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Architectural Driving Tour of Veneto

A path in the Tomba Brion cemetery, near Asolo.

Photo: Christian Kerber

Day 3: Tomba Brion

All this painstaking attention to detail reaches its pinnacle at Scarpa’s most elaborate creation, the Tomba Brion. A short drive south of Asolo, at the end of an allée of cypress trees in the village of San Vito d’Altivole, Scarpa drew up a private necropolis on an L-shaped site around the edges of the municipal cemetery. Massive, sloped concrete walls screen out sound and the sight of cornfields and houses beyond. A cubic chapel seems to float in a pool of water at the entrance. The architecture is vaguely reminiscent of Mayan ruins or Japanese temples, but mysteriously reinterpreted in a way that makes the visitor feel altogether transported into some ethereal realm where a serene beauty has banished all other elements.

In a fitting epitaph to my Veneto pilgrimage, I find Scarpa’s grave near a corner of the L shape, inside the public cemetery. It’s a simple marble slab inset with brass lettering and lines that radiate outward, as if beckoning a new generation to follow his example.

Michael Z. Wise is a Travel + Leisure contributing editor.

For dozens of driving getaways, including wine country weekends, New England foliage tours, and scenic European routes, go to travelandleisure.com/ideas/driving.

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