The Veneto region is full of small town and villages, which are treasure troves of art and beacons of fine living. The region is sunny, wealthy, lively yet quiet and intimate, and it seduces and wins over the lovers of wine, art, history and architecture. The area is dotted with romantic Roman ruins, Palladian villas and lined with picturesque world-class vineyards.
The history of the region of Veneto is closely linked to the history of Venice which extended its rule over the entire area from the beginning of the 12th century. During the period of the Serenissima, many cities of art sprung up and trade to the Far East was the prime source of wealth. This economic success helped to give rise to an intense artistic and cultural activity in the area, that has left permanent marks on the Veneto's culture.
Riviera del Brenta, between Venice and Padua, was the privileged playground of the rich, aristocratic Venetian families who had their famous villas built here by Palladio, then decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo. The Veneto region offers many opportunities for both relaxation and discovery. When you overdose on history and castles, there is the wonderful regional cuisine, wine and lively traditions. From Prosecco to Asiago cheese, from roasted capon in Padova to zuppa scaligera in Verona, Veneto is a gourmand's paradise.
Verona was the setting for the love story of Romeo and Juliet and remains one of the prettiest and most historical little towns in the whole country. It is also full of remains of the splendor of the Roman Empire and was the birthplace of Andrea Palladio. In July and August the Verona Arena hosts spectacular opera performances which bring thousands of visitors to town.
Vicenza is the memorable town which served as an experiment for a man who may have been the most influential architect in history, Andrea Palladio. His stately villas and palaces decorate the town which is otherwise colorful, laid-back and invites visitors with unforgettable vegetable and fruit market.
Soave is a fairy-tale castle town whose name you may already know from your local wine shop. Vineyards surround this medieval jewel which is also full of funky cafes and first class restaurants.
Padua is the city of Giotto and Saint Anthony and home to an old university whose graduates include Dante, Petrarca, Galileo and Copernicus. One of the highlights of a visit to Padua is visiting Scravegni Chapel with Giotto's memorable fresco cycle. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat. Just like Venice was the stage set for "The Merchant of Venice" and Verona for "Romeo and Juliet", Padua is the setting for "The Taming of the Shrew".
Abano Terme is a classic, 19th-century thermal spa town with rich, curing waters, hot springs and mud baths, internationally known for its tradition in the mud-therapy. The application of mud can aid the psycho-physical well-being. The minerals, active substances and heat produced by micro-organisms present in the mud activate the natural self-healing mechanisms of the body. The mature thermal mud has obtained a certification from the European Patent and is considered a pharmaceutical product. The baths were known to the Romans, their description is given in a letter of Theodoric, the king of Ostrogoths and the oracle of Geryone is nearby. Today, Abano Terme is a posh spa town surrounded by the hills, vineyards and peach orchards.