The River Sile - From Treviso to Tartous
The history of Treviso is a colorful one. It was bombed heavily in both world wars. During the second one in particular, the Americans heavily bombed it (by mistake!?) and caused thousands of casualties while destroying monumental buildings and artistic treasures. Today, many medium sized industries are based in or around Treviso. Besides the fact that it is one of the richest cities in Italy, it’s also a place with a special spell of magic and charm. Before my first trip and due to my knowledge of some of the names of the industries located there (i.e. Benetton), I was expecting another industrial complex where everybody is a hardworking machine. It turned out that you have to look hard to find the industry, all of which is located smartly on roads and thoroughfares leading into town.
The city itself is a placid northern Italian città with a main square and a church, traversed by the tranquil river Sile (rhymes with Chile). Treviso is fenced by 4 km of walls with 2 main gates, the San Tommaso gate to the north and the Santi Quaranta gate to the west. The town square is called Piazza dei Signori and is the center of life for the Trevisani. The Piazza is the symbol of the city and radiates the cheerfulness and the joie de vivre of the inhabitants. Walking through one open gallery will take you to another smaller square, called the Monte di Pietà where more magic lurks in the corners. Then follow your heart and let your feet take you in any direction and sure you’ll find yourself near one of the many canals crisscrossing Treviso. The painted houses are stunning, the afternoon tantalizing, with the docile presence of water and the promise of a splendid evening ahead in a ristorante or bar. You won’t go hungry in Treviso and there’s plenty to choose from. I suggest you try the risotto al radicchio, a rice specialty of Treviso. No need to take my word for it, just close your eyes and randomly pick any meal listed in the menu and you’re going to love it. As for wine, ahhh, go for the white flowery/fruity spumante (sparkling) Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene originating from the countryside around Treviso. When you’re through, happy and fat, gulp down a glass of Grappa and feel the warmth in your veins as a salute for a very unique place and the good fortune which took you there.
I have my own very small place in the basement of the building where our apartment is located in Tartous. It’s not fancy or anything, but I have a bar (with 3 stools), a small fridge and a sink. The room is also furnished with 2 comfortable seats, a coffee table, TV with satellite and a regulation foosball table. This is where I entertain close friends and where I can be truly alone at times. I have walked alongside the river Sile and fell in love forever with Treviso. Now 6 years after that first walk and as a gesture of gratitude for not only the place, but also for the Trevisani who became my friends while working for an Italian company based there, I decided to name my little private place "Sile". It was mostly the money I made during these 5 years which helped me buy our apartment. It's simply a gesture of gratitude and of longing. Grazie Treviso, li manco!