9 Idyllic Italian Towns You Can’t Miss Near Venice
Veneto is the eighth largest of Italy’s 20 administrative regions, is located in the northeast of the country and stretches from the Dolomite mountains to the Adriatic Sea. Venice is the regional capital and probably the most famous and visited city in Veneto due to its monuments, attractions and unique carnival. Veneto is a large region with a wide variety of landscapes and many beautiful towns and villages with their own unique attractions, often overlooked by visitors in favor of the undeniable charms of Venice.
It is also a fertile region crossed by the great Po river which flows into the Adriatic Sea. Wine lovers will be tempted to taste the great wines of Veneto, especially to follow what is known as “The Ring Of Prosecco”. A treat for opera and culture lovers is to attend the open-air summer opera season at the Roman Theater in Verona. Depending on the interest and the season, you can bathe in one of the seaside resorts of the Adriatic Sea, ski in the Dolomites, sail on Lake Garda, be pampered in the thermal baths of Abano, or simply admire the medieval wonders of Serravalle and taste one of the best prosciuttos in Italy, Veneto Berico-Euganeo from the Vicenza region.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Here we’ll show you the finer details of Veneto so you won’t miss a thing on your next visit to Venice.
After Venice, Verona is the second largest city in Veneto, a real medieval treasure. Located 75 miles west of Venice, it is perfectly suited for a day trip, as there is a motorway (A4/E70) and several trains a day connecting the two between 1 and 2 hours.
Built around a U-bend of the Adige River crossed by a huge medieval bridge, the most famous monument is the Roman amphitheater. Built in 30 AD and perfectly preserved, it originally hosted 30,000 spectators. Today, the arena hosts lavish theatrical and operatic productions, including one not to be missed. Here is this year’s program as well as day trips to choose from.
Besides the medieval city center, the Vecchio castle and numerous squares like the Piazza delle Erbe, there is another highlight for culture lovers. William Shakespeare and his play Romeo and Juliet are closely linked to Verona. Head to Via Capello and look out over the small balcony of the 14th century residence where the drama took place.
Padua, located 25 miles west of Venice, is another beautiful city ideal for a day trip. The city is located on the banks of the Bacchiglione river, which is crossed by many elegant bridges. Padua appears twice on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, once because it is home to the oldest botanical garden in the world, established in 1545, and because of the 14th century frescoes by Giotto that the we find in several buildings of the city, in particular the Chapel of the Scrovegni.
Visit the Romanesque Basilica of St. Anthony with its domes and Byzantine-style cloister and the tomb of the saint.
Padua has one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious universities and, as a result, a lively student community that likes to hang out in the many stylish cafes and bars in the old town by the river.
You might not even have heard of Vicenza, a Renaissance city located at the northern base of Monte Berico about 40 miles from Venice. Halfway between Venice and Verona, it is another ideal destination for a day trip. The famous Renaissance architect Palladio practically designed Vicenza and countless palaces and churches spread throughout the city. One of his last works is the Teatro Olimpico, the oldest covered theater in the world in masonry. Squares and small streets will charm you in Vicenza, but what will dazzle you most is the abundance of jewelry stores and workshops. Jewelery has been Vicenza’s most important industry since the Middle Ages. Feast your eyes on the Jewelry Museum and works of art by one of the most important jewelers, Soprana. Have a coffee or a cake in the charming Piazza dei Signori and be glad you have added this beautiful, idyllic little town to your collection of unknown or underrated Italian gems.
Planning a visit to Treviso takes you right into the prosecco region. It is in the surrounding hills that this very Italian sparkling wine is grown, especially between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, and at a distance of just over 20 miles from Venice, it is an excellent alternative to the sumptuous restaurants of Venice. In keeping with the sparkling wine motif, there is even a replica of a 1559 statue of a woman who, on special occasions, spouts wine from her breasts, red from one and white from l. ‘other.
It is also in Treviso that the delicious Italian desert tiramisu was invented at Ristorante Le Beccherie. Fashionistas might be interested to learn that Treviso is the birthplace of United Colors of Benetton.
Perhaps not as impressive as those of Venice, but no less idyllic, are the many canals that adorn Treviso. Do not miss to visit the fish island where there is a huge fish market.
Treviso also has an airport, although it is mainly served by budget airlines.
Nestled in the hills of Treviso, about 80 km northwest of Venice, is the small medieval town of Asolo, a veritable open-air museum surrounded by massive walls and dominated by a severe fortress. Many celebrities like Yoko Ono, Ernest Hemingway and explorer and travel writer Freya Stark considered Asolo one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, so follow in their footsteps and make the short trip from Venice. Asolo is also known as the “city of 100 horizons”. Besides the amazing sites and if you are interested in antiques, you should time your visit to coincide with the second Sunday of a given month as an antique fair takes place on that day. Who knows what treasures you might find?
A trip to Rovigo takes you over the two majestic northern Italian rivers Po and Adige and close to the Adriatic Sea. Located 80 km southwest of Venice, Rovigo has a cathedral, the ruins of a 10th century castle and an obsession with rugby. For fashion hunters at affordable prices, Rovigo is an insider tip due to the release of expensive fashion house Ivo Milan. Another curiosity: Rovigo has not one, but two leaning towers.
7. Jesolo and the Lido of Jesolo
We must not forget Veneto and the Adriatic Sea. Lido di Jesolo, just north of Venice and between Eraclea and Cavallino-Treporti, is one of the most popular and visited seaside resorts, especially in summer. Miles of golden sandy beaches line the sea with attractions like Aqualandia for children. The small adjacent town of Jesolo is much quieter and invites you to stroll along Piazza Mazzini, which is very comfortable because it is quite flat. Shop along the tree and Via Bafile lined with shops. If you are interested in military history, visit the Vidotto Military Museum.
If you like lively nightlife, Jesolo is a party town, so you can dance the night away if you want.
You can hardly think of a greater contrast than that between the plains of the Po, the Adriatic Sea and the spectacular setting of Belluno amidst the ragged Eastern Dolomites. The city is located on top of a cliff above the confluence of the Ardo and Piave rivers. Belluno is a romantic and quiet town with many baroque churches and two massive gates in the town walls. Also admire one of the most beautiful Baroque towers in Italy. The city is located 100 km from Venice and can be reached by train, bus or car.
9. Abano and Abano Terme
The benefits of hot springs and thermal waters in Veneto have been known and used since Roman times. One of the most beautiful and popular spas and spas is found in Abano and Abano Terme. You can easily combine your stay in Venice with serious treatments in Abano as the distance is only one hour by train or by car along the A4/E70 via Padova. You can even consider a stopover in Padua (see above).
Abano is a quiet seaside resort surrounded by the Euganean Hills just south of Padua. It is an uncrowded resort, so you can stroll through the gardens and parks, but the emphasis is on using the thermal waters, spas and treatments. Most of the elegant 5-star hotels with their thermal pools are located along Viale delle Terme and allow the use of their spas even if you don’t spend the night there, but you have to pay a supplement.
One of the best and most luxurious is Piscine Termali Leonardo da Vinci. Another interesting thing to do is to explore the history of the legendary Venetian mask by visiting the International Mask Museum.
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