RENTING A VILLA IN Venetia - north Italy
Lovely wine estate only one hour north of Venice. The four self catering apartments lie in the park of the Venetian villa Brandolini Rota, surrounded by its own vineyards. The village center can conveniently be reached on foot in 2 minutes.
Frassanelle is one of the great Venetian properties. The vast estate lies within easy reach of Padua, Venice, Vicenza and Verona and the famous historic villas of the Veneto, many of them built by the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The agriturismo cottages and apartments sleep from 2 to 14 persons.
A precious jewel set in a legendary landscape - might yet be the most apt definition of La Montecchia, a wine estate which lies just south of Padua and an easy drive from Venice, Vicenza and Verona. Agriturismo cottages with 2 to 4 beds can be rented by the week.
Villa San Bastiano is a comfortable villa with private pool for 12 to 14 in an enviable position. It lies in the hills above Vicenza, door to door with the world famous villas Valmarana and La Rotonda.
Veneto is fascinating.
Going along at the pace of the Italian Dolce Vita, you immerse yourself in knowledge, in well-being and sensations. Whether gliding along Venice's canals, admiring the Giotto frescoes in Padua, listening to an opera in the Roman arena at Verona (the city of Romeo and Juliet), contemplating Palladio's architectural masterpieces at Vicenza, soaking up Treviso's medieval period or re-visiting the splendours of the Renaissance at Udine, Veneto incites you to a take a romantic break. Besides the profusion of culture which you will find here, an added helping of soul is on offer too.
Geographical Landmarks in Northern Italy
Veneto is located in North-Eastern Italy and its capital is Venice.
The Alps lie to the North-West, while the Euganean range, which is of volcanic origin, rises from the hill-lined plain. The most important rivers are the Po and the Adige, while Lake Garda lies to the West. Veneto is divided into seven provinces: Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona and Vicenza. Both the Venetian dialect and Italian are spoken.
A Brief History of Veneto
The history of Veneto is above all quite similar to the history of Venice.
“La Bellissima” (The Beautiful One) was founded towards the end of the 6th century AD and became a local political force from 697 onwards, embodied by Paolucio Anafesto, the first duke –Doge. The city became independent from 1000 onwards, following Byzantium's withdrawal from the Adriatic, and maritime trade soon extended its powerbase. In the 14th century, Venice became the largest Mediterranean port, ahead of Constantinople. In the 17th century, despite significant losses of territory (the Greek lands) and the diverting of European trade towards America (discovery of that continent), Venice maintained its cultural prestige. At the time, it was recognised as the most elegant town in Europe, with a major influence on Art, Architecture and Literature. Venice was annexed on the 12th of May 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte, who put an end to 800 years of independence. Today, Venice has 280,000 inhabitants and is a UNESCO world heritage site, along with its laguna.
Landscape, Nature, Walks in Veneto
A boat-ride in Venice
In Venice, the Grand Canal runs through the city for 3.5 km, forming an inverted S-shape.
The vaporetto is the best way to see the many palaces built between the 12th and 18th centuries. There are just over a hundred of them altogether.
Don't resist the charms of a gondola ride, even if it seems a little clichéd at first. They are moored all over the city, near the main canals.
On foot, don't miss the famous Bridge of Sighs (its name recalls the plaintive cries of the prisoners as they were led to the dungeon), or the Rialto Bridge, the Academy Bridge and the bridges of the Barefoot and of Liberty. Also, aside from Saint Mark's square, go for a walk on the Campo San Polo too (the biggest square in Venice after Saint Mark's) and on the Campo Santa Margarita.
The wine route around Padua
To the South-East of Padua, the Colli Eugeani are dotted with vineyards and walking trails. Follow the Strada dei Vini dei Colli Eugeani to discover the vineyards, and lose yourself in the surrounding countryside. You will come across many villages, Venetian villas and the Abbey of Praglia, which is worth a stop.
A car trip around Vicenza
In the countryside near Vicenza, the ancient villas of wealthy Venetians are well worth a detour. A few are open to the public, among others Palladio's famous Rotonda or the Villa Valmarana with frescoes by Tiepolo. The countryside you drive through is delightful.
An outing on horseback around Grado (Julian Veneto)
The Riserva Naturale Regionale Foce dell'Isonzo is a 2,350 hectare (5,800 acre) reserve where you can go for horse rides, bird-watch and go for walks and bicycle rides too.
Culture, Architecture, Art in Veneto
Visiting the San Marco basilica is an enchanting experience, as such a mix of architectural styles (Romanesque, Renaissance and Byzantine influence) is very rare.
Admire the two Gothic façades, in white stone and pink marble, of the Doges' Palace. Don't miss the Chiesa di Santa Maria Dolorosa dei Frari; this imposing Gothic church is also home to a wealth of artistic treasures (Assunta, Madonna di Ca' Pesaro).
If you are a devotee of the arts, visit the Gallerie dell' Accademia: its unique collection gives a sweeping view of Venetian art over five centuries (from the 14th to the 18th century).
Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation too, which brings together works by the greatest artists of the 20th century: Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Chagall, Klee, Miro, Magritte, Bacon, etc.
Finally, go to the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, which exhibits a collection of Venetian art from the end of the 19th century to 1950, as well as a huge range of Modern Art.
On the island of Murano, glass and crystal have been hand-crafted since the 13th century. You will be able to watch glassblowers in the Fondamenta dei Vitrai workshops. In Burano, the centre of the lace-making industry, you will appreciate the charms of a fishing village, with its pastel-coloured houses.
This wonderful town, which they call Piccola Roma (Little Rome), is also the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare). Wander around to soak up its imperial charm.
Go for a walk in the Roman arena (the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world), stop off at the Piazza del Erbe, long enough to admire its sumptuous buildings, then again at Piazza dei Signori, to gaze at the Loggia del Consiglio (Renaissance structure).
If you are a lover of Romanesque architecture, visit the Basilica de San Zeno Maggiore (12th century).
Padua, the town of St. Anthony, is an artistic treasure-trove: frescoes by Giotto, acknowledged as being amongst the most remarkable of the late Italian Gothic period, and prefiguring the Renaissance.
Nicknamed the little Venice, Treviso has a very beautiful medieval centre.
If you are passionate about the Renaissance era, make the effort to go all the way to Udine.
The magnificence of its architecture, museums and galleries deserves a one or two-day visit.
The Venetian Villas
Amongst other attractions in the region between Verona and Venice are the famous Palladian villas. The number of villas built in the hinterland of Venice between the 15th and 19th century amounts to over 3,000. A few are open to the public. The most famous are the Palladian villas like the Villa Barbaro at Maser, the Villa Emo at Fanzolo and the Rotonda next to Vicenza. But don't miss the Villa Valmarana either, with its Tiepolo frescoes and the castle of Catajo, or the Villa Barbarigo with its baroque garden and its box hedge maze.
> The Veneto area boast 7 Unesco World Heritage Sites
Gastronomy in Northern Italy
Prosecco is the local sparkling wine. You must absolutely try it. The Colli Euganei Fior d'Arancio is a sweet Italian white wine from the Veneto region which was only granted a DOC certificate in 1995; it is a wine which is both rich and subtle and which has generated substantial interest among connoisseurs. Try the Fior d'Arancio DONNA DARIA which has just won Italy's highest award: the Tre Bicchiere® (Three Glasses) of the Gambero Rosso Slow Food guide.
The red Colli Euganei DOC wines can also yield excellent results. You do have to know how to choose the label though (Montecchia and Vignalta, for example).
Try the famous Bellini cocktail too, made from Prosecco and peach juice. The Bellini is the embodiment of the Italian Dolce Vita: it was invented in the 50s by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry's Bar in Venice.
Less touristy and decidedly more local, the Spritz is the Venetians' traditional aperitif: mix one part Prosecco, one part Campari and one part soda.
Gastronomic Specialities in Veneto
In Veneto, you cannot imagine regional cooking without rice or polenta.
Risotto is an authentic regional speciality. It is served with all the vegetables of the Venetian countryside, and fish from the laguna.
Don't leave without tasting the famous Tiramisu, which is the Venetian dessert par excellence.
Shopping in Venice
It is in Venice that you will find the best crafts shopping, as the shops are plentiful and the goods varied: carnival masks, hand-made jewellery, handbags, necklaces, glassware, lace and wooden goods, and even miniature gondolas for model lovers.
In Venice, especially near Saint Mark's square, you will also find all the brand-name luxury boutiques worthy of the Avenue Montaigne in Paris .
In our Blog Katharina's Italy you can find first hand information and stories about the Veneto