History of the town

At the slopes of Prealpi Trevigiane, at 138 meters above sea level, guarded by sweet hills and crossed by the river Meschio, lies Vittorio Veneto, a town with 30.000 inhabitants. In the past there were two settlements, Serravalle and Ceneda which, despite of being close, they were clearly divided and even one against the other since they was born. In 1866, when Veneto became part of the Italian Kingdom, the two municipalities were unifi ed and took the name of Vittorio, in honour of king Vittorio Emanuele II. The 22 July 1923 the town became Vittorio Veneto because of the importance it had in the resolution of the First World War. Right here indeed ended the battle, lasted from 24 October to 3 November 1918, which decided the fi nal defeat of the enemies: the 30 October Italian troops entered in Vittorio Veneto, which had been occupied by the Austrians after the defeat of Caporetto, and freed the town. In 1919 Vittorio Veneto was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross because of the proud behaviour the town had during the enemies’ invasion. In the Second World War, in the mountains in the nearby, Partisans fought against Nazi-Fascist troops and when the war ended the inhabitants were awarded as well the Gold Medal for Military Valour. Serravalle lies to the north of the town, in the gorge shaped by the Mount Marcantone and Mount Baldo, and just for this strategic position it had always been very important both for trading and lines of communication. The ancient settlement of Serravalle, dating back to the fi rst century B.C., originally represented a defensive outpost of the Romanic town Opitergium (Oderzo), and had its core in the main Castrum in the gorge of Serravalle. Unfortunately now we have a little of the whole defensive structure: actually we can still see only some examples of it in the towers and walls on the slopes of the surrounding hills. The town started to develop from the urban point of view in the XII Century, after the Longobard domination, when the Da Camino family had the rule, from 1154 to 1335, and extended its predominance to Bellomo, Feltre and Cadore. In that period, just because of the trading with these places, the town grew spreading over the boundaries of the Castrum, the core, and in 1226 Gabriele II Da Camino gave the town another larger wall. During the Da Camino’s lordship were built St. Giustina’s Church and monastery (now only the church still exists), and even Serravalle’s Dome and “School of Battuti”. Ceneda spreads to the south, towards the plain. Its origins are very ancient and the etymology of the name leads to the Celtic Kčnet. In Roman period Ceneda was an entrenched fi eld on support of Serravalle’s castrum and all this defensive structure worked in defence of the roman city Opitergium. When the Longobards arrived here, giving the city a lot of prestige, it became the capital of a dukedom which covered the area from the river Piave to the Tagliamento. After the destruction of Oderzo, Ceneda was invested with the role of Episcopal city and in 743 obtained the royal recognition by the Longobard king Liutprando. In 962 the bishop Siccardo received from the emperor Ottone I even the temporal jurisdiction and so the city power were held by these bishop-earl until 1768 maintaining their own self-government from the Serenissima. In 1866, after the unification of the two old municipalities of Ceneda and Serravalle, it was clear the will of creating a new city centre which wouIld be the symbol of the union between the two parts. The project was committed to the architect Giovanni De Min, who realized Piazza del Popolo and the new gardens about in the middle of Viale della Concordia, now called Viale della Vittoria. Overlooking this street, in XIX Century were built by the new industrial middle class the villas we can see nowadays which give to this Viale an elegant view.

The cycle path along the river meschio

“The river Meschio, beautiful for its irrigation waters” in this way Marcantonio Flaminio, the famous poet who was born in Serravalle in XVI Century, defined the river. The tourist who can spend a bit of time can’t let the occasion slip to go on foot or by bicycle along the cycle path, which begins from Serravalle and winds for about five kilometres along the river Meschio, arriving to the opposite end of the town. You can be delighted by the see of a landscape where nature and history go hand in hand: , since the ancient past the river Meschio had been vital for the town and along its banks had been built handicraft whose ruins are still visible. The river, in Latin called Mesulus (or to pour, to mix), is born from three springs, Negrisiola, Battirame and Restello. Who wants to go by bike can take one for rent. They’re placed at your disposal by the Municipality of Vittorio Veneto if you go the Inquiry Office and Tourist Agency and take the key.

Tours in the nearby

At five kilometres from the town, going toward Cansiglio, in the place called Breda di Fregona there are the Caves of the Caglierňn. Some of them are natural because they’re dig from the stream Caglierňn, other are made by men because of the extraction of sandstone, typically called “piera dolza” which was used for the construction of jambs and architraves for the old houses of that place and even of Vittorio Veneto. The route is composed of series of gangways that crosses the caves facing to precipices and waterfalls and ends near an ancient mill, now transformed in a restaurant. From Fregona, going on along the SP422 we reach the Forest of Cansiglio, plateau of the Carnic foothills of the Alps, in the middle of the districts of Treviso, Belluno and Pordenone. The plateau of Cansiglio looks like a wide basin with three big depressions in its centre: Pian Cansiglio, Valmenčra and Cornesega. In the past it was the “bosco da reme di san Marco” owned by the Serenissima which could extract, from the rich beech wood, the wood for the production of oars and carbon. Another peculiar thing of the Cansiglio is the great number of caves, caverns and swallow-holes such as the “Bus de la Lům” and the “Bus della Genziana”. Most recently, during the Second World War, Cansiglio gave shelter to the partisan resistance. In some places of the plateau, such as Vallorch and Pian Osteria, in the XVIII Century lived the Cimbri, a population of Nordic origins which came from the Tyrol and the Bavaria and was very capable in the wood working. Still nowadays we can visit some Cimbric villages where there are the typical big houses, and the Ethnographic Museum in Pian Osteria where objects of common and domestic use are collected. Another route worth doing is the one which from Vittorio Veneto leads to the Revine’s lakes. Out of Serravalle, taking the street to Valdobbiadene, at fi ve kilometres from the town, spreads the lakes of Lago and of Santa Maria. They’re of glacial origin and they’re 2250 metres long and their depth stands between 8 and 10 metres. They are what remain of a bigger lake which formed because of the retiring of the Wurmiano glacier about 31.000 years B.C. Nowadays the two little lakes are linked together by a canal and in summer they’re the goal of many tourists. Going on towards Valdobbiadene we reach Cison di Valmarino a village dominate by the huge old castle, built in 1194 from the powerful Da Camino’s family and after became property of Brandolini’s family. Once you’ve left Cison the street goes on towards Follina where there’s an old abbey which dates back to the XII century and was founded by the White Monks. The basilica was built in XIV Century in mainly gothic style and was dedicated to Beata Vergine Assunta. The whole complex includes the cloister in Romanic style, one of best the White Monks had never built in their otalian abbeys. If we pass Serravalle and we take the Alemagna street SS51 which leads to Belluno, we reach the little lake of San Floriano or Restello, which is dominated by an ancient lookout tower which was part of the pre existent defensive system of the Romanic castrum. At the end of the village San Floriano we can reach the bank of the Morto Lake where we can take a ring path which is about four kilometres long and follows the lake’s coasts.