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Venice & Verona

Verona & Venice holiday guide

Written by Donald Strachan, Italy specialist and Travel Writer for The Guardian.

Rural features

You can board a vaporetto (water taxi) from San Marco to explore quieter, outlying islands such as Murano (famous for its glass makers), Burano (for lace), and Torcello, where the lagoon's oldest building has stood since the 7th century. On Lido, you will find a long stretch of sandy beach. Verona is wedged between the vine-clad hills of Soave and the shores of Italy's largest lake, Lago di Garda.

Things to do

Venice's art traditions separate it from the rest of Italy—its painters and architects looked east, to trading partners in the Mediterranean, as much as to the mainland. The Basilica di San Marco is an exuberant fusion of Byzantine and Gothic styles, inside and out. You can admire the palaces of the Grand Canal from a vaporetto, or explore the city's secret waterways in a gondola or kayak. In Verona, stand on 'Juliet's Balcony' then browse the market stalls in Piazza dei Signori.

Eating and drinking

The spiritual home of Venetian food is its fish market, the Mercato del Pesce close to the Rialto Bridge. Catch from the lagoon, the Adriatic, and further afield start their day here, before ending up on the tables of city restaurants. Verona has fine wine on the doorstep: white Soave and the reds of Valpolicella, including thunderously concentrated, almost black Amarone della Valpolicella. Some of Italy's best olive oil is squeezed from the presses along Lake Garda's eastern shore. Look for the Garda Orientale DOP mark on the label.

History

Rome, the region of Lazio, and neighbouring Campania were the epicentre of an empire that ruled the Western world: Ancient Rome. In the capital, its remains are on show everywhere, from the Colosseum and Roman Forum to museums such as the Capitoline and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Visitors can even walk the same basalt flagstones where Roman centurions trod at Ostia Antica, Rome's former seaport, as well Pompeii, and Herculaneum, both a short drive from the Amalfi Coast.

Art and culture

The museums and scuole ('schools' or guilds) of Venice display works by some of Italy's finest painters. Visit the Accademia for Titian and Carpaccio, and the Scuola di San Rocco for Tintoretto paintings that took two decades to complete. Italy's most influential architect, Andrea Palladio, designed Venice's great churches of San Giorgio Maggiore and Il Redentore. Both cities also have a fine musical heritage. Composer Vivaldi was Venetian, and in La Fenice the city has one of Italy's marquee opera houses. At Verona's Arena, open-air arias shake the walls of the Roman amphitheatre all summer long.

Verona Venice

Airports

Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE / LIPZ). This airport has international and domestic flights and is 14 km from the center of Venice, Italy.

Treviso-Sant'Angelo Airport (TSF / LIPH), which has international and domestic flights and is 40 km from Venice, Italy.