The Veneto

Most visitors to the Veneto devote all their time to Venice, which is understandable – until you discover the rich variety of experiences that await just an hour or two away.

First, there are the city-states Venice annexed in the 15th century: Padua (Padova), with its pre-Renaissance frescoes; Vicenza, with Palladio's peerless architecture; and Verona, with its sophisticated bustle atop Roman foundations. All are easily reached by train from Venice.

Then there are the wines, in particular Valpolicella's bold Amarones. In a party mood? The hills around Conegliano produce Italy's finest bubbly: Prosecco Superiore. For harder stuff, Bassano del Grappa provides its eponymous firewater.

When the Adriatic wipes Venice clean of its mists, you can catch glimpses of the snowcapped Dolomites – in less than two hours you can go from canals to the crisp Alpine clarity of Belluno and Cortina d'Ampezzo: a land of idyllic hikes, razor-sharp peaks and the world's most fashion-conscious skiing.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Veneto.