Veneto, Italy: a guide to the most beautiful places
Especially for tripmydream, Cristina talks about one of the most beautiful regions of Italy: from the spas of Abano Terme and romantic Verona to wine tastings and walks in Venice.
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There’s endless talk about travel! During my personal travels and almost 13 years in tourism as a deluxe travel manager, I have experienced and narrated so much, that now I can be useful to many people, if I share this valuable information and experience. After all, I have been to the EU alone 62 times! I have been to Italy 10 times, Greece 9 times, Austria 6 times, France 6 times, Slovakia 5 times, Poland 5 times, Hungary 3 times, Czech Republic 3 times, Monaco 2 times, Germany 2 times, Cyprus 3 times, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia. That’s why I created the club “The Source – Travel with Meaning” and am happy to share useful information for travelers.
As you can see from the list, my favorite country is Italy! I have been ten times and want more. There is a lot of information about it, but today I will share with you my impressions only about the Veneto region.
Yes, that’s right, because each of us has his own Italy – after all, we all look at the world through our own keyhole. For each of you Italy will have a different taste, color, smell, feel… For me Italy is always a holiday:
- A feast for the eyes – everything here is, well, very beautiful! The most incredible architecture in the world. The cradle of European culture and art. Amazingly beautiful, well-groomed and well-dressed people! And what is worth the beauty and variety of landscapes!
- Feast for the ears – from my childhood favorite Italian music from opera to the modern Biagio Antonacci. And in general, I think the whole country, from cab drivers to gondoliers – uninterrupted singing!
- Feast of Taste – well, that’s a topic for a separate dissertation. And in each region will be a different reason for this academic work. So delicious as in Italy, will not be anywhere else in the world! Just for the sake of Italian wine and prosciutto with gorgonzola, spaghetti con tartufo, and of course, gelato – personally I’m ready to fly here at any minute.
- A feast of the sense of smell – from the smell of fresh pastries from the nearest bakery and the smell of leather in the shoe store to the new Armani fragrance.
- A feast of the sense of touch – when you stroll through the stores and pet the kidskin leather on your bags or the velour upholstery on your furniture.
And of course your vestibular apparatus will lose its sense of balance in space, as it will seem that you no longer walk, and float from all these delightful sensations.
But back on earth, in the Veneto region to be exact. When I created our autumn club trip to Italy, I spent a long time choosing where to take the group, which would impress all the senses. And the choice fell on the Veneto region, because it has everything: the warmth of thermal springs, the beauty of nature, the taste of cheeses, sausages and Italy’s best wine Amarone from the Valpolicello Valley, and of course, the most amazing city on earth – Venice floating above water.
Another plus of this region is that there is a direct UIA flight to Venice – just 2 hours and you’re in Italy! The first thing to do upon arrival is to take care of your exhausted body. And this is best done at the thermal resort of Abano Terme, which is only 40 km from the airport. For several trips I found my favorite, and most importantly the most correct in terms of price=quality ratio, hotel – Hotel Mioni Pezzato & SPA. The hotel is more than 100 years old and all this time it has been managed by one family. That’s why it is so comfortable and delicious. And after a recent reconstruction there is the most modern in Abano thermal center – a lot of warm pools with various installations for underwater massage and with therapeutic and instantly relaxing water.
After you’ve taken in the warmth of the springs, it’s time to take a shower. Very close to Abano is the student capital of Padua. In addition to the obligatory item of the program – the chapel of the Scrovegna family with the famous frescoes by Giotto – go to the Basilica of St. Anthony. For me, a visit here was an exhilarating experience to be able to touch a miracle – pilgrims from all over the world come here for it. And all these people come here because of the tomb of St. Anthony, which is covered with photographs of the healed and their letters of gratitude. St. Anthony is the most revered saint in Italy, the patron saint of children, the poor and travelers. “Too much grace, St. Anthony!” – Italians say when they get more than they want. He is called the “Light of Italy.” That’s why I recommend making sure you make time to visit St. Anthony’s Basilica.
The next city in my top of the Veneto region is the romantic Verona (from inexpensive hotels I can recommend here a nice four in the center – Hotel Giulietta e Romeo). Verona is one of the most beautiful, but very lively cities in Italy. Perhaps this is the first city in Italy where I wanted to stay. It’s amazingly cozy and yet pulsating with life.
We were here in the spring. We lived right next to Italy’s best-preserved Arena di Verona. And we were lucky, because on the first night there was a concert by Biagio Antonacci in the arena. Understandably, there were no more tickets on sale, and we just sat in a cafe near the arena in Piazza Bra. And what was our surprise when the concert started. Incredibly, due to the unique acoustics in the arena, the entire square could listen to the concert live. It was an unforgettable romantic evening in the most romantic city in the world – in the company of your favorite singer and a bottle of Bardolino Chiaretto’s local rosé.
If you are flying to Venice and have a rental car and travel through the Veneto region, I recommend you spend at least two nights in Verona – there are plenty of places to walk around. My top pick, of course, is Juliet’s House, two lovely squares with a monument to Dante Alighieri and the Fountain of the Madonna of Verona, and in the evening a nice dinner in Piazza Bra with a view of the Arena. During the daytime it is very pleasant to walk through the Giusti Gardens and along the river, crossing from one side to the other on medieval bridges and admiring from different angles the combination of natural beauty and architecture. Verona also has great shopping.
Well, and my dream so far is to go to the summer opera festival at the Arena di Verona. Those of my clients who have already been there were absolutely delighted, especially with Aida.
And one more tip: if you get to Verona in the warm season, be sure to visit the neighboring (only 30 km) Lake Garda – the Italian inland sea. Beautiful nature combined with soulful towns – Lake Garda will be the subject of my separate article.
And today for dessert I will tell you about Venice! Ah Serenissima – so Italians call it – the brightest! No, well, just there is nothing else on earth like this city! It is a fabulous vision, floating above the sea.
I strongly recommend if you arrive at the airport for Venice proper, don’t save money on transfer, and take a personal water cab (though it costs about 100 Euro) – and enter the city by water from the lagoon. I’m writing this now and I have goosebumps! I cried with excitement 7 or 8 times during my travels, and three of those exciting moments happened to me in Venice. When you approach this city from the sea – at first it is impossible to understand if it is a mirage or if man really created such beauty right on the marshes on stilts against all the laws of nature!
It is impossible to believe that the human spirit in combination with the titanic work and talent of the greatest architects and artists is capable of such a flight! The second knee-jerk moment was the view of the city from the Campanile San Marco. And the third was the sunset in Venice – when the slanting rays of the sun “light up” the golden frescoes on the Cathedral of San Marco – especially impressive if you listen to Alessandro Safina.
And in general, all of Venice is a dream come true. You can by no means come here just for a few hours. You have to stay here for at least four nights. And then Venice, emptied of the crowds of tourists at sunset or early in the morning, will open for you a completely different side. Walk, be sure to walk through the narrow streets and visit the market near the Rialto Bridge and enjoy the riot of color. Get lost in this city and wander, breathe, love!
It’s also very desirable to live beautifully here! If you can’t afford hotels-palaces at the Grand Canal, then at least in the hearty four in the center (I can recommend Hotel Ca’ Dei Conti). And also, for those who want to try the best “bellini” in the city (it’s a cocktail of prosecco and fresh peaches) – I give you a point: the expensive Hotel The Gritti Palace, where Hollywood stars love to stay, has a bar with a terrace on the Grand Canal and “view of a million” – on the elegant church of Santa Maria della Salute!
Of course, you must also go to the museums: the Doge’s Palace, and the Academy Gallery, and the Cathedral of San Marco, and just do not pass by the cathedrals – they are open to the public, and on the walls you will find paintings by Titian, Bellini and Tintoretto.
And when you’re hungry after all this splendor, go far away from the tourist center – for example, to the area of the former ghetto. Sit down at the restaurant you like and order: marinated sardines with raisins and pine nuts, risotto nero with cuttlefish ink, and for dessert – of course – tiramisu. And afterwards, as you stroll through the finally deserted streets toward your hotel, freeze for a second and pinch yourself to make sure it’s not all a dream! Venice is a vanishing dream that you have to see at least once in your life!