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Last updated : Nov 2007
Veneto
Veneto - TravelPuppy.com
Veneto comprises the Lower Po Valley, the eastern bank of Lake Garda and the eastern Dolomites, occupying what was once the Republic of Venice.

On the Adriatic coast lie several rather commercial seaside resorts including Jesolo, while high in the Dolomites, the chic town of Cortina d’Ampezzo is probably Italy’s best-known ski resort. The Winter Olympics were held here in 1956. It makes a fine base for exploring and climbing the Dolomites in summer.

Venice

Venice (Venezia) stands on 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 was, of course, invested in the construction of monuments to the glory of both God and the merchants, and Venice must be counted as one of the highlights of any tour of Italy.

The city’s main monuments include, St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace overlooking St Mark’s Square, have gained fame through innumerable paintings by such artists as Canaletto, but the whole city is in many ways a work of art.

The city’s most important thoroughfare is the Grand Canal, lined with fine Gothic and Renaissance palazzi and crossed by the bustling Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) and the wooden Ponte dell’Accademia (Academy Bridge). 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.

Away from the main thoroughfares, Venice is characterised by narrow canals, small squares and above all, since it contains no motor traffic, by serenity, the city’s ancient name was La Serenissima.

The Venetian islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello (noted for the magnificent Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta) can be visited by boat.

Note

The city is linked to Mestre on the mainland, by a causeway which can be crossed by road or rail. Although there is a large car park in Venice, at the end of the causeway, it is easier and much cheaper to park in Mestre and continue by train.

Padua

The city of Padua (Padova) is famous for the great, seven-domed 13th-century Basilica of St Anthony. St Anthony was buried here and it is an important pilgrimage site. 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. Padua’s other delights include Prato della Valle, a vast square with a central green space, and also the Orto Botanico, botanical gardens dating back to 1545, making it the oldest place of its kind in Europe.

Vicenza

Dating back to Roman times, Vicenza is well known for the 16th-century works of Andrea Palladio, whose published analyses of ancient architecture did much to spread the Renaissance throughout Europe. His buildings here include the monumental Basilica Palladiana, the Teatro Olimpico with its brilliantly 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.

Verona

This graceful city was built on the banks of the River Adige, Verona was the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House), a small Medieval home with a balcony and courtyard, attracts thousands of visitors each year.

A further 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 during the 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 noted church is the lovely Romanesque San Zeno.

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. From March to October, daily boat trips run from Venice to Padua, with stops en route to admire several of the villas, such as Villa Foscari at Malcontenta, designed by Palladio, and the 18th-century Villa Pisani at Stra.