The mighty Mississippi River is the stuff that legends are made of. Some of the greatest songs and stories in our nation’s history were written about its beauty and mythology. There’s no greater way to appreciate its majesty and lore than on an epic Great River Road Trip, one of the 50 best road trips in America. It’s been federally designated as an official scenic byway, well-marked by a series of Pilot’s Wheel Road Signs which follow a series of roads crossing ten states crossing over both sides of the Mississippi River. There are over 70 interpretive centers along the way and other points of cultural and historical interest, viewing areas, and other highlights. Come hungry, the regional foods you’ll sample along the way are not to be missed.
Buckle up and start your Great River Road trip in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, also known as the Twin Cities. If you’ve never been here before, you’ll want to take at least a day to explore these vibrant communities. Don’t miss the Missippi River Center in St. Paul which is full of films and interactive exhibits target at both adults and children dedicated to the culture and history of the Mississippi River. Also in St. Paul, Fort Snelling has a difficult history. It was built on the land where the Dakota Tribe made their home for thousands of years; they called the area Bdote. In 1820, the U.S. Army built the fort, and the military officers
VICENZA, Italy — If you want to break away from the crowds that make Venice a poster child for the term “overtourism” and you love architecture, there is one place you must go: nearby Vicenza, a showcase for the work of the renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.
Palladio, who lived from 1508 to 1580, drew inspiration from the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, transforming these models into masterpieces that influenced everything from English country houses to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
The most famous of his works, the transcendent hilltop mansion called the Villa Rotonda, is a short taxi, bus or bike ride from Vicenza’s compact, largely car-free town center, where the main street bears Palladio’s name.
The town center itself is stocked with impressive Palladio buildings, including numerous town palaces, or palazzi, one of which houses an excellent and engaging museum devoted entirely to the architect.
In the surrounding countryside are Palladio’s villas, where the architect combined opulent living quarters and working farm buildings into coherent complexes that married nature with culture, rusticity and urbanity.
Located about 40 miles west of Venice, with a population of about 112,000, Vicenza (pronounced vi-CHEN-zah) is an ideal day trip. I took a red, sleek-nosed Italo train from Venice’s Santa Lucia station. (Round-trip fare was just under 38 euros, or roughly $42. The