The historic treasures and striking landscapes of Veneto

Celebrating this year Marco Polo, Venice may be its centrepiece, but the Italian region of Veneto has many other cultural wonders and outdoor experiences to offer

With its 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites encompasing rich history and breathtaking nature, Veneto, the land of Venice, is among Italy’s most visited regions.

Venice, one of the world capitals of art, is of course a major attraction in the region. Adding to the city’s appeal this year is the celebration of Marco Polo, the famous Venetian merchant and explorer who originally built ties between Italy and China. On the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo’s death in January, Venice began a full year of events, including the exhibition at the Doge’s Palace until 29 September 2024, “The worlds of Marco Polo. The journey of a thirteenth-century Venetian merchant,” which showcases a vast range of treasures from the East and around the world.

Beyond the charms of Venice, the Veneto region has other historic treasures to offer such as Verona, famous for the story of Romeo and Juliet and its spectacular Roman amphitheatre, the Arena. From mid-June to the beginning of September every year, more than 10,000 people from all over the world gather every evening at the Arena to enjoy opera, which recently became a piece of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Vicenza, home to the great architect Andrea Palladio and to his Renaissance works and Palladian villas, is Veneto’s Renaissance jewel while Padua, with its fourteenth-century frescoes and the first University Botanical Garden in Europe and the medieval Treviso, each offer unique charm. 

The region’s Venetian Villas, about 4,000 scattered throughout Veneto, also present its extraordinary cultural heritage. Over 200 of these historic buildings have been converted into charming hotels that offer the perfect location for exclusive holidays and romantic occasions. 

Apart from its historic sites, Veneto boasts spectacular landscapes. Just an hour’s drive from Venice, the scenic UNESCO World Heritage Belluno Dolomite mountains offer visitors spectacular views as well as a variety of outdoor activities: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in winter, and trekking, hiking, paragliding and more in the summer. Cortina d’Ampezzo, considered the Queen of the Dolomites, is surrounded by some of the Dolomite’s most beautiful peaks and is set to host several of the Milano-Cortina 2026 Olympic Games’ events.

The Veneto hills, located in the heart of the region, boast charming wine regions ideal for biking or golf holidays as well as tours of the local wineries and include the UNESCO site known as the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Other beautiful nature destinations in the region where visitors can immerse themselves in unspoiled natural surroundings include Lake Garda, the Venice beaches, and natural areas such as the Po delta. 

For visitors looking for a relaxing holiday experience, Veneto prides itself on the Abano and Montegrotto health resort, one of the largest thermal spas in Europe. Specialised in mud therapy, the spa also offer visitors a number of wellness treatments. 

In addition to its many historical and natural attractions, Veneto is a great place to shop, with everything from luxury shopping malls to local art and artisan workshops where visitors can purchase handicrafts from the region.  

Photo: Veneto the Land of Venice – © Veneto Region

The Veneto region is a concentration of extraordinary places that can all be accessed through the Venice Marco Polo Airport, Italy’s third intercontinental gateway. The Venice Airport, with over 155,000 passengers from China via intermediate points, is working to establish direct air services for Chinese tourists between Venice and China, creating a connection that will continue in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

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