Five Best Day Trips from Venice
Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 14 Feb 2020
While you may prefer to be based in the countryside, or in one of Italy’s smaller towns, Venice is one of those places you absolutely have to experience at least once in a lifetime. Overcrowded, yes, but still undeniably enchanting thanks to its romantic canals, and historic palaces and churches. For anyone hiking on our Austria and the Dolomites or Slovenia and Friuli tours, adding on a few days in the city is just too good an opportunity to miss!
When it comes to looking for the best things to do in Venice and its immediate surroundings, we generally recommend punctuating your stay in the city with a day trip or two to other local towns. Here are a few of our favourites.
Under 30 minutes’ away by train, Padua still provides a wonderfully authentic view of Italy. Packed with extraordinary art and architecture, the town is still refreshingly tourist-free. Everyday life centres around the medieval market squares of Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta. The city’s university is the second-oldest in Italy and the university’s botanical garden dates back to 1545. The star attraction is the Scrovegni Chapel but find time also to stop by the medieval Palazzo della Ragione, home to tiny ground-floor food kiosks and boasting a magnificent frescoed great hall on the upper floor.
Venetian countryside villas
The landscape across the Veneto is dotted with hundreds of magnificent villas. Amongst the most lavish are the Villa Rotonda and the Villa Barbaro, set in the countryside around Vicenza and designed by the great Andrea Palladio. One way of seeing these is to take a boat tour from Venice to Padua along the Brenta Canal. Full day cruises include guided tours of three villas.
Hop on a train to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Vicenza (45 minutes). Stroll down the main Corso Andrea Palladio, lined by magnificent Renaissance palaces, and into the main Piazza dei Signori. Dominated by the Basilica Palladiana, this is the site of the city’s twice-weekly market. Palladio’s legacy includes the Palazzo Chiericati, the Basilica and the Loggia del Capitaniato, and his final work, the astonishing Teatro Olimpico.
A little over an hour from Venice, the medieval and Renaissance walled city of Ferrara remains virtually empty of tourists. For centuries the home of the d’Este family, the city is still dominated by its vast red-brick Castello Estense, half palace, half fortress. Head for the centre of town to marvel at the Basilica Cattedrale di San Giorgio Martire and the numerous palaces, including the Palazzo dei Diamanti and the wonderfully named Palazzo Schifanoia (‘avoiding boredom’). When you need to stretch your legs, take a walk along the 6-mile defensive wall around the town or stroll through the picturesque Via delle Volte.
Bassano del Grappa
This prosperous town, with its compact historic centre and three linked piazzas, is an excellent day-trip destination, just over an hour by town from Venice. Although best-known for its covered Ponte degli Alpini bridge (designed by Palladio) and the locally-produced strong grappa liqueur, it also features Veneto-style arcaded streets and pretty piazzas. Get the best views over Bassano from the top of the fourteenth-century Torre Civica in Piazza Garibaldi. Wander over to nearby Piazza della Libertà to admire the Loggia dei Podestà and the Palazzo del Comune, a fifteenth-century building with large clock face dating back to 1430.
Our Slovenia and Friuli tour will run again from October 4th - 12th 2020. It starts in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia and we finish in Venice, giving guests an opportunity to explore some or all of these fabulous cities in Italy's north east corner.