An Introduction to Veneto, Italy
Veneto is a region in the northeast of Italy encapsulated between the Adriatic Sea and the majestic Dolomites. Worldwide famous for its capital city of Venice, Veneto is an area rich in art, history, and nature. Veneto is the perfect spot for your vacation, whether you are looking for deep relaxation, a cultural holiday, or an active and fun family trip. In Veneto, you can discover gorgeous little towns with plenty of art, relax in local thermal springs, shop for handmade items made by local crafty artisans, and taste some delicious food and drinks.
Must See & Do in Veneto
The first stop everyone needs to make in the Venetian Lagoon is, without a doubt, Venice.
Gorgeous and romantic, Venice’s history and architecture are deeply linked with the sea: explore its canals by cruising on a gondola and stroll down the calli (the narrow streets of the city) to experience the centuries-long charm of the so-called La Serenissima (“the most serene”).
Veneto has countless amazing must-see cities besides Venice. One of these is Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes place. The classic tragedy is what made Verona nicknamed The City of Love. The most popular sight to visit in Verona is the balcony of Juliet’s House. Roman buildings and mosaics render Verona’s romantic atmosphere even more special. Outstanding is the Arena di Verona, the amphitheater older than Rome’s Coliseum. Nowadays, the Arena houses music concerts of all genres.
Padua is another incredible place in Veneto. It is called the City of Academics because it houses Italy’s second-oldest university, founded in 1222. Connected to its academic history, Padua’s Orto Botanico is a World Heritage Site for being the oldest academic botanical garden in the world. Padua is one of the region’s largest cities, and it was the birthplace of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio who created the Palladian architectural style. Palladio designed dozens of buildings in cities in Veneto, among which the Basilica Palladiana and the Teatro Olimpico in the city of Vicenza. Thanks to Palladio’s work, Vicenza is known as the City of Architecture.
Art is deeply present in the territory of Veneto in various forms. If you love crafts and artistry, a walk around the gorgeous cities of Murano and Burano is a must. The island of Murano is located in the Venetian Lagoon, and its buildings are the theater of glass furnaces and shops. Burano is another island in the Lagoon, and its colorful houses are wonderful! Here the artisans are preserving the centuries-old craft of lacemaking.
But Veneto is not only historical cities and art: its natural landscape has a lot to offer. Gardens, natural springs, and the countryside are among the incredible things you can see in the region. The spa towns of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme are great places to visit if you want to enjoy Veneto’s thermal waters.
Veneto is an amazing region to explore if you love the outdoors. Lush forests and green hills are perfect spots for long and refreshing walks, and in the mountains of the Dolomites, you can find numerous hiking trails.
Secret Gems of Veneto
In the foothills of the Monte Grappa, near the small town of Romano d’Ezzelino, you can find Dante’s Hill. The locals are incredibly proud of the connection with the founding father of the Italian languages, the poet Dante Alighieri. A short and easy hike is all it takes to reach Dante’s Hill, from which there is a splendid view of the Veneto’s plains and hills. This place also has a historical link to one of Medieval Italy’s most powerful dynasties – that of the Ezzelini.
The dynasty’s most infamous member is Ezzelino III da Romano, who waged war against feudal lords and medieval cities in Veneto. His ghost is believed to haunt a cave secreted inside the Hill. Ezzelino III da Romano is one of the characters mentioned in Dante’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. While Ezzelino has his wrongdoings punished in the Inferno (the first section of the literary opera), his sister Cunizza finds a place in the last part of the Divine Comedy, the Paradise.
Dante’s verses are scattered throughout the Hill by special installations. Dante’s Hill is a true gem in Veneto, where nurture and culture merge to create something really beautiful.
Food & Drink of Veneto
Veneto is the perfect destination for anyone who loves good food and drinks. The birthplace of prosecco and tiramisu, Veneto’s cuisine is rich and diversified as its territory. Every province has its specialties, and Veneto has several registered products, such as the Asiago DOP cheese and the PGI red radicchio of Treviso, with which it is made the risotto alla trevigiana.
Another Venetian specialty is the soprèssa, a typical salami, usually served during aperitivo. Depending on where you are in Veneto, what is served at aperitivo (Italian pre-dinner food and drink meeting occasion) changes. The sarde in saor or the fegato alla veneziana are among the most popular choices as cicchetti (Veneto’s equivalent of the Spanish tapas), accompanied by a glass of prosecco or of Aperol spritz.