Day Trips in Italy Padua Veneto Venice Verona Vicenza

10 Best Cities in Veneto, Italy to Visit and What to See in Each

Veneto is that Northern Italian region that over thirty million people flock to every year eager to experience the beauty of its capital – the magical city of Venice.

Yet, Venice is not the only jewel in Veneto’s crown.

From the city of love Verona to the city of academics Padua, from the city of architecture Vicenza to the city of mountains Belluno, Veneto has a lot to offer to couples, families, and single travellers seeking to experience the best city break in terms of art, food, fun, history, and nature. 

View of Verona with Ponte Pietra - Verona, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

This gorgeous corner of Italy is rich in sights of natural beauty, unique places of historic value, and more art that you can take in a lifetime. Add to this happy mix the local cuisine – so different from the rest of Italy, based on the rich agricultural heritage of the Veneto’s land, and influenced by the centuries of the Venetian domination over the Mediterranean trade. And then don’t forget the lively cultural spirit of the locals with hundreds of festivals and celebrations taking place all over this Northern Italian region all throughout the year.

To summarise, if you are looking for ideas for great city breaks to take as soon as the current events allow it, the cities of Veneto in Northern Italy are the perfect destination.

Corso Palladio - Vicenza, Italy - rossiwrites.com

So, to make your travel planning smooth and easy, today I want to introduce you to the ten best cities you can visit in Veneto and the many wonderful things you can do and enjoy in each. Each one of the cities in Veneto, Italy – from the tourist magnets to those off the beaten track – is a worthy destination with unique sights to admire there and curious stories to tell.

Reading about them all will give you some great ideas as to what you can get up to here and how best to use your time splitting it between several of the cities in Veneto thus maximising your travel and sightseeing opportunities. 

The Lion of St. Mark's on Piazza della Liberta - Bassano del Grappa, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Without further ado, here they are:

The ten best cities in Veneto, Italy to visit as soon as you have the chance:

  • Venice – the capital of the Northern Italian region of Veneto;
  • Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, Rovigo, and Belluno – provincial capitals of Veneto;
  • Bassano del Grappa, Chioggia, and Schio – important urban destinations in Veneto with rich history and beautiful sights. 

They all are relatively close to one another so that if you base yourself in one you can easily take many day trips to the other best cities in Veneto and not miss out on anything.  Plus, the majority of them are very compact in size and are much more akin to what elsewhere may be considered to be large towns, so you can easily explore them on foot and enjoy their highlights in a day or two.

Piazzale Perotolo, Chioggia - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

In fact, Belluno, Rovigo, Chioggia, and Schio are officially classed as towns. However, both Belluno and Rovigo are capitals of two of Veneto’s provinces while Chioggia has more inhabitants than the city of Bassano del Grappa and Schio has more inhabitants than the provincial capital of Belluno. As such, I have included them in this list of the ten best cities in Veneto to give you a good idea of the main and largest urban destinations to visit here. 

View of Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge - Venice, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

For each of the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy below I have included:

  • a shortlist with the most important sights that can be seen there in a day;
  • approximate travel times by train/coach from the nearest city or cities in Veneto, Italy;
  • photos to give you an idea of what to expect;
  • (where available) links to detailed and city-specific travel guides and exciting videos to help inspire your trip. The videos are hosted on my blog’s Facebook page. If you haven’t liked it yet, I would really appreciate it if you could! Every day I share beautiful photos and engaging travel information on Facebook so your like will give you regular access to all this. 

In addition, right at the end of this blog post, you will find an extensive explanation of how to navigate the train and intercity bus system in Italy.

Coffee shop on the main street - Padua, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

The ten best cities in Veneto can be easily reached by public transport from one another and from several other important destinations in Italy. With the information provided herewith, you will have a smooth experience using local trains and buses even if this is your first visit to Italy. 

Now, let’s start!

 

 

10 Best Cities in Veneto, Italy to Visit and What to See in Each

 

 

1. Venice

The Grand Canal seen from the Accademia Bridge - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

The fabled city of Venice – once the head of a powerful maritime republic and currently a must-see tourist magnet – is both Veneto’s capital and most important city. 30 million people head to Venice each year eager to experience its art, history, and beauty for themselves.

While nowadays the city of Venice encompasses the mainland administrative and residential borough of Mestre, most visitors come here for the historic centre of the city of water – the splendid Venezia (as it’s called in Italian) that is built on 118 islands connected with over 400 bridges in the Venetian Lagoon.   

There is so much to see and do here that it’s easy to become a bit overwhelmed.

Venice’s central parts are traditionally clogged with tourists, especially during the high season which is anywhere from Carnival in late January/February to mid-autumn. Yet, there are many hidden gems and unique sights here that can be enjoyed over a few very pleasant days while avoiding the suffocating crowds as much as possible.

Just bring your most comfortable shoes!

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Venice:

  • Grand Canal – take vaporetto line 1 from Venezia Santa Lucia train station all the way to St. Mark’s Square. The journey down the Grand Canal is a fabulous introduction to the beauty of Venice. Along the way you will see such stunning buildings and structures as Ca’ PesaroCa’ d’Oro, Rialto Bridge,  Ca’ Rezzonico, Accademia Bridge, Gallerie dell’Accademia, and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. The vaporetto (this is what water buses are called in Venice) will take you all the way down to the large expanse of water known as St. Mark’s Basin with St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace on one side and the islet of San Giorgio Maggiore on the other.
  • Doge’s Palace – a visit to this splendid pink and white Gothic building will give you an excellent idea about the Republic of Venice as a political and commercial titan during its heyday. You will also gain an understanding of the Republic’s unique governmental structure and will see some truly stunning monumental pieces of art.
  • St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Campanile – Venice’s most iconic church that is covered with gold mosaics inside and a tall bell tower opening breathtaking views over the city of water.
  • Rialto Bridge and Rialto Markets – one of Venice’s most famous sights, the elegant stone arch of Rialto Bridge straddles the Grand Canal at its narrowest point. Right next to it you can explore the Rialto markets offering an abundance of fresh produce and fresh fish.
  • Museums and sights – apart from visiting Gallerie dell’Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim’s Collection, make an effort to spend time at Venice’s lesser-known museums and sights. You will not only escape the suffocating crowds but will also enjoy some of the city’s most wonderful art and learn about its history and what made the Republic of Venice so powerful for the duration of one thousand years. Visiting Fondazione Querini Stampalia, the Ships PavillionLa Fenice Opera Theatre or Ca Pesaro is a good start.
  • Cicchetti –  take every opportunity to enjoy Venice’s own finger foods that are traditionally washed down with a glass of wine (called ombra by the Venetians);
  • Historical Events – if you are in Venice at the right time, enjoy a splendid event. CarnevaleVenice Historical Regatta, the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, and the annual Befana race are particularly famous.
  • Private Tours with a Truly Venetian Local Guide – for private tours of Venice, I always recommend Luisella Romeo from See Venice and Erika Cornali from When in Venice. They can help you experience Venice authentically and tailor a tour to your specifications. 

Venice is such a delight. Approached with the right mindset and a good idea of what you want to see there, a trip to the city of water can be a travel highlight to remember and cherish for years to come.

Travel Times by Train: From Padua – 25-28 mins. From Treviso – 30-40 mins. From Vicenza – 45-47 mins. From Rovigo – 48 mins – 1 h 2 mins. From Bassano del Grappa – 1 h 12 mins – 1 h 17 mins. From Verona – 1 h 12 mins – 1 h 28 mins.

Train station: Venezia Santa Lucia.

Tips: The train station you need to get off at is Venezia Santa Lucia. It is the last stop on the train track. Don’t get off at Venezia Mestre as this is the train station of mainland Venice, i.e. the administrative and residential borough of Mestre.

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2. Verona

View of Verona from Castel San Pietro - Verona, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Fair Verona doesn’t need an introduction. This is, after all, the Italian city which is forever linked in our hearts with the story of Romeo and Juliet. Verona is worth it not just because of its Shakespearean links though.

This city in Veneto has a rich Roman and medieval past, a worldwide known opera festival, and enough sights and places of interest to keep you occupied and excited for several days.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Verona:

  • Piazza Bra – one of the largest squares in Italy where you will find Arena di Verona – the Roman amphitheatre that once was used to host gladiator fights and nowadays is one of the finest concert venues in the world. This is where the famous Verona Opera Festival is held every summer. It is important to note that Arena di Verona pre-dates Rome’s Coliseum by around a century.
  • Piazza delle Erbe – lined up with beautifully frescoed buildings from Verona’s Middle Ages and the Renaissance and presided over by the gorgeous Baroque Palazzo Maffei. In the centre of this lovely historical square stands the Madonna Verona Fountain which is recognised as the symbol of the city of Verona.
  • Piazza dei Signori – surrounded by imposing historic buildings and with the statue of Dante at its heart. This square is where the annual Christmas market and several other important for the city events are held.
  • Scaliger Tombs – a group of Gothic funerary monuments honouring Verona’s medieval rulers – the fearsome Della Scala Family.
  • Torre dei Lamberti – built in 1172, this is the tallest tower in Verona. It offers you inspiring views over the city’s red rooftops.
  • Juliet’s House outfitted with the famous balcony (which, in fact, is a sarcophagus sawed in half). If you go there don’t just limit yourself to a quick visit of the courtyard. Instead, make sure that you tour the actual house, as it gives you a fascinating look into life in the 13th century.
  • Castelvecchio – explore this mighty medieval castle which nowadays houses a splendid art collection.
  • Roman Theatre and Archaeological Museum – this splendid Roman theatre was built in the first century BC and it is very well preserved to these days. Something more, it is still used for stage performances today. Visit the adjacent Archaeological Museum if you want to learn more about Verona’s Roman past.
  • Giardino Giusti – a Renaissance garden first planted in the 15th century. From its top level you can enjoy stunning views of Verona.
  • Juliet’s Club – where the Secretaries of Juliet reply to letters sent from all over the world asking the Shakespearean heroine for advice in the matters of the heart.

There are so many museums, churches, and places of interest in Verona, that you will be spoiled for choice. The good thing is that the city centre is easily navigable by foot, so you can walk everywhere and see as much as possible within a short amount of time.

Travel Times by Train: From Vicenza – 26-40 mins. From Padua – 44-58 mins. From Venice – 1 h 12 mins – 1 h 28 mins.

Train staion: Verona Porta Nuova.

Tips: Try the locally made sweets Baci di Romeo and Baci di Giulietta (literally Romeo’s Kisses and Juliet’s Kisses). They are delicious. Romeo’s version is made of almond paste and buttercream and Juliet’s is made of hazelnut paste and chocolate cream. They sell them in the nice patisseries around town. My favourite place to buy them is a historical pasticceria called De Rossi. Here I hasten to add that I am in no way related to them and also, this is not an ad, just a personal recommendation as I love these sweets so much.

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3. Padua

Piazza delle Erbe with the daily market and Palazzo della Ragione - Padua, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Tucked between Venice and Verona, Padua is often overlooked for one of them. Yet, this city in Veneto, Italy has a long list of sights that can rival the best that these two worldwide-known tourist magnets have to offer.

Chiefly known as the setting of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, in fact, Padua has many aces up its sleeve. The art, the museums, the churches, the history, and the shopping here are truly world-class.

It is in Padua that you will discover the world’s oldest academic Botanical Garden, Italy’s second-oldest University, and Italy’s largest square in addition to many splendid buildings, an 800 years old daily market, and some really tasty food (especially, the cakes!). So, put at least a day aside for this gem of a city in Veneto, Italy.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Padua:

  • Scrovegni Chapel – fully frescoed by Giotto and his students at the start of the 14th century, the art in this small chapel sparked the artistic expression of the Italian Renaissance. Tickets are in demand and tied to a time slot, so book your visit in advance.
  • Palazzo del Bo – the historic seat of Padua’s University. Founded in 1222, it is Italy’s second oldest University and the fifth oldest University in the world. This is where Galileo Galilei taught for 18 years and where for the first time in the world, a woman – Elena Cornaro Piscopia – received a PhD degree. 
  • Orto Botanico – founded in 1545, this is the oldest University Botanical Garden in the world that still remains at its original location.
  • Basilica of St Anthony of Padua – Padua’s most important religious sight and final resting place of St. Anthony – Padua’s patron.
  • Palazzo della Ragione – an imposing medieval town hall with an enormous fully-frescoed hall on the top floor and a covered market on its ground level. A must-see!
  • Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta – two historic squares that flank Palazzo della Ragione on both sides. They are also the daily stage of Padua’s market that takes place at this spot for 800 years now and counting.
  • Prato della Valle – Italy’s biggest square. It has an area of 90,000 square meters, it’s elliptical in shape and it’s surrounded by a canal flanked by the statues of important for the history of Padua people.
  • Caffe Pedrocchi – founded in 1772, this is one of Italy’s most legendary coffee shops. They used to call it ‘the cafe without doors’ as from 1831 (year of construction of its current grand premises) to 1916 it was open 24/7 and its doors were never closed.

With its rich academic and religious history and its many hidden corners, Padua likes to surprise its visitors with the number of world-class sights that can be seen and enjoyed there. Definitely put this city in Veneto on top of your city breaks wish list. In addition to all that you can do there, Padua also makes for a wonderful base for day trips in Northern Italy.

Travel Times by Train: From Vicenza – 17-27 mins. From Venice – 25-27 mins. From Treviso – 38-45 mins. From Rovigo – 43-52 mins. From Verona – 44-58 mins. From Bassano del Grappa – 59 mins to 1 h 32 mins. From Belluno – 2 h – 2 h 47 mins.

Train Station: Padova

Tips: Set some time aside to explore Padua’s hidden gems. Visit the Church of the Eremitani to see the Mantegna frescoes. Read here the amazing story of how they were destroyed during the bombings of the Second World War and then decades later restored using advanced mathematical calculations. Don’t miss the Baptistery right next to Padua’s Duomo. It is covered in splendid 14th-century frescoes that have quite the hypnotic effect on the viewer. Another little gem is St. Anthony’s School (next door to the Basilica of St. Anthony) which is covered in frescoes by Titian and other famous local artists. 

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4. Vicenza

View of Corso Palladio - Vicenza, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Known as the Pearl of the Renaissance, the Heart of Veneto, the City of Palladio, and the Gold Town, Vicenza lies half-way between Venice and Verona and is less than 20 mins away by train from Padua.

This city in Veneto, Italy is a creative hub of art, jewellery traditions, and one-of-a-kind events. Plus it is a veritable open-air museum of architecture. Its streets are lined with sumptuous palaces and buildings that have inspired architectural cannons all over Europe and North America for the past 500 years.

This is also the city in Veneto that I called home for six glorious years of living in Italy. I have a lot of recommendations as to what you can see and enjoy there and I invite you not to miss the opportunity to discover Vicenza for yourself. 

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Vicenza:

  • Basilica Palladiana – an architectural landmark ideated by Andrea Palladio who is often referred to as the most influential architect of the Western world for the past 500 years. Palladio designed many of Vicenza’s sumptuous palaces and most important buildings. His Basilica was never a religious building. It housed the town hall and it was named basilica reviving the Ancient Roman meaning of the term, i.e. a large public building with many different functions. Nowadays, the Basilica Palladiana is a venue for exciting temporary exhibitions. On its ground floor, you will discover some of Vicenza’s oldest jewellery shops. The Basilica’s top-level terrace is regularly open for visits and it allows you to enjoy an unparalleled view of the city of Vicenza in Veneto.
  • Piazza dei Signori – Vicenza’s gorgeous central square that is steeped in history and hosts some of the city’s most impressive buildings.
  • Church of  St. Mary of Mount Berico – this is one of Italy’s most important and visited sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was erected on top of Mount Berico after the Virgin appeared twice to a peasant girl there in the 15th century and promised to free Vicenza of the terrible bout of the plague that was ravishing the city at the time.
  • Teatro Olimpico – the world’s first indoor theatre in masonry. Like most notable buildings in Vicenza, it was designed by Andrea Palladio. Inside it, you can also see the world’s oldest surviving stage set still in use today. 
  • Church of Santa Corona – the church was originally built in the 13th century to house a Holy Thorn from Christ’s Crown of Thorns. For security reasons, nowadays the Holy Thorn Reliquary is shown to the public only on Easter. The rest of the time it is kept in the nearby Diocesan Museum. The church itself is very beautiful and has a rich collection of priceless works of art. Among them are paintings by Giovanni Bellini and Paolo Veronese. Here you can also visit the final resting place of Luigi da Porto – a nobleman from Vicenza and the original author of the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Palladio Museum – here you can learn about Andrea Palladio, his life, and the genius of his architecture. Models of Palladio’s buildings in Vicenza and Veneto give you a good idea of the scope of his work. Temporary art exhibitions are also held here.
  • Civic Art Gallery of Palazzo Chiericati – discover a beautiful collection of paintings, sculptures, and applied arts from the 13th to the 20th centuries. It’s all housed in a beautiful Palladian palace.
  • Gallerie d’Italia at Palazzo Leoni Montanari – a remarkable art museum housed in an elegant frescoed palace.
  • Jewellery Museum – this is the first such museum in Italy. The jewels exhibited there change every two years. In addition, temporary exhibitions on the art and craft of jewellery are held there regularly.
  • Jewellery Shops – expect to see many lavish jewellery shops all over Vicenza as this city in Veneto is one of Italy’s most important jewellery-making centres.

For all that it has to offer, Vicenza keeps itself away from the trodden tourist track. This makes this city in Veneto all the lovelier to explore and all the more peaceful to enjoy. If you are an architecture aficionado or are looking for that rare gem of a city that has it all but it lacks crowds and cheapened attractions, come to Vicenza for a city break in Veneto, Italy to remember for years to come.

Travel Times by Train: From Padua – 17-27 mins. From Verona – 26-40 mins. From Venice – 45-47 mins. From Schio – 42 mins. From Treviso – 1 h 2 mins – 1 h 20 mins. From Bassano del Grappa –  1h 6 mins.

Train Station: Vicenza

Tips: You may wonder why there is a mulberry tree in the courtyard of the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy. The surprising answer is that the humble mulberry tree facilitated the growth of Vicenza to the point of the city becoming a famous centre of Renaissance architecture and art. Mulberry leaves mean food for silkworms and silkworms mean silk. The production of silk fabrics in Vicenza in the 16th and the 17th centuries was such that the city, in spite of its compact size, quickly amassed unimaginable riches which the local textile merchants promptly invested in the construction of sumptuous palaces and splendid collections of art.

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5. Treviso

Treviso - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

People usually fly into Treviso’s low-cost airport and then head straight to either Venice or Verona, completely bypassing this very pretty city in Veneto, Italy. Don’t make the same mistake!

With its breathtaking frescoed buildings, mighty defensive walls, long canals, stone bridges, and historic cobbled streets, the city of Treviso guarantees a day of exciting exploration. 

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Treviso:

  • Piazza dei Signori – Treviso’s expansive main square. The most important buildings you can admire here are: Palazzo del Podesta with the 13th-century Civic Tower, the gothic Palazzo dei Trecento (which was bombed in 1944 by the Allied Forces), and Palazzo Pretorio with its 17th-century facade.
  • Loggia dei Cavalieri – you will find this very elegant structure in the heart of the old town. Covered with faded frescoes on the inside, it is my favourite sight in Treviso. The loggia dates back to the 13th century. It was built to serve the local nobility as a place for meetings, conversations, and games.
  • Civic Museum Santa Caterina and Civic Museum Luigi Bailo – two splendid museums where you can easily spend hours admiring the many archaeological artifacts and priceless works of art. Temporary art exhibitions are often held there, too. They add to Treviso’s vibrant cultural life.
  • Gallerie delle Prigioni – when in Treviso, pop into this former prison to experience one of Italy’s foremost art spaces dedicated to contemporary culture. Gallerie delle Prigioni organises temporary exhibitions, new art commissions, and educational programmes.
  • City Walls and Gates – go for a leisurely walk along Treviso’s centuries-old defensive walls that keep the city’s historic centre in their tight embrace. The gates leading in and out of the old town are particularly impressive. 
  • Duomo di San Pietro – Treviso’s seven-domed cathedral where you can admire a Titian and visit a very atmospheric crypt housing the relics of San Liberale – the city’s Patron Saint.
  • Church of St. Francis (Chiesa di San Francesco) – a prime example of the late Romanesque/early Gothic style, this church has important frescos from the 13th century. Inside it are also the tombs of Petrarch’s daughter Francesca and Dante’s son Pietro. The church was used as a stable and storeroom by Napoleon’s army and then by the Austrian troops. Some of its artistic legacy in the shape of paintings by the likes of Carpaccio and Alvise Vivarini was removed. The church underwent a large-scale renovation at the start of the 20th century.
  • Church of San Nicolo’ – this is Treviso’s largest church (it exceeds in size the city’s cathedral). It was built in the 14th century thanks to a large donation by Pope Benedict XI – himself a native of Treviso. The church stands out with its many frescoes. It is also here that you can see the earliest depiction in a work of art of spectacles (eyeglasses) and a magnifying glass in Europe.
  • La Pescheria – a small river island where the town’s fresh fish market is held. Nearby you can see Treviso’s old water mills.

Treviso’s many excellent coffee houses and patisseries add greatly to the charm of this city in Veneto, Italy. Make sure that you spend a quiet moment of relaxation in at least one of them. Enjoying a spot of people-watching while sipping a cup of proper Italian coffee is akin to finding out for yourself the true meaning of the Italian concept dolce far niente (it’s sweet to do nothing).

Treviso is a great destination for a city break in Northern Italy, so give yourself a chance to experience it first hand.

Travel Times by Train: From Venice – 30-40 mins. From Padua – 38-45 mins. From Bassano del Grappa – 1 h 1 min – 1 h 17 mins. From Vicenza – 1 h 2 mins – 1 h 20 mins. From Belluno – 1 h 24 mins – 1 h 51 mins. 

Train Station: Treviso Centrale

Tips: Treviso is the birthplace of a dessert, a vegetable, and a drink all three of which make life so much more delicious:

  • The first one is tiramisu – that glorious dessert made with coffee- and marsala-dipped ladyfingers which are then layered with mascarpone beaten with raw eggs and dusted with bitter cocoa. Truly, my favourite Italian delight!
  • The second one is the radicchio rosso – also called Italian chicory in English. Its bitter taste is a great complement to any fresh salad, plus it is very tasty grilled and added to pasta dishes, too.
  • The third one is prosecco – the Italian sparkling wine which nowadays is incredibly popular all over the world.

 

 

6. Rovigo

View of Rovigo's central square - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Rovigo is a city in Veneto that is little known outside of Italy. Yet, it makes for a great day trip and it adds another dimension to your Italian adventure.

With a compact and very walkable historic centre, Rovigo has a nice selection of galleries and museums in addition to some splendid churches where you can admire gorgeous frescoes.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Rovigo:

  • Torre Dona’ and Torre Grimani– imposing brick towers that are remnants of Rovigo’s no longer existing medieval castle. Torre Dona’ is one of Italy’s tallest medieval towers. In addition, this city in Veneto keeps many other remnants of its once-powerful medieval fortified walls, huge gates, and watchtowers. Among them are Porta San Bortolo and Torre Pighin.
  • Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II – this elegant square is Rovigo’s beating heart. Come here to admire the architecture of the buildings that surround it and to catch a city-wide event. 
  • Rovigo Cathedral – originally erected before the 11th century and then re-built in the 15th and the 17th centuries.
  • La Rotonda Church (also known as the Church of the Madonna del Soccorso) – the church was designed by a pupil of the great architect Andrea Palladio to house a miraculous image of the Madonna with Child carrying a rose. The church’s interior is covered with 17th-century frescos.
  • Palazzo Roverella and Palazzo Roncale – visit these two Renaissance palaces in Rovigo for their rich collections of art and archaeological artifacts and the exciting temporary exhibitions staged there. Palazzo Roverella also houses the Pinacoteca dei Concordi – an art gallery with original paintings by Tiepolo, Giovanni Bellini, and Palma the Elder.

For all the splendour of its historic centre, Rovigo is a small and quiet place that goes completely still during the hours of the traditional Italian riposo. A visit to this city in Veneto – albeit for an hour or half a day – makes for a nice and relaxing break after the hubbub of the region’s larger cities like Verona, Padua, and Venice. 

Travel Times by Train: From Padua – 18-55 mins. From Venice – 48 mins – 1 h 7 mins. From Vicenza – 1 h 9 mins – 1 h 39 mins. From Chioggia – 1 h 10 mins. From Treviso – 1 h 12 mins – 1 h 35 mins. From Verona – from 1 h 42 mins. 

Train Station: Rovigo

Tips: Rovigo is the entry point for trips to the Delta of the river Po. Po is the longest river in Italy and its delta is a fabulous place for active and beach tourism. You can canoe, cycle, bird-watch, go on boat trips or simply relax on the beach. Flocks of pink flamingoes live in the delta and are a delight to see and photograph. The area is also of interest to enthusiasts of historical and industrial archaeology. A lovely place to visit here is the Coastal Botanical Garden of Porto Caleri.

 

 

7. Chioggia

Piazzale Perotolo, Chioggia - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Chioggia is like a mini Venice but without the suffocating tourist crowds.

A city built on islands at the southern end of the Venetian Lagoon, a long bridge connects Chioggia to the mainland. Canals full of boats crisscross the city. Pastel houses draped with Italy’s most photogenic clotheslines line the streets.

Just walking around feels like a real treat. You pass by many churches full of priceless works of art, small restaurants serving the freshest seafood, and everywhere you look picturesque views open in front of your eyes.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Chioggia:

  • Boat trip – take a tour boat for a fun ride around Chioggia in the Venetian Lagoon. Regular boat tours run through the day taking you close to several sights of historic and cultural value in the lagoon.
  • Wholesale Fish Market and Retail Fish Markets – Chioggia is one of the biggest and oldest fishing ports in Italy. Its wholesale and retail fish markets are lively places where tons of fresh seafood are sold daily. Make sure that you check the opening times in advance to make sure you are there at the right time. 
  • Bell Tower of Sant’Andrea and Clock Tower Museum – Chioggia claims to have the world’s oldest clock. See it on the facade of the 30-meter high Bell Tower of Sant’Andrea. Then visit the Clock Tower Museum inside the bell tower to see the clock’s mechanism and to learn its fascinating story.
  • Museum of Southern Lagoon – an ethnographic and archaeologic museum tracing the history of Chioggia through the centuries. 
  • Museum of Adriatic Zoology – here you can see the most important historical collection of marine animals from the Adriatic Sea.
  • Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta – Chioggia’s main church.
  • Refugium Peccatorum (also known as Sagraeto) – A statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus underneath a golden dome. It stands at Piazzale Perotolo just outside Chioggia’s Duomo. Refugium Peccatorum is a Roman Catholic title of the Virgin Mary. It means Refuge for Sinners. In the past, those condemned to death in Chioggia were allowed to stop in front of this statue of the Virgin and pray for their souls on the way to the scaffold. 
  • Porta di Santa Maria (also known as Porta Garibaldi) – an early 16th-century gate that in the past provided the only entry point into Chioggia.
  • Corso del Popolo – Chioggia’s main artery – a wide and beautiful street that is lined with shops, restaurants, palaces, and churches. 
  • Ponte Vigo – the prettiest bridge in Chioggia stands over Canal Vena – the city’s most important canal – and it opens beautiful views over the Venetian Lagoon. From the adjacent to the bridge Piazzetta Vigo, you can get a tour boat for a fun trip around Chioggia and a ferry to the nearby island of Pellestrina.
  • Sottomarina – a lively suburb of Chioggia with a sandy beach that is 10 km long and up to 300 m wide. The sand is rich in augite, quartz, silicates, and micaceous elements making the beach ideal for sand bathing treatment.

Chioggia will give you a good idea of what Venice would have been like today had it not become a maritime and commercial powerhouse centuries ago. This city in Veneto is full of character, easy to navigate, and with tons of fresh seafood. There are huge beaches within a very close reach, and, above all, there are no maddening crowds.

In Chioggia, you can take it easy and observe the locals at what they have been doing for centuries: fishing and lacemaking. All in all, it’s a great destination for a city break or a day trip in this corner of Italy. 

Travel Times by Train: From Rovigo – 1 h 10 mins. From Padua – 2 h 10 mins.

Train Station: Chioggia

Travel Times by Bus: From Padua – 1 h 6 mins by coach E005-V/E005-Z to Chioggia and from 1 h 15  mins by coach E005-V/E005-Z to Sottomarina. The coach line is operated by BusItalia Veneto. The coaches leave from Autostazione BusItalia (Viale della Pace 1, 35131, Padua) which is two minutes away from Padua’s train station.

N.B.: You can also travel by bus and ferry to Chioggia from Venice. First, you will need to make your way to the island of Lido where you need to catch bus 11 to the island of Pellestrina. Once you reach the last bus stop at Pellestrina Cimitero, you need to catch a ferry for the 25-minute ride to Chioggia.

Tips: In June every year, Chioggia stages the Palio della Marciliana – a reenactment inspired by the city’s 14th-century history. Hundreds of people, dressed in lavish costumes, take over the city streets. There are noble ladies, knights, musicians, and craftsmen. There are ancient games, balls, and parades. Chioggia re-lives its glorious past when it was rivaling Venice in splendour.

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8. Bassano del Grappa

Bassano del Grappa with the Alpini Bridge - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Bassano del Grappa is a picturesque city on the shores of the crystal clear river Brenta. The Venetian Prealps serve as its dramatic backdrop. Founded in the 2nd century BC, today Bassano stands out with its medieval and Venetian architecture. Here you will find the remains of a medieval castle (used for opera performances each summer), fortified city walls, lovely cobbled piazzas, and many old buildings with faded frescoes on their facades. Winged lions (the symbol of the Republic of Venice) can be spotted all over the city’s historic centre.

Bassano is famous as a centre of production of grappa– a potent alcoholic drink made of grapes. It is often assumed that this city in Veneto owes the second part of its name to the drink. Instead, Bassano was named del Grappa in 1928 to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in the decisive battles that were fought on the nearby Mount Grappa during the First World War.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Bassano del Grappa:

  • Ponte degli Alpini – a wooden covered bridge straddling the river Brenta. A bridge has stood in the same place since the Middle Ages. It was destroyed several times. In 1569, the renowned architect Andrea Palladio rebuilt the bridge giving it its current magnificent shape. The bridge’s tumultuous history didn’t stop there though. In the centuries that followed, it was destroyed again and again in wars and force major events. The last time this happened was in 1945. Palladio’s original designs were followed every time that the bridge was erected again.
  • Duomo di Santa Maria in Colle – Bassano’s cathedral was originally built around the year 998 and its imposing body is still a wonder to behold.
  • Piazza della Liberta’ and Piazza Garibaldi – Bassano del Grappa’s beautiful main squares. At Piazza della Liberta’ don’t miss the 15th-century Loggia del Comune with the splendid astronomical clock on its facade. You can go up the steps and walk inside the loggia free of charge for a great view of the square below.
  • Civic Museum – housed in a former Franciscan convent, the Civic Museum of Bassano del Grappa has an archaeological collection, a medieval section, a number of artworks by the likes of Canova and father and son Tiepolo, as well as a whole room dedicated to Jacopo del Ponte (also known as Jacopo Bassano – the city’s most famous Renaissance painter). The adjacent cloister holds a lapidarium and it’s also used for contemporary art installations.
  • Church of St. Francis – an impressive 12th-century church next door to the Civic Museum. It has a 14th-century crucifix among several other works of art.
  • Palazzo Bonaguro – this is where the Natural History section of Bassano’s Civic Museums is housed.
  • Palazzo Sturm – a lovely historic building which houses two museums.
  • Poli Grappa Museum – here you can learn all about the potent Italian drink grappa and see how it is made.
  • Hemingway and the Great War Museum – after being wounded in the First World War, the great writer Ernest Hemingway spent three months in Bassano del Grappa. The villa where he stayed has been turned into a museum. 

Bassano del Grappa is the perfect destination for a city break in Veneto, Italy. Little-known by the mass tourist yet so easy to fall in love with, this city has a lot to offer in terms of history, art, and nature explorations.

Travel Times by Train: From Padua – 59 mins to 1 h 32 mins. From Treviso – 1 h 1 min – 1 h 17 mins. From Vicenza –  1h 6 mins. From Venice – 1 h 12 mins – 1 h 17 mins. From Belluno – 2 h – 2 h 19 mins.

Train Station: Bassano del Grappa

Tips: Bassano del Grappa is particularly famous for the locally made ceramics. Shop selling wonderful and whimsical ceramic pieces produced by small family-owned workshops are abundant here. Stock up on imaginative hand-painted cups, plates, terrines, and bowls in order to take a piece of Italy with you home. Visit the Ceramics Museum G. Roi in Palazzo Sturm in town to learn more about the tradition of ceramics in Bassano del Grappa, Veneto.  

 

 

9. Schio

British Day 2018 - Schio, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Here is a city in Veneto that not many have heard of beyond the confines of Italy. Yet, Schio is a place with a very interesting history and will greatly appeal to lovers of industrial archeology.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Schio in the Province of Vicenza was the capital of Italy’s textile production. So advanced were the local textile factories at the time that Schio even earned the moniker of Italy’s Manchester.

Nowadays, there are many vestiges of this glorious industrial past to explore in and around Schio. From gardens and buildings erected by the textile producers to provide optimal lifestyle conditions for their workers to a yearly festival held in Schio building on the town’s textile roots and industrial connections to Great Britain.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Schio:

  • Duomo di San Pietro – a beautiful neoclassical building with an elevated terrace opening great views over Schio’s central square and the mountains that serve as the city’s dramatic backdrop.
  • Schio Castle – not much remains of Schio’s medieval castle. Only one of its towers survives to this day and nowadays it forms part of a small church that has been erected on top of the hill where the castle once stood. Go for an energising walk to the hilltop for stunning cityscape views of Schio. 
  • Fabbrica Alta – when it was built in the 19th century, this was one of the most advanced textile factories in Europe. Nowadays, it is no longer used and it is closed for visitors, yet seeing it will make any industrial archaeology fan very happy. 
  • Giardino Jacquard – you will find this English-style garden just opposite the main entrance of the Fabbrica Alta. It was originally built to provide the factory workers with a place to relax and enjoy close contact with nature. The garden is full of whimsical details like crocodile heads sticking out of walls.
  • Church of San Francesco – a beautiful church with a long history and some wonderful pieces of art. Next to it, you can see the cloisters of the former Franciscan monastery. 
  • Roggia Maestra – An artificial canal the fast-running waters of which were instrumental for the rapid development and advance of Schio’s textile industry in the past centuries.
  • Castelgrotta Cheese Cave – a former bomb shelter that nowadays is used to mature the famous local cheese Castelgrotta. For more details about the cheese cave and how to visit it, have a look at cheese experience number 7 in this list.
  • Butterfly Museum – cocooned in Schio’s industrial zone, this museum preserves over 10,000 butterflies from all over the world. 

Small and off the beaten track, Schio offers a different point of view to Italy. There is no place for tourist cliches here. Instead, by visiting this city in Veneto, you have a chance to understand Italy better as a country of great entrepreneurship and significant industrial advances.

Travel Times by Train: From Vicenza – 42 mins. From Padua – 1 h 11 mins. From Verona – 1 h 21 mins – 1 h 29 mins. From Venezia – 1 h 41 mins.

Train Station: Schio

Tips: Come to Schio for its annual British Day. This is when this Italian city celebrates its historic industrial connections to Great Britain. The city centre gets adorned with British flags, the shops sell British products, and a big British parade takes place with bagpipers and the ‘Queens’ of England present. It’s a lot of fun! Click on the two links below to read more about British Day Schio.  

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10. Belluno

Belluno, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Often called the Gateway to the Dolomites, Belluno is a very pretty city in Veneto, Italy.

Its historic centre stretches out across the top of a steep hill with Belluno’s churches and buildings standing against the backdrop of the Dolomites’ majestic craggy peaks. 

Within an easy distance from Belluno, you will find a number of famous ski resorts, dozens of exciting hiking paths, and gorgeous medieval villages. The city itself – although small and very walkable in a day – offers a great cocktail of history and art. 

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Belluno:

  • Palazzo Fulcis housing Belluno’s Civic Museum – a beautifully curated museum taking you on a journey through the history, the art, and the applied arts of Belluno and the adjacent area.
  • Palazzo dei Rettori – the palace where the Venetian rulers of Belluno lived and worked during the centuries of Venetian domination of the city and the adjacent lands. A special mention deserves the beautiful clock that adorns the palace’s 16th-century tower.
  • Duomo di San Martino – an imposing church dedicated to Belluno’s Patron Saint. Its bell tower is almost 72 m tall including the almost 5 m tall figure of an angel on its top. Inside the Duomo, you can admire a rich collection of religious art including a piece by Cesare Vecellio – cousin of the worldwide famous Renaissance painter Titian who himself was born in a small town called Pieve di Cadore’ in the vicinity of Belluno.
  • Piazza dei Martiri – an enormous square right in Belluno’s historic heart. 
  • Porta Dojona – a large gate that leads to Belluno’s most ancient part. Originally built in the 13th century, it was greatly enlarged during the Renaissance.
  • Church of Santo Stefano – with some lovely frescoes preserved in one of its chapels as well as works of art by Cesare Vecellio and followers of Titian.
  • Borgo Piave – Belluno’s ancient river port. In the past, large rafts loaded with wood would head from here to Venice where the wood was used to build the ships on which the commercial and military interests of the Republic of Venice depended greatly.

Belluno is a great destination for a city break in Veneto, Italy. A weekend there offers you the opportunity to delve into history and art as well as get up close and personal with nature. With a historic centre that is small enough for you to see and visit its best sights in a day, you can put a second day aside to enjoy a beautiful hike, to visit a centuries-old village, or to admire unique natural sights like Cadini del Brenton within easy distance from Belluno.

While Belluno is a bit further away from the other larger cities in Veneto, the city is a great starting point for an exploration of the Dolomites. Make sure that you tick it off your list.

Travel Times by Train: From Treviso – 1 h 24 mins – 1 h 51 mins. From Bassano del Grappa – 2 h – 2 h 19 mins. From Padua – 2 h – 2 h 47 mins. From Venice – 2 h 9 mins – 2 h 49 mins.

Train Station: Belluno

Tips: When in Belluno, don’t miss the city’s covered escalator. 93 metres long and rather steep, it takes you from the bottom to the top of the hill on which the historic centre stands. The ride lasts about three and a half minutes and covers an elevation of 46 metres. The escalator is paid for but it’s a great experience, so do give it a try. 

 

 

Tips and Tricks for Quick and Cheap Train and Bus Travel to the 10 Best Cities in Veneto, Italy

 

 

I. Websites to check travel options to reach the 10 best cities in Veneto, Italy

Via Mazzini with the Lamberti Tower - Verona, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

To check travel options and get an idea of travel times and ticket prices to the 10 best cities in Veneto, Italy, I use the following websites:

1.  Rome 2 Rio – which shows me all the available modes of transport to and between the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy.

2. Trainline – which shows me all the available train journeys to and between the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy. It also shows prices and types of trains but it doesn’t allow you to purchase tickets for the cheaper regional trains.

3. Trenitalia – my go-to train travel website in Italy. It gives me all the available train destinations, travel times, train changes, and price points. It also allows you to buy your tickets for all types of trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Intercity, Regionale Veloce, and Regionale) in advance.

4. Italo Treno – a train company running its own branded high-speed trains. Often announces discount codes on its Facebook page. It’s best to buy tickets in advance from their website as the prices may increase steeply if you buy the ticket on the day.

5. FS Bus Italia Veneto – for bus travel to and between the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy.

 

 

II. Tips and tricks for quick and cheap train travel to and between the 10 best cities in Veneto, Italy

View of the city's main street - Padua, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Train travel in Italy is generally very well organised. You can get from A to B quickly and (in most cases) cheaply. Here are some tips and tricks to help you reach the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy by train:

1. There are different types of trains in Italy depending on their speed:

  • Frecciarossa and Frecciargento (Trenitalia) and Italo Treno are the high-speed trains that will zip you from one city in Veneto to another in no time.
  • Regionale Veloce stands for fast regional trains that connect towns and cities within the region and travel at rather fast speeds.
  • Regionale are the slowest trains of them all. They stop at all small towns and villages along the way and take their time to reach the final destination.

2. Where possible, try to travel by Regionale Veloce:

  • The tickets for this type of train are several times cheaper than the tickets for the high-speed trains Frecciarossa and Frecciargento.
  • The tickets for the Regionale Veloce trains don’t fluctuate in price, so you can buy them on the day.
  • For example, a one-way ticket from Padua to Vicenza with the Frecciarossa train can cost as much as 16.90 euros if you buy it online in advance. If you take a Regionale Veloce train, you will pay only 4.45 euros. The travel times are identical. Both Frecciarossa and Regionale Veloce at present take 16 mins to reach Vicenza from Padua.

3. Travel by Frecciarossa/Frecciargento to destinations that are further away. For example, if you fly into Milan Malpensa airport, then by all means take a high-speed train to reach Verona or Venice. You will pay more, but you will spend much less time travelling.

  • In this case, try to buy your tickets in advance online, as they will be cheaper than buying them on the day at the train station.

4. Travel by Regionale trains only if there are no other options. They are the same price as Regionale Veloce trains, but they can take a very long time.

5. Bear in mind that if you use the Trenitalia website to compare prices and travel times for the different types of trains:

  • You need to type the names of your departure and destination cities in Italian. For example, Venezia for Venice and Padova for Padua. It doesn’t matter if you are using the site in English or Italian. I don’t know why this is so, just be aware that if you type ‘Venice’, you will get an error message. Above I have provided the Italian names of the train stations of the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy.

6. You can buy tickets online in advance or on the day at the train station:

  • Lines for the ticket office can be long and slow-moving so arrive with plenty of time to spare.
  • You can use the ticket machines to either buy a ticket or print a ticket bought online.
  • Beware that some ticket machines only take cards and others take both cards and cash. Check the symbols in the upper right corner of the machine to make sure you are using the correct machine depending on how you want to pay.
  • The ticket machines are multilingual – you can select the language you want at the start of the operation.
  • There is a recorded message about pickpockets and being vigilant. Usually, you cannot skip it, you can only start buying your ticket once the message has finished playing.
  • Some ticket machines print the ticket on large rectangular pieces of card. Other machines print the ticket on small rectangular pieces of card. It seems to depend on the machines and the station, but all machines look the same and operate the same at all stations.

7. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train:

  • Look for the small oval machines attached to walls and pillars at train stations and train platforms.
  • You don’t need to validate tickets for Frecciarossa/Frecciargento bought online which you have printed at home or via a ticket machine at the train station. These are usually tickets with an assigned seat and for a train leaving at a particular time.
  • You need to validate all other tickets (especially for Regionale Veloce and Regionale trains) bought at the station (from the ticket office or the ticket machine).
  • Tickets for the Regionale Veloce and the Regionale trains are ‘open’, in the sense that you can use them for any such train on the day you purchased the ticket for.
  • However, once validated, your ticket is valid for the next 4 hours. In other words, you need to board the train within the four hours after having validated your ticket.
  • Insert the ticket in the machine’s slot, pushing it in and as much to the left as it would go, and then wait for the whirring sound. Take your ticket out and check if the machine has printed a long line with numbers on your ticket. The first few numbers are the time and date.

8. Trains arrive a couple of minutes before the time of departure, so they stay on the platform a little longer than trains in England, for example, where they arrive and leave within a very short window of time.

9. Trains often have two floors with upstairs and downstairs seats. For the best views, go upstairs.

10. Always buy a ticket before you travel. If you are caught without a ticket, with the incorrect ticket or a not validated ticket, you may be given an option to buy a ticket at a higher price, but you may as well be directly fined a rather large amount of money. Italian ticket inspectors can get very stern very quickly, especially if a passenger pretends that he/she doesn’t know the rules. Ticket inspectors in Italy often speak very good English, French, and/or German.

 

 

In Conclusion

Monte Berico seen from a city street - Vicenza, Italy - rossiwrites.com

A city break in Italy sounds like the stuff that dreams are made of.

So, in this blog post, I introduce you to ten perfect destinations for an Italian city break to remember for a lifetime. These are the ten best cities in Veneto – the Northern Italian region which is mostly famous for its capital, the splendid historic city of Venice.

Yet, Veneto has many aces up its sleeve for apart from Venice, here you will also find the city of love Verona, the city of academics Padua, the city of architecture Vicenza as well as several other beautiful cities rich in history, art, and nature.

For each of the ten best cities in Veneto, Italy I have provided a short overview coupled with a short list of the most famous and intriguing local sights. Detailed travel information is given, too so that you can easily travel to and between Veneto’s cities and see as many of them as you can during your vacation.

I hope that all the information will come in useful and that you will keep returning to my blog for more travel guides and unmissable destinations all over Europe.  

Thank you for reading!

Enjoy your city break in Veneto, Italy!

 

 

More Helpful Links for the Best Places to Discover in Veneto, Italy

 

 

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About the author

Rossi

Rossi

Hello! I am Rossi - a Bulgarian currently living in England after 6 years in Italy which were preceded by 14 years in England. This is my blog about my life in these three countries and travels around Europe with history and culture in mind. For regular updates, please, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on social media online. You can also get in touch via the Contacts form or by commenting on the articles in my blog.

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