In this chapter we discuss the fascinating story of Montecchio Maggiore, immersed in legends and stories of ancient times.
Montecchio Maggiore is one of the liveliest and most characteristic villages in the province of Vicenza and its name derives from the Latin “Monticulus”, which probably means small mountain or mound; only later was added “maggiore”, probably to distinguish it from other Italian towns.
Located along the Agno valley, this pretty village is surrounded by gentle hills and important historical buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. However, there are two buildings which dominate the hillside surrounding this town and are the Bellaguardia Castle and the Villa del Castello, also known as Romeo and Juliet castle.
In fact, few people know that the tragic story of the two lovers was not originally written by William Shakespeare but by one of the most illustrious writers of the Vicenza area, that is Luigi da Porto. It is believed, in fact, that the story was written just inside Villa da Porto, in Montorso Vicentino, where the beautiful view on the majestic rocks, then as now, was particularly evocative and romantic.
You should not miss the Palladian Villa Cordellina Lombardi, a sumptuous residence with frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Villa Loschi Zileri, frescoed by Giovanni Tiepolo, and finally the Cathedral of Santa Maria and San Vitale in neo-Gothic style.
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