If the Venetian Lagoon with its eight million annual visitors is one of Italy's most well known destinations, a holiday in this region goes hand in hand with a full immersion in art, or rather, visiting the museums, churches and Palladian villas in Padua and Verona. Make sure you have time for relaxing and wellness, the vocations of the spa facilities in Abano and Montegrotto. As per golf, it's a celebration here: 18 courses with at least 18 holes in Veneto, and seven in Friuli. For all tastes.
Each season has its appeal but if you're looking for advice, autumn is probably the most beautiful time for a holiday in this region. The leaves turn all the possible shades of warm colors, from yellow to red and orange, the sky becomes clear blue, and the temperatures a bit brisker: you can enjoy the autumn foliage here in Italy without having to fly to New England. And even better if you take advantage of the dazzling display of colors to play golf in the welcoming natural setting of the Veneto or Friulian countrysides, for a long weekend or week of culture-wine-golf-enogastronomy. The only thing you'll tire of is the regret of not having more time to get to know this abundant territory better.
Veneto is synonymous with the great tourist destinations of cities such as Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Treviso, not to mention Venice, a gem of incomparable beauty known throughout the world. This region boasts a large number of golf courses, as well, scattered over the area: some on the sea, such as Albarella and Venice, others extending over mountain slopes such as Asiago, or on the hills, such as Asolo; others can be reached in just minutes from the cities, such as the clubs in Padua and Verona. The venues are quite diversified making the Veneto and Friuli area a multifaceted destination.
In addition to the clubs about which we have spoken at length in the article dedicated to Prosecco (Montecchia, Frassanelle, Padua and Asolo), we would like to explore the other golfing treasures worthy of a visit. Starting with the area surrounding Venice, an obligatory stop is the Golf Club Ca' della Nave in Martellago, a gem designed by Arnold Palmer on terrain dominated by the aristocratic majesty of the 16th century Villa Grimani Morosini. The great American champion who designed the course in the mid-1980s perhaps drew inspiration from Venice when he decided to insert artificial lakes and water hazards on no less than 12 of the 18 championship holes - but not even the 9 executive holes are exempt from red stakes!
In the Treviso area, the Golf Club Ca' Amata offers a day of golf in a romantic 18th century setting. Opened in 1991, the course was sculpted within the space of the homonymous Villa's park. Eleven of the 18 holes are touched by ponds and canals eager to capture imprecise shots. Completely flat, the course covers an extensive surface area of 75 hectares of land, making spectacular long distance shots possible.
Changing direction and moving from the Padua spa resorts to the Montecchia, Frassanelle and Golf Club Padova facilities, a stop at the Golf Terme di Galzignano is a must, inaugurated in 1999 in a marvelous nature park of 350,000 m2 as integral part of the services of the Galzignano Terme Spa & Golf Resort Padova. It consists of 9 holes embellished by water displays and ponds that make it compelling and spectacular: Hole 4, for example, with its starting tee in the middle of the lake, or rather the 9th with its island green which seems to float on water.
South of Venice in the Po River delta park, we find Albarella Island - a large resort equipped for many aquatic and land sports activities - linked to the mainland by a long road bridge. The Golf Club Albarella boasts 18 holes designed in 1972 by John Harris, who sought to recreate seaside Scottish links but with the flavor of the Mediterranean climate, where obstacles are represented chiefly by the high number of bunkers and pinewoods on the fringes of the holes.
Those who prefer the mountains simply must try the Golf Club Asiago on the homonymous upland plain at 1000 meters of altitude, with its 18-hole course completed in 1990: the conformation of the terrain makes for a panoramic course with barely pronounced differences in level. Here the golf season is rather long, from May to October. Choosing Asiago for a holiday means blending the pleasures of golf with those of the palate, relaxation and the outstanding amenities offered by the Meltar Boutique Hotel which looks over the course. Also in the mountains but in the Friuli region we find the Golf Club Tarvisio, nestled in a forest of centuries-old trees at 780 meters of altitude on the Priesnig upland plain, just steps away from the Austrian and Slovenian borders. Its second name is the No-Borders Golf Club, as it is the perfect place for international and multiethnic encounters. Total renovation work was completed in 2013, including the clubhouse and restaurant in 2013, bestowing players with a varied playing course: some holes are wide-open and level with a lovely view of Mount Mangart, whereas others - the so-called high holes - cross through woodlands.
We end in style with the Spessa Castle Golf & Country Club where golf is played amidst the vineyards of the Friulian Collio on the 18 holes of this tortuous course opened in 2004, offering panoramas with strikingly different and individual features. The enormous appeal of the resort becomes even more intriguing when we discover that the rooms of the castle in 1773 played host to Giacomo Casanova, the universally renowned Venetian writer and adventurer. A toast in the cellars used for aging wine right beneath the castle, the oldest of the Collio area, is another experience to indulge in.