Virtually every acre of the Veneto bears the imprint of Venetian rule – Venice dominated this region for centuries and is still the capital of the province today. In Belluno, right under the crags of the Dolomites, the style of the buildings declares the town’s former allegiance, while the Lion of St Mark looks over the market square of Verona, on the Veneto’s western edge. On the flatlands of the Po basin (the southern border of the region) and on farming estates all over the Veneto, the elegant villas of the Venetian nobility are still standing.

Yet the Veneto is as diverse culturally as it is geographically. The aspects of Verona that make the city so attractive were created long before the expansion of Venice’s terra firma empire, and in Padua – a university seat since the thirteenth century – the civilization of the Renaissance displays a character quite distinct from that which evolved in Venice. Even in Vicenza, which reached its present form mainly during its long period of subservience, the very appearance of the streets is proof of a fundamental independence.

Nowadays this is one of Italy’s wealthiest regions. Verona, Padua, Vicenza and Treviso, 30km north of Venice, are all major industrial and commercial centres, while intensive dairies, fruit farms and vineyards (around Conegliano, for example) have made the Veneto a leading agricultural producer too.

The Veneto’s densest concentration of industry is at Mestre and Marghera, the grim conurbation through which road and rail lines from Venice pass before spreading out over the mainland. It’s less a city than an economic life-support system for Venice, and the negative impression you get on your way through is entirely valid. Some people trim their holiday expenses by staying in Mestre’s cheaper hotels (Venice’s tourist offices will supply addresses), but venturing further inland is a more pleasurable cost-cutting exercise.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Where to find the best beaches in Italy

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

From secluded coves to lively seafronts, there are plenty of places to sun worship in Italy. But with an increasing number of hotels charging for access to the …

20 Jul 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook