I came across the portici of Monte Berico by chance. I’ve never seen them mentioned in any guidebook and there were no other tourists (or anyone else, for that matter) about. But this 700m covered arcade is a spectacular walk to the top of Monte Berico, just outside Vicenza.
Designed by Francesco Muttoni in the 18th century, the arcade was built to take worshippers to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Monte Berico at the very top of the hill. It has 150 arches, with a small chapel after every 10th arch.
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The Sanctuary of Monte Berico
Those who make it to the top can explore the magnificent Sanctuary. According to legend, the Sanctuary was built in the 15th century after the Virgin Mary appeared on the top of the hill and promised that she would rid Vicenza of the plague if the people built a church on top of the hill. The church was built, and the plague came to an end.
It is a short walk from here to the Villa Valmarina ai Nani (Villa of the Dwarfs, adorned with stone statues of dwarfs) and to Palladio’s famous villa, La Rotonda.