Veneto - Travel Guide and Tourism Information for Veneto, Italy
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Provinces: Venezia, Belluno, Padova, Rovigo, Treviso, Vicenza, Verona
The region includes the eastern part of the Po Valley and, to the north, a part of the Dolomites. The extensive plain, with the Po delta, is rich in water. It is a region which combines two different and unique landscapes: the lagoon zone, close to Venice and the majestic peaks of the Dolomites in the Cadore area.
Venezia, whose ancient name was La Serenissima stands upon a series of islands in a lagoon at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, a position which gave it unique economic and defensive advantages over its trading rivals.
Much of the wealth generated has been invested in the construction of monuments letting Venice become one of the highlights of any tour of Italy.
The city’s main monuments - Basilica di S.Marco and the Palazzo Ducale overlooking Piazza S.Marco - have gained fame through innumerable paintings by such artists as Canaletto, but the whole city is in many ways a work of art.
One is the Bridge of Sighs - Ponte dei Sospiri - at one end of the Palazzo Ducale, where prisoners about to enter the dark jail on the other side would stop to enjoy one last glimpse of the beautiful city.
The city’s most important thoroughfare is the Canal Grande, lined with fine Gothic and Renaissance palazzo and crossed by the bustling Ponte di Rialto and the wooden Ponte dell’Accademia.
Nearby, the Galleria dell’Accademia displays hundreds of Venetian paintings dating from between the 14th and 18th centuries, while the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim exhibits international 20th-century art including works by Picasso, Giacometti and Ernst. During Carnevale (10 days in late February or March), its waterfront is lit by torches at night as colorfully masked and costumed revelers overrun the city's ancient palaces and public squares.
Murano, Burano (famous for laces) and Torcello (with the beautiful Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta) can be visited by boat. In the early sixteenth century Murano had thirty thousand inhabitants, and was a favourite summer retreat for Venice's upper classes. Nowadays it owes its fame entirely to the glass-blowing industry, and its streets are crowded with shops selling these art-works; you may also visit the glass museum and the beautiful main church. Visiting Burano you’ll notice that Burano-point and Venetian-point lace is extremely exacting work; each woman specializes in one particular stitch, and as there are seven stitches in all, each piece is passed from woman to woman during its construction. An average-size table centre requires about a month of work. The skills of lacemaking are still taught at Burano's Scuola dei Merletti. Pieces produced here are displayed in the attached museum, along with specimens dating back to the sixteenth century.
This city, an important pilgrimage site, is famous for the great, seven-domed 13th-century Basilica of St Anthony in which this saint is buried. Inside, the bronzes on the main altar are by Donatello, as is the equestrian statue in front of the entrance. Padua’s other main attraction is the tiny Scrovegni Chapel, decorated with a stunning cycle of 14th-century biblical frescoes by Giotto.
Other attractions are the Prato della Valle, a vast square with a central green space, and the Orto Botanico, a botanical gardens dating back to 1545, making it the oldest place of its kind in Europe.
Dating back to Roman times, Vicenza is best known for the 16th-century works of Andrea Palladio, whose published analyses of ancient architecture have contributed to spread the Renaissance throughout Europe. His buildings include the monumental Basilica Palladiana, the Teatro Olimpico with its beautifully painted stage-set, and the Palazzo Chiericati, home to the Museo Civico.
A short distance out of town stands one of Palladio’s finest villas, La Rotonda, a model of Renaissance architecture, based on a square plan with four identical façades.
A charming city on the banks of the River Adige, Verona was the setting of Shakespeare’s drama Romeo and Juliet. The Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House), a small Medieval home with a balcony and courtyard, attracts thousands of visitors and lovers each year.
The other big attraction is the well-preserved Roman Arena, built in AD 290 and able to accommodate over 20,000 spectators. An opera festival, with open-air night-time performances, is staged here through summer. The 14th-century red brick Castelvecchio, next to the river, houses an extensive art museum, with important Renaissance paintings and sculpture from northern Italy. The city’s most attractive church is the lovely Romanesque San Zeno.
Other towns and sights: Castelfranco Veneto, birthplace of Giorgione; Bassano del Grappa, with its wooden bridge by Palladio; Cortina d’Ampezzo a famous ski resort; Portogruaro with the Duomo di Sant’Andrea.
VILLE VENETE - RIVIERA DEL BRENTA
During the 16th century, the banks of this waterway linking Venice and Padua became a popular place for aristocrats and wealthy merchants to build their ‘country’ villas. With a boat trip you may admire several of the villas, such as Villa Foscari at Malcontenta, designed by Palladio, and the 18th-century Villa Pisani at Stra.
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