some of them are cone-shaped or funnily pointy as if they have been sketched by a child. Spotting them while approaching from the surrounding plain is a pleasant view, but the best has yet to come!
Here below I’ve tried to put together a few solid grounds why you might want to spend some days of your holiday in Veneto in the Euganean hills. Keep on reading, I guarantee that you’ll not be disappointed.
11 reasons for a holiday in Veneto in the Euganean hills
The beauty of the natural setting: the Euganean hills are blesses with a relatively mild climate all year round (compared to the colder plain), and boast a great variety of flora, ranging from the Mediterranean type to the lush foothill vegetation, like chestnuts, oaks, and so on. They are also home to different animal species, like foxes, and supposedly 129 species of birds, among them robins, oaks and owls, just to name a few.
Many possibilities to enjoy the spectacular nature while keeping in shape and practicing sports. Do you like horseback riding? Or are you a beginner and want to learn? There are numerous stables all over, and the area is plenty of trails.
The same goes for those passionate about mountain biking: there are dozens of scenic routes that goes across artistic and naturalistic attractions.
If you are fond of hiking, the Park has restored and marked with signs the most important trails, providing them with rest areas. At the moment there are 14 of them, of different lenghts ranging from a 10 minutes walk to the 22Km/13,70mi of the Atestino trail, which starts in the enchanting village of Arquà Petrarca.
The area offers also some Golf Clubs, located in the villages of Selvazzano, Galzignano and Rovolon.
If you like the small medieval towns, in the Euganean hills you’ll be spoilt for choice. One of them is Arquà Petrarca , considered among the most beautiful villages of Italy, surrounded by a timeless and bucolic setting. Another one is the walled town of Este, beloved by artists of the likes of Lord Byron, Debussy and Shelley. Then the fief Baone, and the village of Cinto Euganeo with its still working Roman aqueduct. At the foot of the Euganean hills lies the walled town Montagnana, 2Km/1.25mi of medieval walls and towers among the best preserved of Europe. Interesting to see are also some majestic Middle Ages castles, very well preserved and open to visitors, like the Castello del Catajo in Battaglia Terme, the castle of Monselice and the castle Carrarese di Valbona, located in Lozzo Atestino. In Teolo you can visit a big medieval monastery, the Praglia Abbey (Abbazia di Praglia), and even spend some days there on a spiritual retreat!
A holiday in Veneto should not overlook the important architectural heritage of this region: the ancient aristocratic villas. The Euganean hills are dotted with those elegant and prestigious old mansions built by the wealthy Venetian aristocrats and merchants since the 1400s. Just to name a few, Villa Dei Vescovi, Villa Beatrice d’Este, Villa Emo Capodilista, villa Barbarigo, this one famous for its splendid ancient italianate garden, among the best preserved of all Europe, and so on..
Food and wine lovers should not miss a getaway in the Euganean hills, blessed with an excellent culinary tradition. It is a wine producing area and it is dotted with vines and wine farms open to visitors for wine tasting experiences. Not to mention restaurants, trattorias and agriturismi spread all over the area. The Euganean hills are also an olive oil producing area.
The Euganean hills area is renowned all over the world for its numerous thermal Spas. The ancient Romans would appreciate the thermal springs of those Veneto's areas, taking advantage of the therapeutic and cosmetic properties of the many thermal springs and muds. The thermal waters start their journey at the foothills of the Alps and while flowing underground they get enriched in plenty of minerals and thermal clay, reaching the surface at a temperature of 87C/188F.
Last but not least, the Euganean hills lie in a strategic position for a holiday in Veneto, being an excellent starting point for a visit to the main destinations of the region, like Venice, Vicenza, Padua, etc.