We flew Ryan Air from Dusseldorf/Weeze (also known as Niederrhein/NRN) to Treviso, Italy which is just north of Venice. It is possible to park your car in long term parking at the Weeze airport (which is located on an old military base), but if you don’t, a pre-arranged taxi service can work quite well. We used a taxi service out of Heisburg that hauled all six of us with our luggage to the airport and back for a pre-arranged fee of 190E – which is really not bad and saved us the stress of driving back late after a long trip. Do make sure that the driver knows where the airport is. Do not assume that someone from the local area will know beyond the greater Heinsburg area. Even with a taxi service, I will now take along my mapquest directions and a good map. We did not have a map. Instead, we had one lost German man driving a van with three GPS mounted on the windows and 6 women throwing suggestions his directions every few minutes. Good for a laugh only if you’re not in danger of missing your flight.
Caserma Ederle Website: http://www.usag.vicenza.army.mil/sites/local/
Lodging on base: http://www.vicenzamwr.com/lodging.html
Hotel Victoria (off base in Vicenza): http://www.hotelvictoriavicenza.com/ing/index.html
Getting to Nove from Vicenza isn’t hard. Just follow the signs to Bassano and you’ll end up in Nove. Of course, if you can bring a GPS, it will help you GREATLY. There isn’t one central place where all the shops are. Instead, the shops are sprinkled throughout the town, but the main ones (the biggest, most popular shops with Americans) are all on the same street. Most of the shops are closed for lunch, so if you are a serious shopper, arrive early (0830-0900) when the shops open, then go to lunch, and shop the rest of the afternoon. If you show up at 1130, you won’t have much time to look before the break, so plan well. If you head into the square with the big tower in it, you’ll see a large map set back in the square that is a map of Nove with all of the ceramic shops on it and their locations.
Money: Almost all of the shops take credit cards, but you’ll need cash for food and the smaller shops will be cash only. Some of the larger shops like V.B.C. also take American checks. If you are paying with cash or check, you will have a little more bartering room. And yes, do barter. They will most often knock down the price at least a little bit to those who ask.
Not shopping: There is a Ceramic museum in the center of town open Tues-Sat from 0900-1300 and on Sun from 1500-1900. And, if you can drive just a bit, the town of Bassano just up the road has a beautiful old square and a cheesemaker who’s been making cheese just about forever.
*Though many of these shops have hours from Monday – Saturday, do remember that not only do they have mid-day breaks, but they also observe holidays and local festivals as well. The best way to ensure that they will be open when you plan your trip is to email a couple of the larger shops (VBC and Ancora) and ask them specifically if they will be open during the time that you plan to go. Ladies have made this trip many times just to discover that the shops are closed. Don’t let that happen to you.
La Ceramica V.B.C. is one of the most popular shops in Nove and the one that we went to first (and took 6 ladies a total of 3 hours to get through). The upstairs shop is beautiful, inspiring, and absolutely full from floor to ceiling of beautiful pottery in such a broad array of styles that you are sure to find something that you love. Lenox, Tiffany and Co, and Vietro adorn their shelves. You’ll also find dinnerware in almost every color, fruit and vegetable spoon rests, and beautiful mosaics. They pack everything extremely well in bubblewrap and styrofoam peanuts to ship and charge only 5 Euros a box. We even brought purchases from other shops to VBC, then they met us at the front gate of Vicenza the following morning in their van (so you don’t need to worry about hauling boxes in the rental car), and led us to the post office where we unloaded our things and shipped them quickly. VBC does take American checks, cash, and credit cards.
Marco Pizzato does not really advertise to random shoppers, but rather sells to large companies. Still, if you can get in, you’ll find something special. His pieces are warm and beautiful and his prices cannot be beat. Go there for large platters and other fun serving pieces. Check carefully for small cracks as some of the pieces tend to sit there for a while and do not be surprised if he won’t sell one – he doesn’t sell the last ones. Just a block down the road from VBC, do go and check it out. It’s a very nice shop and some of my favorite finds were found there.
Address: Via Molini 67
Ancora is another shop that sells Lenox and Pottery Barn ceramic pieces along with a fabulous assortment of the traditional chicken pitchers and beautiful letter and number address tiles. They also have a resident artist, Floriano Gheno, who handpaints one-of-a-kind bowls and platters that are as much art as utilitarian.
Address: Via Martina 26-28
Bottega Del Ceramista is near VBC on the Via Molini (#88) and also has very nice things. The shop is run by two brothers who make and hand paint everything, so it is smaller, but very nice and has some beautiful canister sets and olive jugs. The most unique items there are old roof tiles that have been hand painted in the old style.
More Ceramic shops: Had I known about this site, I may have been a little more prepared and more focused. Wow. This is great. Pour over it and you will come back, quite literally, with everything, AND the kitchen sink!
Cafe Roma: A reliable lunch spot in the center of Nove, Cafe Roma offers delicious food at reasonable prices. The salmon lasagna was excellent. The gnocci and salads looked delicious as well. A nice lunch with beverage and the service charge (coperto) ran about 10 Euros a person. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Open T-Sat 1200-1500 and 1800-2400. You won’t miss it right on the corner of the main intersection, but for you GPS types, go to Via Molini #1, Nove 36055.
Pizzeria De Asporto: Take Away. Wow. This pizza brought about smiles and moaning from our group. You wouldn’t think pizza would be quite this exciting… but it was amazing. For less than 3 Euros a person, we stuffed ourselves on the absolutely most delicious pizza ever. The place doesn’t look like much. There is very little seating inside and it looks like a fast food joint, but the kitchen is immaculate, the couple that owns it, friendly, and the food – out of this world.
Pizzeria Da Asporto
Via Astronauti 12; Nove
Alle Fornaci: You won’t miss this restaurant on the way to or from Nove due to it’s large brick stacks looming overhead. The stacks were originally built as ovens for brick manufacturing in the 1840’s. Now they are part of a restaurant that makes absolutely delicious pizzas inside those brick ovens. I would eat there again in a second. The food was great, the prices reasonable, and though our waitress spoke little to no English, she was very friendly and helpful. Address: Via Marosticana, 339 Deuville. Tel: 0444-361238. Closed on Mondays.
Obviously you won’t be hauling service for 12 back with you on Ryan Air or any other airline… so, VBC will pack all of your purchases for you and deliver them to the front gate of Vicenza. You will have to park right inside the gate, wait for the white van, then sign them onto the base. Before your trip, call and make an appointment at the post office there. Pre-fill out your white customs slips and address labels to make the process quick and easy. The post office opens officially at 11, but they do make appointments as early as 0900. The staff is so friendly, they deserve cookies. Next time I’ll bring some. The number to call is: (39) 0444-71-7430.
If you are going to Venice from Nove, then return your rental car at the Treviso airport. There is a gas station where you can fill up the tank just past the airport on your right about 1 km down the main road. It is full service, so you don’t even need to leave your car. You will most likely just be dropping your keys off in the drop box, then walk over to the bus tickets counter and purchase a round trip ticket to Venice (Venezia). One-way costs 5 Euros. Round trip is 9 Euros. The bus is right outside the airport. It will stop at the Mestre railway station and then the Venezia bus station from where it’s a quick walk over the bridge and onto the island. The total bus ride from Treviso to Venice is about 45 minutes.
Nove Stars and Stripes Article: http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=103&article=40448&archive=true
Italy travel site: http://www.enit.it/