Veneto Things to Do
Every trip to Italy is an endless journey into culture and beauty. No other country in the world can boast the cultural and artistic treasures of Italy. More than half the's historical and artistic heritage is found in Italy. Evidence can be seen in every village. There are so many art treasures of such quality, spread across the country that Italy can rightly be considered an "open air" art gallery.
Each year is packed with special events, some linked to festivals of the Catholic Church, others to the changing seasons. Every little village in Italy has its own wonderful festivals. Many are associated with the harvest (especially wine) or to local products (polenta, prosciutto). The remainder tends to be historical re-enactments linked to jousting or to costumed cavalcades.
Art and culture, the pleasures of good food and music, traditional crafts and expressions of collective religion, folklore and contemporary art, opera and operetta, concert and theater seasons, in Italy the calendar of festivals and events is practically endless.
Biking and hiking
During the summer months, Cortina d'Ampezzo, set amid the dramatic Dolomites, becomes an excellent base for walkers. Some Italian branches of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) organize walks and treks. Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) runs trekking and climbing excursions, and the Italian Birds Protection League (LIPU) arranges nature walks and bird-watching trips.
Riding along tranquil stradine (small roads) and over the pre-Alps, you will pass fields of corn, terraced vineyards and Renaissance towns.
Explore opulent Palladian villas and sip Prosecco at a local winery.
Venice (Venezia) - Carnevale
It is the first 10 days before Lent, held usually in February. Meaning literally "farewell to meat" it is celebrated most spectacularly in Venice in the famous masked festivities.
Venice (Venezia) - Liberation Day (April 25)
Festa del San Marco, the feast day of St. Mark, patron saint of Venice (Venezia), is celebrated with a ceremonial Mass in the Basilica and the romantic presentation of a bocolo (rosebud) to women.
Venice (Venezia) -Ascension Day in May
Festa della Sensa is a re-enactment of the Marriage of Venezia with the Sea. This is followed by a regatta and La Vogalonga, a marathon rowing race, a week later.
Venice (Venezia) - Biennale (June-Sept)
The world's biggest exhibition of contemporary art takes place during odd-numbered years only.
Verona - Opera Festival (July-Aug)
Renowned opera festival overlapping with the Shakespeare Festival, offers music, drama, opera, and dance.
Feltre - Medieval Palio (First weekend in August)
Features parades and archery competition, medieval-style.
Venice (Venezia) - The Mostra Internazionale di Cinema (Venezia International Film Festival)
It is held annually from late August to early September at the Lido. This is a worldwide affair, drawing both rising talents and more established names in the film industry.
Venice (Venezia) - Festa del Redentore (July)
The second-most colorful festival is the Festa del Redentore (July) originally held to celebrate the end of a 16th-century plague. It kicks off on Saturday night with a magnificent fireworks display at 11:30 p.m. On Sunday, maintenance craftsmen build a pontoon bridge, open to the public, across the Giudecca Canal, connecting II Redentore to the Azattere.
Venice (Venezia) - Regatta (first Sunday in September)
Venice (Venezia) stages its classic regatta storica (historical regatta). It includes a procession up the Grand Canal led by all manner of craft containing Venetians in traditional costumes and is then followed by gondola races.
Venice (Venezia) - Festa della Salute (November)
During the religious Festa della Salute, originated to mark the end off a plague, the city celebrates with the construction of another pontoon bridge, this time over the Grand Canal. During the Festa della Madonna della Salute there is a procession across the Grand Canal on floating pontoons to La Salute church giving thanks for the city's survival from the plague.
Food and antique markets
Centro Culturale di Esposizione e Comunicazione, Giudecca Island, Venezia, September
This is an auction for serious collectors of antiques and fine art. Held simultaneously with the Biennale, you an also visit the Palladian convent of the Zitelle.
Prato della Valle, Padova, 3rd Sunday of the month
Borgo Cavour, Treviso, 4th Sunday of the month
Piazza San Zeno, Verona, 3rd Sunday of the month
Major music festivals and concerts
For more than 80 years, a world-famous opera festival has been held every year- in July and August- in the big Roman arena. The marvelous open-air acoustics and great lighting always make it a memorable occasion. Classics like Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot, Bizet's Carmen von Bizet, and Verdi's Aida are performed.
The famous La Fenice opera house, following a devastating fire in 1996, eventually re-opened in December 2003. Every year it offers a rich programme of operas and concerts.
"The most beautiful natural architecture in world", is how these magnificent mountain ranges are often described. There are few mountains ranges in the world as famous as the Dolomites. This surreal landscape takes its name from the mineral of which it is largely composed. Surrounded by distant peaks and woodland expanses, discover the warm hospitality of towns and enchanting mountain villages ready to welcome visitors with the traditional cuisine and local friendliness for which they are famous.
Several ski valleys are connected with each other in this mountain paradise, offering a breathtaking view from many different angles. Well-marked footpaths and mountain climbing will make your stay a memorable experience.
Belluno and Cortina d'Ampezzo are good starting points for exploring the Dolomites.
Picturesque Belluno, capital of Belluno province, serves as a bridge between the two different parts of the Veneto, with the flat plains to the south and the Dolomite peaks to the north. Both are encapsulated in the views seen from the 12th-century Porta Rugo at the southern end of Via Mezzaterra, the main street of the old town. More spectacular still are the views from the bell tower of the 16th-century Duomo (subsequently rebuilt). The nearby baptistery houses a font cover with the figure of John the Baptist carved by Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732).
Palazzo dei Rettori
North of Piazza del Duomo stands the city's most elegant building, the Palazzo dei Rettori, once home to the town's Venetian rulers, and the 12th-century Torre Civica, are all that now survives of a medieval castle.
The museum contains paintings by Bartholomeo Montagna (1450-1523) and Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734), and a notable archaeological section.
Piazza del Mercato
North of the museum is Belluno's finest square with its arcaded Renaissance palaces and its 1410 fountain.
South of the town are the ski resorts of the Alpe del Nevegal. In the summer a chairlift operates from Faverghera up the flank of the mountain to a height of 5,250 feet, offering panoramic views.
South of Padua (Padova), Rovigo marks the Veneto gateway to the Po Delta.
The most exclusive shopping area in Venice (Venezia) is the Via XXII Marzo and the streets around St. Mark's Square. The best local shopping areas are the Rialto Bridge and San Polo. A market is held on the Lido on Tuesday morning.
Mask-makers had their own guild in medieval times. Modern masqueraders can choose between masks in leather, china, or papier-mache'. Papier-mache' and leather masks are the most authentic. Places to browse for masks include Laboratorio Artigiano Maschere, founded by a family of puppet-makers, and the bohemian workshop of Ca' del Sol.
Rivoaltus Legatoris, Venezia (Ponte di Rialto)
Delightful and reasonably-priced shop has been selling leather-bound antique-style journals for more than three decades. Rivoaltus was the first to sell these journals and are well-known for their quality.
Marostica is a delightful medieval town, tucked inside 14th-century walls. It is celebrated for its delicious cherries and its bizarre chess festival. In the second weekend in September in alternate (even) years, the porticoed main square is transformed into a giant chessboard with costumed citizens acting as chess pieces. This is supposedly a re-enactment of a 15th-century game that resulted in the feudal lord giving his daughter away in marriage to the victor.
The walled town of Castelfranco-Veneto lies between Treviso and Bassano del Grappa and makes a good springboard for a Palladian villa tour, with the magnificent Villa Emo within easy reach, at Fanzolo di Vedelago.
Daytrip from Vicenza to the Palladian villas: Veneto contains hundreds of the most splendid villas in Europe. Some offer classical music concerts during July and July.
Italy's top ski resort, Cortina d'Ampezzo, is set amid the dramatic scenery of the Dolomitesand benefits from better than average sports facilities, thanks to hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics. In addition to downhill and cross-country skiing, there is also a ski jump and a bobsled run for the more adventurous, as well as an Olympic ice stadium, several swimming pools, tennis courts, and riding facilities.
South of Belluno are the ski resorts of the Alpe del Nevegal. In the summer a chairlift operates from Faverghera up the flank of the mountain to a height of 5,250 feet, offering panoramic views.
In Garda Lake (Verona), visit the wine maker of the Pope, the most famous wine maker in Italy, and taste the famous wines of Valpollicella - Amarone and Soave.