Things to Do in Veneto - page 4
Topped by soaring domes and spires, the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua (Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova) is the most important church in the city and is visited by pilgrims from across the globe. With its mix of Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic architecture, and rounded domes reminiscent of St. Mark’s Basilica in nearby Venice, this church is one of Padua’s top attractions.
Built in the 1550s, Porta Palio is a monumental city gate in Verona. It stands on the site of a former gate in the Medieval walled city. While the gate is now closed to traffic—whether horse, car, or pedestrian—it stands a reminder of 16th-century Verona.
Of all the sumptuous palaces lining Venice’s Grand Canal, Ca’ Rezzonico is arguably the most magnificent. An outstanding example of Venetian baroque and rococo architecture and décor, this palace and its museum offer a glimpse into the extravagances of 18th-century Venice.
An ancient waterway connecting the Italian cities of Padua and Venice, the channel of the Brenta Riviera dates back to the 16th century and was built to flow directly into the lagoon of Venice. The green space lining the canal inspired many wealthy Venetians to build villas along its waterfront, and some still remain open for exploration today. These country homes often served as second residences for Venice’s noble families — far enough away to enjoy a countryside atmosphere but close enough to return quickly to Venice.
Not just any second home, many of the Brenta Riviera villas are more like monuments or palaces complete with exquisite works of art and large frescoes. The amount of villas, gardens, and residences lining the canals built up to a point where it was nearly considered an extension of Venice’s Grand Canal. Many of the villas can be visited still today, including the Villa Foscari and the Villa Pisani — which has gardens, an art collection, and a famous maze.
Campo San Luca is a bustling square in the heart of Venice. Located midway between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, Campo San Luca’s central location makes it a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors alike, and a constant stream of visitors makes it a lively spot for people-watching.
Once home to the Mocenigo family of Venice, the Mocenigo Palace (Palazzo Mocenigo) is now a museum dedicated to 17th- and 18th-century fashion and aristocratic Venetian life. Located just south of the Grand Canal in the Santa Croce district, the beautifully furnished palazzo offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the lives of Venetian nobility.
With its temple-like colonnaded façade flanked by weeping willows and bordering the glittering Venetian lagoon; the stunning setting of Villa Foscari begs to be photographed. The striking villa, also known as La Malcontenta, was built in 1559 for Nicolò and Alvise Foscari, and makes up one of a number of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Palladian villas.
The work of acclaimed architect, Andrea Palladio, Villa Foscari combines traditional Venetian, Greek and Roman architecture to give a palatial feel, aided by the villa’s elevated location, looking out over the Brenta River. The regal atmosphere continues inside, where visitors can admire magnificent frescoes from the likes of Battista Franco and Gian Battista Zelotti.
The Venice Lido (Lido di Venezia), a long stretch of sand in the Venetian Lagoon, is an easy escape for a quick beach break, round of golf, bout of shopping, or leisurely meal. Along several water bus lines and just minutes from the center of Venice, sneaking away from the crushing crowds of St. Mark’s Square couldn’t be simpler.
Burano is an island in the Venetian lagoon famous for its colorful houses and intricately woven handmade lace. Traditional handmade lace is not as common as it once was, but you can still see women in the squares of Burano making lace by hand the old-fashioned way, and you can explore the island’s lace tradition at the Museo del Merletto, the Lace Museum.
Located on the sparsely populated island of Torcello in the Venetian Lagoon, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (I Gesuiti) is one of the oldest structures in Venice. Originally constructed in the 7th century, what you see now is mostly renovations from the 11th and 12th centuries in the Byzantine style featuring an impressive array of mosaics.
More Things to Do in Veneto
Discover a 700-year history of artistic glassmaking at the Museo del Vetro (Museum of Glass), located on the island of Murano, just north of Venice. Master craftsmen still create exquisite pieces of glass art on the island today, and the museum, housed in a 15th-century palace, showcases the world’s largest collection of Venetian glass.
Palazzo Querini Stampalia is one of Venice’s few noble palaces open to the public. Here you can tour the 18th-century ducal apartments as well as view the extensive collection of fine art—including works by Giovanni Bellini, Pietro Longhi, and Tiepolo—at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Querini Stampalia Foundation).
Set in Italy’s Veneto region, Soave is a historic walled village famous for its medieval castle and fine white wines. Located just off the A4 motorway outside Verona, it’s an ideal stopping point between Venice and Milan, where you can explore the castle fortifications and sample white wines from local vineyards.
A showstopper of a church, Santa Maria del Giglio (known locally as Santa Maria Zobenigo after the Venetian family who founded the original chapel) has one of the most ornate baroque facades in Venice. The church also houses works by Peter Paul Rubens and Tintoretto and boasts an ornate, cherub-covered baptistery.
A nod to Venice’s rich classical musical heritage, the small but fascinating Music Museum (Museo della Musica) is one of the city’s little-known gems. Housed in the beautifully restored church of Chiesa di San Maurizio, the museum explores the art of violin making and the preservation of rare musical instruments.
The Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista is a confraternity of the church of San Giovanni Evangelista. This was an association of lay people dedicated to Christian beliefs and linked with the church. It was originally established in the church of San Aponal in 1261, making it the oldest of the six Great Schools of the former Republic of Venice, but it 1307 it was moved. The Scuola became famous in 1369 when the confraternity's Guardian Grande received the Relic of the Cross as a present. Many artists depicted this relic in paintings at the time.
During the 19th century, the Austrian government threatened to take the Scuola's beautiful marble floor. The Venetians organized to raise enough money to buy the building, saving it from being picked apart. They donated it to the world of art, and today it is an art museum where visitors can view its Hall of Columns, Monumental Staircase, the atrium, a variety of marble, and the works of art that decorate the walls.
The Doge’s Palace is one of the most famous sights in Venice, but many don’t know that it is home to a secret attic prison known as the Piombi. A warren of corridors tucked under the palace roof, it once housed impenetrable prison cells and today is a fascinating hidden corner of Venice accessible only by private tour.
Venice may look like it hasn't changed in hundreds of years, but wander behind St. Mark's Square and you'll find evidence to the contrary – the Hard Rock Cafe Venice.
This is the smallest Hard Rock Cafe in Europe, and it's located inside an historic Venetian building. One side of the restaurant overlooks a canal and what is typically a large gathering of gondolas – it's near one of the main pick-up points for visitors who want a gondola ride.
It's the place to go in Venice if you're craving classic American food and the only place to get those signature Hard Rock Cafe souvenirs. There's also a “Rock Shop” at the Rialto Bridge, if you just want to go shopping without eating at the restaurant.
Italy has a host of hot springs, many used as natural thermal baths since ancient Roman times. Among these historic spa destinations is the town of Abano Terme, the largest hot spring resort in Europe. Take a relaxing day trip from Venice to visit Abano Terme, set in the Euganean Hills with natural thermal waters as hot as 176°F (80°C).
Footwear fanatics especially enjoy visiting the Rossimoda Shoe Museum (Museo della Calzatura), housed in the magnificent Villa Foscarini Rossi. Come to see the museum's 1,500-plus shoes on display, including examples of historic Venetian footwear and iconic styles from some of the biggest names in fashion.
At the heart of Venice, the San Gallo Theater (Teatro San Gallo) sits in a 13th century courtyard just beside Piazza San Marco. The theater is home to the show Venezia, which tells the history of the city of Venice through comedy, music, and drama. The lighthearted show uses multimedia to share more than 1500 years of Venetian history and tradition. It is an entertaining way to learn about the city and its role in world culture. And with over 2,000 performances, it is now the longest running show in all of Italy.
Though the theater itself was constructed in the 19th century, many features and characteristics of the original palazzo remain. Its interior is classically designed in rich reds and golds. The theater has been updated with a modern stage and sound system, so that visitors may learn the history of Venice with the help of the latest technology.
Venice is a patchwork of many islands in the Venetian Lagoon (Laguna Veneta), an enclosed bay on the Adriatic Sea that covers 212 square miles (549 square kilometers). After visiting the main Venetian islands, take a boat trip across the shallow lagoon to the outlying islands of Burano, Murano, and Torcello.
Northern Italy’s foremost natural park was opened in 1969 by wealthy architect Alberto Avesani with a remit to research and aid conservation of rare animal breeds. Today it covers 40 hectares (59 acres) of oak forest and grassland and is home to
1,500 animals from 250 species. A visit to the park combines a safari park with a zoo dedicated to rearing rare breeds. The five-km (three-mile) self-drive safari through the African savannah allows visitors the chance to observe wild animals from all five
continents roaming free; expect to see lions, endangered rhinos and red pandas as well as giraffes and bison. The Faunapark is more like a conventional zoo, dedicated to breeding animals in current danger of extinction such as snow leopards, tigers,
spectacled bears and lemurs; they are all housed in spacious enclosures that mirror their natural living conditions. Recent additions to the zoo are the terrariums full of reptiles, snakes and fish; Dinosaur Park, packed with animatronic prehistoric
creatures; and a botanical trail that leads through the forested gardens of Faunapark to a tropical greenhouse packed with rare orchids and other botanical oddities such as carnivorous plants.
Venice is defined by water, but that’s no reason to jump into the canal. To find water you can jump into, head to the Aqualandia water park on the mainland spit of Lido di Jesolo. Designed to resemble a Caribbean island retreat, the palm-lined Aqualandia features adventurous water slides, sandy beaches for sport and relaxation, enormous pools, a bungee-jump tower and copious lounge chairs.
In addition to the slides and pools, unique experiences at Aqualandia include dance lessons, an ‘aquagym,’ the on-site nightclub and the numerous live shows. Truly a family friendly venue, Aqualandia offers something to amuse all age groups and certainly provides a break from Italy’s usual tourist trail.
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