Travelling Turtle

Treviso – What to see and eat in the city of water?

I have been living in Treviso for a few years now and I couldn’t help but write an article that told the beauty and history of this city also known as the “City of Water”. Among its numerous nicknames, this particular recognition underlines the importance of its waterways, which give Treviso a magical and romantic atmosphere.

In this article, we will immerse ourselves in the history of the city, exploring its iconic squares and monuments, while letting ourselves be lulled by the sweet melody of its canals. A journey through the centuries of history, undertaken in the evocative setting of the “City of Waters”. Are you ready to discover the treasures that make Treviso so fascinating and unique?

The history of Treviso

Fundamentally linked to the Republic of Venice, Treviso has shared much of its history with the nearby and powerful lagoon city. The first evidence of settlements dates back to Roman times, when Treviso was known as “Tarvisium,” a strategic town on the Via Postumia.

During the Middle Ages, Treviso became an important commercial and cultural center. Its strategic position along trade routes contributed to economic growth, and the city became a lively crossroads of cultural exchange. Gothic architecture, still visible today in places like the Piazza dei Signori and the Church of San Nicolò, draws on this era of prosperity.

In 1339, Treviso came under the control of the Republic of Venice, an event that greatly influenced its future development. During this period, the city became an important administrative and military center, experiencing a period of peace and relative prosperity. The Venetians left an indelible mark on architecture, transforming Treviso into a fascinating and refined city.

The Renaissance brought a new wave of changes to Treviso, with the construction of sumptuous palaces and the arrival of renowned artists. However, the decline of the Serenissima and the wars that affected the region led to a period of difficulty for Treviso. In the 19th century, with the rise of Napoleon, the city was involved in the fights for Italian independence.

The 20th century saw Treviso go through a phase of economic growth and urban development. Today, the city is a crossroads of history and modernity, maintaining its historic charm while embracing innovation.

The “City of Water”

Treviso is crossed by the Sile river which, with its picturesque views and fascinating bridges, creates an atmosphere that makes you think of Venice. It is precisely this characteristic that has made the city known for being a “Little Venice.”

While its scale may be less imposing than Venice, Treviso manages to offer a more intimate and tranquil atmosphere, maintaining the allure of water as a distinctive element. The nickname “City of Water” is not only a reference to the past, but also a statement of character. The people of Treviso honor and preserve the presence of water in their city, making it an integral part of their identity and a tool for maintaining an atmosphere of serenity.

Treviso, the city of water

The river of Treviso

The Sile river has always represented a vital communication route for the city of Treviso. During the Roman period, it served as a strategic connection between the hinterland and the Venetian lagoon, facilitating trade and contributing to the economic growth of the region. The navigability of the river allowed the easy transport of goods and materials, positioning Treviso as an important commercial hub.

Urban canals

The Sile is not just the river that crosses Treviso; together with its tributary Botteniga, it creates a system of urban canals that intertwine the heart of the city. These channels, like branches of an ancient river tree, flow between the streets and squares, creating a unique atmosphere and a picturesque cityscape. The history of the canals is intertwined with that of commercial and productive activities, transforming the banks into places of meeting and cultural exchange.

Walking along the paths that follow the course of the river means immersing yourself in an atmosphere of serenity, with centuries-old trees, wildlife and historic architecture reflected on the water. The secret gardens and romantic bridges add a touch of magic to this river setting, inviting visitors to get lost in the details of uncontaminated urban nature.

Valentine’s Day in Treviso – Buranelli

What to see in Treviso?

Piazza dei Signori

Start your trip to Treviso with a visit to Piazza dei Signori. This historic square is surrounded by elegant buildings, including the Palazzo dei Trecento, seat of civic power. In the center of the square stands the majestic Civic Tower, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

Piazza dei Signori a Treviso

Piazza dei Signori is more than a square; it is a theater of life where people gather to socialise, walk and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Treviso. The outdoor cafes, historic shops and lively daily activity make this square an unmissable place for anyone visiting the city.

Palazzo dei Trecento

The Palazzo dei Trecento, located on the south side of Piazza dei Signori, dominates the scene with its historical grandeur. Built in the 13th century as the seat of the city government, the palace is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Its facade, decorated with coats of arms and architectural details, evokes a sense of majesty that transports visitors back in time.

Palazzo dei Trecento has been the political center of Treviso for centuries. The internal room, known as the Sala dei Trecento, was the place where the city council meetings took place. The walls of this room are testimony to crucial historical events, painted with frescoes that narrate the heroic deeds and salient events of the city.

Today, the palace is used for cultural events, exhibitions and meetings, keeping alive the tradition of being a center of social and cultural life for the city.

The knights’ lodge

Built in the 15th century, the knights’ lodge represents an extraordinary example of the Renaissance style that has left an indelible mark on the history of art and architecture in Italy. Located on the north side of Piazza dei Signori, the loggia is a real focal point, attracting visitors’ attention with its elegant facade and refined details.

Characterized by a series of slender arches supported by Tuscan columns, the structure of the knights’ lodge achieves an effect of lightness and harmony. Decorative elements, including noble coats of arms and sculptures, contribute to the structure’s refinement and symbolism. The outcome is a seamless blend of form and function, embodying the Renaissance spirit.

During the Renaissance, the knights’ lodge played a crucial role as a meeting place for the Treviso nobility. This space was dedicated to official ceremonies, banquets and public celebrations. Its central location and its sumptuous atmosphere made it the beating heart of the city’s social and political life.

The knights’ lodge in Treviso

Via Calmaggiore and the Fountain of Tits

Via Calmaggiore is the main street of Treviso, a pedestrian avenue that winds through shops, cafes and historic buildings. During the Middle Ages, this street witnessed flourishing commercial and cultural activities. Today, it still retains its ancient charm, offering visitors an authentic experience in the heart of Treviso.

One of the most curious aspects of Via Calmaggiore is the Fountain of Tits, located on the corner with Via Oberdan. This fountain, built in the 16th century, features a female bust from whose breasts milk and wine were made to flow on the occasion of the appointment of each new Power. This ritual served to symbolize the generosity of the city towards its citizens.

Fountain of Tits in Treviso

The fish market island

The Isola della Pescheria has origins that date back to the Middle Ages, when fishing was one of the main activities of the city. Located at the point where the Sile river divides into various branches, the island was strategic for fishermen, offering privileged access to waters rich in fish fauna. Over the centuries, the Isola della Pescheria has become not only a place of work, but also a symbol of identity for the people of Treviso.

The central element of the Isola della Pescheria is the Fish Market, a place where the fishing tradition continues to live on. Here, local fishermen offer a variety of fresh fish products, from eels to prawns, testifying to the richness of the waters of the Sile river. The market is a place of exchange and meeting, where people immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere of local commerce.

What to eat in Treviso?

Cicchetti from Treviso

We cannot start talking about food without mentioning the art of cicchetti, small tastings or appetizers, which are a typical tradition of Venetian cuisine. In the characteristic Treviso bacari, you can enjoy a variety of cicchetti, such as crostini with local cheeses, delicious cured meats, tasty meatballs, marinated anchovies and mozzarella in carrozza. Accompany everything with a glass of local wine, perhaps a fresh prosecco.


In addition to its history and cuisine, Treviso is an integral part of the Veneto wine region, celebrated in particular for Prosecco. The hills north of Treviso, between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, are the cradle of this sparkling wine, known for its fresh bubbles and fruity taste. The Prosecco area has obtained the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) recognition and has contributed to spreading its name internationally.

Rices and peas

A dish that embodies the elegance of Treviso cuisine is risi e bisi. It is a risotto prepared with fresh peas and bacon, offering a perfect balance between the sweetness of the peas and the smoky flavor of the bacon. This dish is often served during the spring season, when peas are at their freshest.

The tiramisu

The dessert that has conquered the world has its roots in Treviso: tiramisu. This irresistible dessert is made up of layers of ladyfingers soaked in coffee, alternating with a cream made from mascarpone, eggs and sugar. Everything is dusted with cocoa powder for a deliciously indulgent finish.

The most widespread legend links the origin of tiramisu to Alba Campeol, the owner of the “Le Beccherie” restaurant in Treviso. As the story goes, in the 1960s, Alba created tiramisu as a dessert to invigorate customers before returning them home late in the evening, providing them with a dose of energy and sweetness. The dessert was so successful that it became a permanent fixture on the restaurant’s menu.

Tiramisu – typical Treviso dessert

The radicchio

In the rich culinary tradition of the Veneto region, Treviso radicchio stands out, a vegetable that has conquered the palates of gourmets and chefs all over the world. With its distinctive intense red shade and characteristic bitter flavour, Treviso radicchio has become a culinary icon that represents the richness of the Treviso area.

Treviso radicchio has obtained the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) recognition, underlining its uniqueness and the importance of its cultivation in the specific geographical areas of the province of Treviso. This designation helps ensure the quality and authenticity of the product.

Treviso, with its history, presents itself as an open book in which each page tells of prosperity, decline, rebirth and resilience. Every corner of the city is a historical treasure, a testimony of a past that still lives in its walls and its monuments. On every journey through this city, you embark on a fascinating journey through time.