Veneto is a region that boasts some of Italy's most famous tourist resorts. In addition to its cities and beautiful nature, many picturesque villages and walled towns have preserved ancient traditions, local products, and unique landscapes. Here is a list of 10 villages not to be missed!
In the province of Verona, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, lies Malcesine, a medieval village with unmissable views. Known as the "Pearl of the Lake", it is one of the most popular villages on Lake Garda. The main monuments are the Scaliger Castle and the Captains' Palace. The picturesque old town is fascinating with its narrow streets, small shops, taverns and the relaxing view of the lake, surrounded by white pebble beaches. In the background, Monte Baldo, with its 2000-metre-high peaks, offers the possibility of walking in nature in a dreamlike landscape.
In the province of Padua, Montagnana, also known as the walled city, is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Italy. Its imposing walls have never been modified, making it a unique village in Europe. The Rocca Degli Alberi, the Mastio and the Castello di San Zeno stand out within the imposing walls surrounded by a moat. The historic centre is renowned for its Cathedral, Renaissance-era buildings, and alleyways full of small restaurants. Here you can taste local products, especially the Prosciutto Veneto Euganeo Berico DOP. Don't miss the two-kilometre-long walk around the walls!
In the province of Padua, Cittadella is the only walled city in Europe, with an elliptical medieval patrol walkway, which can be walked in its entirety. Its walls, which date back to 1220, are certainly one of the main tourist attractions of the fortified town and can be visited through a scenic walk at the height of 15 metres. The view of the town from above allows you to fully enjoy the surrounding panorama and the details of the historic centre with its alleyways and most important buildings, including the landmark social theatre, the Cathedral with its frescoes, the Church of Santa Maria del Torresino with its wooden crucifix and the Tower of Malta. Walking through the town's streets, you will also face the three entrance gates: Porta Padovana, Porta Vicentina and Porta Trevisana. Cittadella is a work of art and a time machine that takes us back to the Middle Ages.
Marostica, in the province of Vicenza, is a village that still retains the magic of the past. The "city of chess" is famous worldwide for its living chess game, which takes place every two years on the second weekend in September. More than five hundred people dressed in traditional costumes participate in this historical re-enactment of the chess game played in 1454 in the village's central square. According to legend, two noblemen in love with the beautiful Lionora, the castellan's daughter, challenged each other to a chess game to have her as their wife.
But there is more to discover in this medieval village, starting with the two castles, the upper and lower castles, connected by characteristic walls. Not to be missed is the Carmini path, a panoramic route that follows the walls and offers a suggestive view. The lower Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, with its external patrol path, provides a broad view of the Chess Square, which is even more beautiful from above. Moreover, walking through the alleys of the centre you will find small shops, small restaurants and many wine bars where you can taste Venetian wines and grappas.
Burano, one of the three main islands of the Venetian lagoon, is one of the world's 10 most colourful places! Even from a distance, you can admire its colourful houses, which sailors painted to be able to recognise them on foggy days. The island's tourist centre is Piazza Galuppi, where we find the main historical buildings, the Church of San Martino Vescovo, a curious church with only one side entrance and a crooked bell tower similar to the Tower of Pisa. Piazza Galuppi is also home to the Town Hall and the Lace Museum, where we learn about Burano's lace-making art.
But to experience the island's atmosphere at its best, you have to get lost in its colourful alleyways. Leave the central square and walk around the house of Bepi Suà and the home of Gianfranco Rosso. Thanks to their hand-painted drawings on the walls, these houses are among the island's most beautiful and picturesque houses. The Love Viewing Bridge and the Tre Ponti bridge are other characteristic places to take romantic and poetic photos. Tre Ponti connects three canals and three of the island's main streets. This area is full of restaurants and shops where you can taste local dishes such as Risotto di gò, a typical fish dish, and Bussolà, a biscuit made of stiff and crumbly dough. Burano represents an ancient, peaceful, and above all, a very colourful world!
Famous for its Scaliger-era Castle, its city walls and its wine of the same name, the medieval village of Soave, in the province of Verona, welcomes us amidst an expanse of vineyards.
The history of the town is linked to its Castle of Roman origin. Restored by the Scaligeris in the 14th century, Soave Castle is an example of a medieval fortress with drawbridges, crenellated walls and an imposing keep. The walls surrounding the village were built at the behest of the Scaligeri family to defend the territory. It is possible to walk around the walls to see the gates with their double access system. Another beautiful walk for those who do not suffer from vertigo is the one on the patrol walkways. From here, you have a marvellous view over the vineyard-covered valleys and the roofs of the old town. Around Piazza Antenna, the heart of the medieval town centre, we find the main monuments of Soave: the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Palace of Justice and the Palazzo del Capitano, the seat of the Municipality.
In the city that bears the name of its famous wine, you cannot miss a glass of good wine in one of the many wine cellars in the historic centre. We recommend the Soave Wine Road for wine lovers, a route of about 50 kilometres through vineyards and castles. The road touches thirteen municipalities where we can find the most appreciated wine cellars for the production of Soave.
3. Castelfranco Veneto
In the province of Treviso, close to Padua and Vicenza, we find Castelfranco Veneto, a medieval walled city, guardian of excellence ranging from the Middle Ages to the contemporary age. The Castle, a symbol of the town, was built at the end of the 22nd century. During the rule of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, Castelfranco became a cultural centre and home to intellectuals. One of the greatest Renaissance painters was born and trained here: Giorgio Zorzi, better known as 'il Giorgione'.
A visit to the city must begin with the Castle, its towers and walls. Not to be missed is the Duomo, which houses the Castelfranco altarpiece, a painting made by Giorgione in 1502. Other places of interest in the historic centre are the Giorgione House Museum, the Academic Theatre, the Church of San Giacomo and, a few kilometres from the centre, Villa Revelin Bonasco with its park. In the territory of Castelfranco Veneto, there are 16 Venetian villas protected by the Regional Institute of Venetian Villas.
Castelfranco is a popular destination for hikers as its territory offers routes and paths through nature. Don't miss the walks in the regional natural park of the river Sile and the cycle-tourist trails such as the Strada del Radicchio Rosso di Treviso and the Strada del Vino del Montello.
Located to the west of the river Piave, Feltre lies on the slopes of the Colle Delle Capre (Hill of the Goats), surrounded by its imposing Renaissance walls. Rich in history, it is set in a natural environment of the highest quality: the Feltrine Alps, the gateway to the Belluno Dolomites National Park, a World Heritage Site. This city has always been a fundamental transit route for goods and armies, linking the Roman and Germanic worlds for centuries, from the Po Valley, across the Alps and the Danube, to Bavaria.
Underground we find a big archaeological area that takes us back to Roman Feltre. In the old town centre, a succession of 16th-century palaces with frescoed facades and Renaissance-style balconies bear witness to the golden age that the town experienced under the rule of Venice. Among the most important buildings, the tower of the Castello di Alboino, the Piazza Maggiore, the Palazzo Della Ragione, which houses the old Teatro de la Sena and the 16th century Palazzo Cumano, home to the "Carlo Rizzarda" Gallery of Modern Art.
Around Feltre, tourism is synonymous with unspoilt nature, trails and outdoor life. Not to be missed are the valley of Mount Miesna with the Sanctuary of Saints Vittore and Corona and the Val di Lamen, from where the Belluno Dolomites can be reached.
Located at the southernmost end of the Venetian lagoon, about fifty kilometres from Venice, Chioggia comprises a vast territory crossed by three major rivers: the Adige, the Brenta and the Bacchiglione, which flow into the Adriatic Sea, creating a unique ecosystem of islands and beaches, connected by bridges. Chioggia is undoubtedly a particular place because of its urban layout and the elegant palazzos overlooking the canals, the houses and colourful boats, and the "calle" with their suggestive atmospheres. Walking around Chioggia, you can breathe in the "Venetian atmosphere" but without the crowds of tourists; this is why the town has maintained its authenticity and the charm of what was once an ancient fishing village.
Visiting Chioggia means getting lost in the narrow streets of its charming historic centre of medieval origin. You start at the Cathedral of Santa Maria, built on the remains of an ancient medieval church. Near the Cathedral, we find the Torre di Sant'Andrea with its ancient clock, one of the oldest in the world, still working today. Continuing the walk, we come to one of the city's most famous sites: the fish market. Here every day, the locals go to buy fresh fish caught at night by the local fishermen. Don't miss Palazzo Granaio, a fascinating 14th-century building, Ponte Vigo, the equivalent of Venice's Rialto Bridge, the Church of San Domenico with its fine paintings and the walk under the porticoes along Canal Vena.
Crossing the long San Giacomo bridge, you arrive at Sottomarina, the beach of Chioggia, equipped with every comfort for relaxing days at the sea! Sottomarina offers a beautiful seaside promenade up to Forte San Felice, a star-shaped fortification built in the 16th century, and is also a strategic point for reaching Venice and the surrounding islands by sea. You can't leave Chioggia without trying its street food and the typical seafood cuisine of its local restaurants!
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