Belluno is a Celtic name. It comes from Belo-Dunum, meaning bright shining city, with a wonderful landscape. This city was beloved by the writer Dino Buzzati, who extolled it in many occasions. It stands on a promontory at the convergence of the rivers Piave and Ardo, and is bounded by the Dolomites to the North and to the Venetians Prealps to the South, which create the background of the city center, with a lot of historical places. It is a calm and quiet city, on a human scale, very different from the chaotic metropolis. For these and other reasons, Belluno obtained important awards, such as the Alpine city of the year 1999. In the years 2007 and 2008, the city was classed first for the sustainability of the urban ecosystem.
Here you can comfortably walk in the numerous pedestrian areas. The heart of the city can be reached easily from the big car park using a comfortable escalator, which takes you to Piazza Duomo, overlooked by the palaces Rosso, dei Rettori and by the cathedral. From this square you can start walking with your nose turned-up, admiring the elegant palaces reminding of the harmonious shapes of the Venetian architecture, discovering striking corners and small squares, all of them characterized by a fountain, such as Piazza del Mercato, where you will immediately notice the pawn shop. Going trough Porta Dojona, one of the historical accesses of the city, you will reach Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and the Municipal Theatre, with the Piazza dei Martiri and its liston on the left, a long grey-stone pavement linking the two extremes of the semicircular square, where the people living in Belluno loves to meet and talk. Here you can admire the landscape: the Val Belluna and the Piave river and then up to the Schiara mountain. If you turn right you will reach Piazza Santo Stefano with the Church going back to the end of the 15th century. You should also visit Porta Rugo, another access from the old river port of Borgo Piave, the City Museum, Palazzo Crepadona, the seat of the library and of important exhibitions, such as the ones about Ippolito Caffi or Andrea Brustolon.
The charm of Belluno is also due to its favorable position: in a few minutes you can reach paths and forests, mountains and lakes. It is the best starting point for trekkings, walks and skiings on the Nevegal. Close to the city center you can also find a football stadium, some gyms, a swimming pool, the sporting palaces and two cinemas.
Furthermore the Piave river is an excellent fishing basin, where many competitions are organized.
Many events take place in Piazza dei Martiri, but two of them are particularly famous. The Fisciot (whistles) festival takes place in spring, normally in one of the Sundays before Eater. During this festival there is a long procession with the Grieving Madonna and a fair with many stands selling local food and handicrafts. The second event is the St. Martin festival, the patron of the city, taking place in November, with the International wood-carving extemporaneous exhibition, a lively antique market and the possibility of tasting typical local products, new wine and chestnuts can be tasted. Moreover Oltre le Vette, an International event about the mountains.
Many events are organized all the year round in order to make the area and its products known, such as the pastin festival, or children and sport days, with runs and competitions. In summer shows, concerts and entertainment are organized every Thursday night.
In winter the Christmas markets are organized in Piazza dei martiri in the typical wood houses. In the North of Belluno there is a small touristic airport, where International parachuting competitions take place.